The overcrowding has now spread to our national parks as Mt Rainier implements a test program to limit the number of days. On busy days, it's common for visitors to sit in idling cars at entrance stations, The effects of overcrowding extend beyond the gates. Inside the park, visitors often circle the more popular parking lots, hoping to find an empty space. Vehicles parking on road shoulders damage adjacent forest and meadow habitats. Overcrowding also affects the trails. High numbers of visitors result in crowded trails, with hikers stepping off the paths to pass others, which causes environmental damage.  


The First Road

The first road in the park was built in 1904, when 563 people visited for recreational purposes. By 1970, visits peaked at 1,925,100—the highest in the park's history. Since then, visitation has generally been lower, with notable rebounds to over 1.5 million visits in the early 1990s and between 2021 and 2023, with approximately 1.6 million visitors each year. 

 Timed Entry

To address these issues, the National Park Service implemented a timed entry pilot program for the Paradise and Sunrise corridors. Timed entry is in effect for the Paradise Corridor from May 24 through September 2, and for the Sunrise Corridor from July 4 through September 2. 


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 Park Service

Mount Rainier National Park is currently the only park considering timed entry. During the pilot program, the Park Service will monitor vehicle and visitor use patterns,trail and parking lot congestion to assess its effectiveness. 

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