Mount Rainier Camping – 5 Awesome Camping Spots

Last Updated on July 7, 2022 by Aswetravel

Mount Rainier Camping – There are four main campgrounds you can choose from when camping at Mount Rainier in Washington State, and we’re going to highlight all of those today. We tell you what the different campgrounds offer and what time of year you can camp at each of them.

Camping at Mount Rainier

We highly suggest camping at Mt Rainier so that you can beat the crowds in the park, especially during the late summer months of July and August. The busiest time is in July and August when the temperatures are at their warmest, and the flowers are in full bloom. Arriving at Mount Rainier National Park and finding a parking spot on a summer weekend can be no small task, making camping at Mount Rainier during the summer a smart choice, even if it’s just for a day or two during your visit to the area.

There are four different campgrounds at Mt Rainier National Park, but before we get into those, it’s important to know about the different areas of the park.

Mount Rainier National Park has five developed areas. Carbon River is in the northwest area of the park, Longmire and Paradise are in the southwestern and south-central areas of the park, Ohanapecosh is in the southeast, and Sunrise is in the northeast.

No matter what area of the park you want to stay in, there is a campground for you to choose from in that area.

Cougar Rock – Longmire and Paradise Area

The Cougar Rock Campground is in the Longmire and Paradise areas, located in the southwest portion of Mount Rainier National Park.

There are 179 individual campsites and five group campsites at Cougar Rock Campground. Individual campsites are $20, and group campsites are $60 per day. You can camp for a maximum of 14 consecutive days at Cougar Rock Campground.

You can use a tent, RV, or camper trailer at the individual campsites at Cougar Rock Campground. If using an RV, the length cannot be greater than 35 feet, and if using a camper trailer, the length cannot be more than 27 feet.

Cougar Rock Campground is open from late May to late September, but this can change depending on the weather and road conditions. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, or you can reserve them in advance on the National Park Service Recreation website. This applies to all of the campgrounds at Mount Rainier National Park.

There is a maximum capacity of two tents and six people at any of the 179 individual campsites. Group campsite 1 has a maximum capacity of 30 people, group campsite 2 has a maximum capacity of 40 people, and group campsites 3, 4, and 5 have a maximum capacity of 25 people.

There are no water or electrical hookups at the campsites, but you will find flushable toilets throughout the campground.

Generators are allowed in the campground (except for Loop E) and can only be used between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM, and 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM out of respect for others. Generators cannot be used in Loop E of the campground for any reason at any time.

Check-out time from the campground is noon, and the quiet hours are from 9:00 PM to 7:00 AM.

Ohanapecosh Campground – Ohanapecosh Area

Ohanapecosh River
Ohanapecosh River

In the Ohanapecosh area in the southeast portion of Mount Rainier National Park is the Ohanapecosh Campground.

There are 179 individual campsites and two group campsites at the Ohanapecosh Campground. It is $20 per day for an individual campsite and $60 per day for a group campsite. Like the Cougar Rock Campground, you can only stay at the Ohanapecosh Campground for 14 consecutive days. Check-out time at the campground is at noon, and the quiet hours are between 9:00 PM and 7:00 AM.

Ohanapecosh Campground is open from late May to late September, but this can change due to weather or road conditions.

A maximum of two tents and six people are allowed at each campsite. The two group campsites at Ohanapecosh Campground have a maximum capacity of 25 people and five vehicles. Any additional vehicles will need to park at the ranger station.

You can use a tent, camper trailer, or RV at any individual campsite. If using an RV, the length cannot exceed 32 feet, and if using a trailer camper, the length cannot exceed 27 feet.

There are no water or electrical hookups at the individual campsites, but there are flushable toilets throughout the campground. Generators are allowed in the campground (except for Loop E) and can only be used between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM, and 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM out of respect for others. Generators cannot be used in Loop E of the campground for any reason, at any time.

White River Campground – Sunrise Area

In the Sunrise area of northeastern Mount Rainier is the White River Campground. There are 88 individual campsites at White River Campground and no group camping options. So if you know that you’ll have more than six people in your party, you’ll want to try to get two campsites that are side by side. Just make sure you abide by the maximum occupancy of two tents and six total people.

It costs $20 per day to rent an individual campsite, and these can either be made first-come-first-served or by reserving them on the National Park Service Recreation website. The elevation at White River Campground is higher than the Cougar Rock Campground and the Ohanapecosh Campground, so it has a delayed opening date of late June as opposed to late May. White River Campground closes in late September, but this can always change due to the weather and road conditions in the area.

Check-out time is at noon, and quiet hours are between 9:00 PM and 7:00 AM.

You can choose to tent camp or use an RV or trailer camper at the individual campsites at White River Campground. If you are using an RV, the length must not exceed 27 feet, and if you are using a trailer camper, the length must not exceed 18 feet.

There are no water or electrical hookups at the individual campsites, but there are flushable toilets throughout the campground.

Mowich Lake Campground – Carbon River Area

Mowich Lake in Mt. Rainier National Park
Mowich Lake in Mt. Rainier National Park

The final campground in Mount Rainier State Park is also the smallest and most primitive campground in the park. Mowich Lake Campground is primitive tent-camping only. No RVs or trailer campers are allowed in the campground.

There are only 13 tent pad campsites available at the Mowich Lake Campground, and you must self-register at the campground kiosk upon arrival. There is no online check-in or reservation option for Mowich Lake Campground – they are all first-come, first-served.

Mowich Lake Campground has the highest elevation of all the campgrounds at 4,929 feet. Because of this, you can only camp at the Mowich Lake Campground from early July to early October.

There are no water or flushable toilets at the Mowich Lake Campground, and fires are strictly prohibited. Generators are also prohibited in the Mowich Lake Campground.

Additional Important Information to Know about Camping at Mount Rainier National Park

  • There are no public shower facilities in the park.
  • You can only burn fires inside the fire grates at the campsite.
  • Firewood cannot be brought in from the outside or gathered at your campsite to burn; you must purchase it from one of the general stores throughout the park
  • Pets are allowed, but they must be contained in a crate or on a leash no longer than 6-feet long at all times.
  • You cannot take pets to the amphitheater or inside buildings.
  • Always check the operating hours of the campgrounds to ensure they are open for the day.
  • Reservations are required for group campsites at Cougar Rock Campground and Ohanapecosh Campground between Memorial Day weekend and Columbus Day
  • There is an America the Beautiful Senior Access Pass that can save seniors on various fees throughout the park, including camping fees.
  • Do not park beyond barriers or on natural vegetation in the campground.
  • You may not camp for 28 total days in any designated campground within one calendar year.
  • If you prefer more comfortable accommodations, try the Paradise Inn, which is right next to the Jackson Visitor Center and Paradise Ranger Station, or the National Park Inn in Paradise.
  • Camp Muir, named after naturalist John Muir, is the most popular high-altitude refuge and is used as a base camp for people planning to climb the mountain.

Mount Rainier Camping

There are five developed areas in Mount Rainier that you will want to see, so we recommend camping in Mount Rainier National Park to give you access to these areas that can become quickly congested during the peak tourist season. We recommend camping for three days at Mount Rainier so that you can see the whole park without having to cut any corners. If you are using an RV or camper trailer, you can stay at any campground, except for the Mowich Lake Campground, which is primitive tent-only camping.

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