Getting Here and Around
Getting Here and Around
The Nisqually entrance is on Highway 706, 14 mi east of Route 7; the Ohanapecosh entrance is on Route 123, 5 mi north of U.S. 12; and the White River entrance is on Route 410, 3 mi north of the Chinook and Cayuse passes. These highways become mountain roads as they reach Rainier, winding up and down many steep slopes, so cautious driving is essential: use a lower gear, especially on downhill sections, and take care not to overheat brakes by constant use. These roads are subject to storms any time of year and are repaired in the summer from winter damage and washouts. Expect to encounter roadwork delays.
The side roads going into the park's western slope are all narrower, unpaved, and subject to frequent flooding and washouts. All are closed by snow in winter except Highway 706 to Paradise and Carbon River Road, though the latter tends to flood near the park boundary. (Route 410 is open to the Crystal Mountain access road entrance.)
Park roads have a maximum speed of 35 mph in most places, and you have to watch for pedestrians, cyclists, and wildlife. Parking can be very difficult to find during the peak summer season, especially at Paradise, Sunrise, the Grove of Patriarchs, and at the trailheads between Longmire and Paradise; it's best to arrive early in the day if you plan to visit these sites. All off-road-vehicle use—4X4 vehicles, ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles—is prohibited in Mount Rainier National Park.
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