As we transition from late summer to autumn, Mount Rainier National Park will be adjusting their operation schedules, and one will have an impact on visitors.
There are many opportunities to enjoy camping and hiking, mountain climbing, picnicking, and due to the late snow melt, maybe a rare opportunity to view wildflowers and fall colors simultaneously. Or even a relaxing overnight stay at Paradise Inn or the National Park Inn.
Visitors also have one last chance to ride the free weekend shuttle bus to Paradise. Shuttle operations will end this Sunday, Sept. 4.
Busses leave Longmire Friday, Saturday and Sunday beginning at 10 a.m., and from Ashford on Saturday and Sunday.
A major impact for visitors beginning Tuesday, Sept. 6 will be the closure of the Stevens Canyon Road on the east end for road construction.
This road will be closed to all traffic between the gate located just west of the Grove of the Patriarchs to just east of the popular Backbone Ridge viewpoint beginning Tuesday, Sept. 6 through the 2011-2012 winter. This will be a 24/7 closure.
However, visitors will still be able to access the Backbone Ridge, Reflection Lakes and Box Canyon areas via State Routes 7 and 706 through the Nisqually Entrance (southwest entrance).
Visitors traveling between the east and west sides of the park have two options: Gifford Pinchot National Forest Road 52 (Skate Creek Road) beginning in Packwood, or the longer route via State Route 7 beginning in Morton on US 12 and connecting with SR 706 at Elbe.
During this road closure park visitors will still be able to access the trailhead areas on State Routes 123 and 410 as well as the White River and Sunrise areas.
Many gateway businesses also remain open outside the park boundary into the fall and winter seasons. For more information on gateway businesses, check the Visit Rainier website.
At Sunrise, the Visitor Center will remain open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through September 11 offering visitor information, exhibits, book%