Mt. Rainier weather is a concern year round, but especially during the winter months when the snow can get deep fast. Be prepared for any weather by checking the conditions before you go and being aware of the typical weather for the time of year you want to go.
Our eight cabins are located near the Southwest (Paradise) entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, the only entrance which remains open year-round.
The best website for local, up-to-the-minute weather forecasts is the Mount Rainier Recreational Forecast. There is usually snow at the higher elevations within the National Park between mid-November and June. The snowpack is typically thick enough for sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing by mid-December.
If you’d like to see what it currently looks like at multiple points within the park, check the National Park Service Mt. Rainier webcams. There are 11 different cameras spread throughout the park so you can see what’s happening.
Best Time to Visit Mt. Rainier
The best time to visit Mount Rainier National Park is in the height of summer, from July through August. This is the time of year when the ground has thawed and there is less snow remaining than any other months. The wildflowers start to bloom in the meadows and the dry, warm weather is ideal for hiking. You can typically drive anywhere in the park you wish during the summer season. The campgrounds are all open and usually packed full, the visitor center is alive with activity, and the hiking trails can become packed as well.
Of course, you may be wanting to see the mountain while it is still blanketed in snow, to take advantage of the multitude of winter activities in the park. If you visit between November and March, you’ll surely witness at its peak winter splendor.
As we mentioned above, the park is open year-round, but in the winter season (November – May), many areas of the park are closed, and there is only one entrance that is open. The road from the Nisqually Entrance Historic District to Longmire is open year-round, but be aware that it can close spontaneously due to extreme weather.
Ashford is at the 2000 foot level, so there is often snow at the cabins at some point between November and April, but it really varies from year to year. The roads are well-maintained in Ashford and we’ve never had a problem with guests getting to and from our cabins in the winter. If you plan to visit the National Park during the winter season (November to May), you will be required to carry chains. This requirement applies to all vehicles (including 4WD drive), regardless of tire type or weather conditions. Whittaker Mountaineering in Ashford rents tire chains of all sizes.