Camping at Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park offers a variety of camping options, including frontcountry campsites that can accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs, as well as backcountry campsites for a more secluded and wilderness experience. The main campgrounds within the park include:
- Cougar Rock Campground: Open usually from late May to early October, located on the southwest side of the park near the Nisqually Entrance.
- Ohanapecosh Campground: Open typically from late May to early October, found on the southeast side of the park and is known for being in old-growth forest.
- White River Campground: This campground usually operates from late June through late September and is located on the northeast side of the park, close to the White River Entrance.
- Mowich Lake Campground: A smaller and more primitive campground, open seasonally and situated in the northwest corner of the park by the Carbon River Entrance.
Reservations and Permits
- Reservation System: Some sites in Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh campgrounds can be reserved in advance through the National Recreation Reservation System. The rest of the sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Wilderness Permits: Required for all overnight trips in the backcountry. You can reserve a portion of these permits in advance, while the rest are available on a walk-up basis during the hiking season.
- Camping Limits: There is a limit to how long you can camp in the park, typically 14 consecutive nights. During peak season, the stay limit at Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh is reduced to seven days.
- Campground Fees: As of the knowledge cutoff date, fees range from $20 to $30 per night depending on the campground and the amenities they offer. Always check the latest fees on the park's official website or contact park information.
- Backcountry Permit Fees: There is a fee for a backcountry camping permit, required to stay at designated wilderness campsites or in the backcountry.
Facilities and Amenities
- Facilities at frontcountry campgrounds include flush toilets, fire grates, and picnic tables. However, Mowich Lake is much more rustic with pit toilets and no potable water.
- RVs and trailers have size limitations at each campground, and there are no hookups for water, sewer, or electric.
- There are no showers available in the park.
- Food Storage: Due to wildlife concerns, particularly with bears, proper food storage is crucial. Food must be stored in a vehicle or designated food storage lockers.
- Pets: Pets are allowed in campgrounds, but they must be leashed and are not permitted on trails or in the wilderness.
- Fires: Check for current fire regulations as they can change with conditions. When allowed, fires can only be in designated fire pits or grates.
Safety and Preparedness
- Always be prepared for changing weather conditions; even in summer, temperatures can drop, and snow can fall at higher elevations.
- Carry the Ten Essentials and know how to use them. This includes items like a map, compass, and first aid kit.
- For backcountry camping, be experienced in wilderness survival skills and ensure you register for a permit.
- Some campgrounds and facilities have been modified to accommodate visitors with disabilities. Check in advance for specific accessibility information.
- Mount Rainier is a delicate alpine environment. Practice Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the natural surroundings.
Contact Information and Resources
For the most current information, always check with the Mount Rainier National Park official website or contact the park directly. The website and park rangers will have the latest on campground openings, closures, fees, and safety information.