Mount Rainier National Park officials are no longer taking reservations for hiking the Wonderland Trail for this summer because of an “overwhelming and unprecedented demand.”
This year, the park received about 2,600 reservation requests as of March 31, the majority are for hiking the Wonderland Trail.
That’s far more than can be reserved at backcountry camps along the trail this summer, a news release said.
Before 2013, the number of wilderness reservation requests received at Mount Rainier during the first two weeks of the reservation window averaged about 800, the release said.
That number jumped to 1,400 in 2013 and then 2,000 last year.
The park’s reservation procedure provides that reservations received between March 15 and April 1 are processed in random order starting on April 1, said the release.
A small number of park rangers process all reservation requests, officials said.
“Therefore, in order to minimize processing of reservation requests that will then be denied — and to minimize would-be applicants’ frustrations — the park is no longer accepting reservation requests for Wonderland reservations in 2015,” the release said. “Visitors may still seek walk-up reservations throughout the summer.”
The best locations for a walk-up permit are the ranger stations at Longmire, White River and Carbon River. Another option is to hike the Wonderland Trail in smaller segments, which improves chances of getting a permit by reservation or in person.
Hikers can also be flexible with trip dates and destinations, park officials said.