Despite the 13 feet of snow remaining in meadows outside, Paradise Inn at Mount Rainier opens for the season Wednesday, and doors and gates will swing wide for Memorial Day weekend at several more public facilities in Mount Rainier National Park.
Scheduled to open Friday, May 23, are the Stevens Canyon Road, White River Road to the White River park entrance, Box Canyon picnic area and restrooms, Cougar Rock and Ohanapecosh campgrounds, and the wilderness information centers at Longmire and White River.
Highway 410 at Chinook Pass, the park’s easternmost gateway, is also expected to open at noon Friday, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
To mark the opening of the season, the historic inn is offering its Spring Getaway package, with three nights for the price of two, Sunday-Thursday through June 18 (excluding Memorial Day weekend). Rates start at $114.
Visitors to the Paradise Inn might enjoy a new publication from Washington’s National Park Fund: a 26-page, full-color “Guide to the Lampshades of Paradise Inn.” The booklet was a project of Seattle’s Lake Washington Garden Club, Unit 5, whose members also volunteer as Meadow Rovers helping to protect the park’s fragile wildflower meadows. The booklet documents and details wildflowers — monkeyflowers to avalanche lilies — and other plants hand-painted on the inn’s 64 lobby, balcony and dining-room lampshades by retired former Chief Park Naturalist Dale Thompson. They are replicas of lampshades originally painted by wives of park employees when the inn first opened in 1917. The booklet will be available for $8.95 in the inn’s gift shop.