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January 14, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Mount Rainier’s snow-play area opens this weekend

Snow-sliding at Mount Rainier has entertained generations. The popular snow play area at Paradise opens this weekend. (Mike Siegel photo / Seattle Times archives)

Snow-sliding at Mount Rainier has entertained generations. The popular snow play area at Paradise opens this weekend. (Mike Siegel photo / Seattle Times archives)

Holiday-weekend revelers, rejoice. It’s time for tubing and sliding at Paradise.

The snow-play hill at the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park finally has enough snow to open this Saturday, Jan. 18, according to the park’s Twitter feed. And there’s a bonus: Entry to the park is free on Monday, Jan. 20, in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. birthday holiday. Park entry most days is $15 per vehicle.

The snow-play area usually opens by late December and stays open through mid-March, but the opening was delayed until sufficient snow collected to meet the park’s five-foot minimum, deemed enough for safe sliding while protecting delicate alpine meadow vegetation.

The gated road between Longmire and Paradise is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

A few rules to know about: Sledding and sliding in the national park are permitted only in the designated snow-play area at Paradise. Trees, tree wells, and cliffs make other areas dangerous, park officials advise. Only “soft” sliding devices, flexible sleds, inner tubes and saucers are allowed. No hard toboggans or runner sleds.

Check road status here before leaving home. Visitors must leave Paradise by 4:30 p.m. to clear the Longmire gate by its 5 p.m. closure. The gate at Longmire closes to uphill traffic at 4 p.m. All vehicles are required to carry tire chains when driving in the park in winter. Tire chains are available to rent in Ashford.

Comments | More in national parks, Parks, snow sports, weekend getaways | Topics: mount rainier national park, paradise, sledding area


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