Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning five major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park’s ecosystems.
In 1988, Congress designated 97% of Mount Rainier National Park as wilderness. This area is managed to preserve its wilderness character. Tens of thousands of visitors encounter the wilderness on overnight trips every year, whether through the challenge of a summit climb, the immersion of the Wonderland Trail, or the restorative peace of a shorter foray into the backcountry.
Only a few hours away from major population centers, the Mount Rainier Wilderness provides outstanding opportunities for solitude in a landscape largely unmodified by modern human manipulation and control.
A permit is required year-round for all overnight stays in the backcountry. A wilderness permit allows the permit holder and their group to camp in a designated camp or area.
2/3 of wilderness permits are available for advance reservation for trips between May 27 (May 6 for climbing camps and zones) and October 10. Reservations must be made at least 2 days in advance of the trip start. The remaining 1/3 of permits are issued on-site on a first-come, first-served basis. Sites/zones become available for reservations on April 25. See below for information on the Early Access Lottery.
Wilderness and Climbing permits outside of the reservation season are first-come, first-serve.
Off-season climbing permits are issued by self-registration at the Paradise Old Station.
Permits for the Paradise large group winter camps (13 or more people) can be reserved as soon as the consolidated snow depth at Paradise reaches 5 feet.
Visit Plan Your Visit for more information.
When planning your trip, please keep the following in mind:
Leave No Trace
Please follow all principles of Leave No Trace including: Plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of other visitors.
For more information on planning your trip in the wilderness of Mount Rainier National Park, visit our Wilderness Trip Planner.
Reservation Fee: Each permit is subject to a non-refundable $6.00 lottery application fee if applying to the Early Access Lottery or a $6.00 reservation fee for permits reserved in the general on-sale. If you have already paid the lottery application fee, that fee will be applied to your online reservation and an additional fee is not due. The reservation fee is also charged for first-come, first-served permits that are issued in person. This fee supports the permit and reservation management system.
Recreation Fee: A recreation flat fee of $20 is charged for every permit reservation made in advance on Recreation.gov. The fee is not charged for first-come, first-served permits that are issued at a park Wilderness Information Center or Visitor Center. This fee supports the operation of the Wilderness Information Centers.
Cancellation Policy: You may cancel your reservation four or more full days before your reservation date and receive a refund. The $6 reservation fee is non-refundable.
Change Policy: You may make changes to your permit itinerary, if space is available, up until the day before your reservation date (additional fees may apply). Your start date cannot be changed without cancelling your permit and starting over. Once your permit has been issued, you cannot make changes to the permit unless approved by a ranger at a Wilderness Information Center.
One additional permit holder can be identified when the reservation is created. Otherwise, reservations and permits are non-transferrable.
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