The Sunrise area on the east side of Mount Rainier National Park will open Friday (June 5), about a month sooner than usual.
While the area is opening, operations will be limited. Visitors will be able to reach some of the trails in the area and enjoy views of the mountain from the highest location in the park accessible by vehicle. Restroom facilities also will be available.
The Sunrise Lodge and Visitor Center, however, will remain closed until June 27, said park superintendent Randy King. That is when seasonal staffing will come on board to run those facilities.
The opening comes about a month sooner than usual. Because of the low snowpack this winter, the park’s road crews were able to get started on clearing the road from the White River Campground to Sunrise.
The White River-Sunrise area is in the northeast corner of the park, off state Route 410.
King also said the park is again delaying opening of the Mowich Lake Road in the northwest corner of the park. The second delay will allow road crews to complete work on the damaged Stevens Canyon Road, which opened May 22. Time also was needed to get the Sunrise Road and area ready.
Crews will now turn their attention to get the Mowich Road graded, ditches cleaned and ready for the scheduled opening date of June 19.
The Ohanapecosh Visitor Center is scheduled to open June 26. The other areas of the park are open for the summer season.