Mount Rainier National Park News
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MPG V2.8, January 2013

Current Season Conditions and Photo Opportunities
October 2008

The purpose of this Web page is to provide some general monthly and seasonal conditions in Mt Rainier NP. It's not meant to necessarily completely accurate or updated, see the other news and access Web pages for that information. It is meant to be a general guide to help you visit to the NP. Much of the information has been gleaned from a variety of sources, often from trip reports, conversations with experienced people, Websites, newsstories, etc.


First it's important to stress two things. First, October is the continuation of the transistion months into winter, where the weather is not just cooler and generally wetter, but it's highly variable and very dynamic, even through the day. You can expect cool to cold night temperatures and cool daytime temperatures and showers to rain depending on storms.

This also includes the dynamics that Mount Rainier and the adjacent area does make its own weather, creating highly dynamic weather conditions, always different from the distant Puget Sound and the Chehalis and Lewis River valleys to the south. This include the most obvious clouds which can envelop the mountain with clear lowlands or the opposite with clouds and fog in the lowlands and the mountain clear.

The second is that October is the month the campgrounds close, visitors centers either close or move to weekend and holiday only hours, and some roads close or are open depending on the weather, namely snow and the snow removal work. You can get more information from the NPS Web page.

This means to come and be prepared for whatever you wish to do, and be flexible with your interests and schedule. And always check ahead.

Photo Oppoortunities

Photographic opportunities can be put down to one idea, Fall. If you enjoy the fall and like be out and photographiing in the fall, you'll be fine. There are lots of excellent seasonal nature and landscape scenes when and where there are far fewer people. The open tourists areas are far less crowded as are the trails in those areas, namely Paradise as the other are closed or only open to walk-ins.

This is also the time you can get the first winter scene photos if the freezing and snow levels accommodate or you're willing to do some hikng into the higher elevations. The seasonal snow doesn't generally start until mid-November into December, but October has seen snow storms lasting a few days down to the 4-5,000 foot elevation.

In addition, a good destination photo hike are the four fire lookouts in the NP along with two just outside the NP on the south and north sides. You can get a description of them and locate them on a map. They provides excellent vista of Mt. Rainier and the entire 360 view of the NP and area. The problem is that some of these have snow at and on the trail to them, so you have to be prepared with gear and clothing.

You can get additional information about areas by quadrant and Paradise area in the detailed descriptions, currently Paradise area, southwest area and northwest area available.


If you plan a trip to Mt. Rainer NP in October and later into the winter, it's fair to say for now, to plan for variations in weather, see the historic range, for warm to hot days (our peak temperatures) and cool to cooler nights with the normal rain and rainstorms. In short, be prepared.

If you plan to hike into the backcountry, the NPS has issued an advisory on the backcountry and especially the Wonderland Trail, see Press Release. This year the high elevation trails haven't fully cleared of snow and the weather is still cooler than normal. It's the same adage about the NP, be prepared.

You can can get reports for previous months here.

Please use the contact link to send e-mail.

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WSR V2.8, January 2013