Paradise National Park reopened for regular winter on Saturday, Feb. 2, after employees worked tirelessly to catch up from the recent government shutdown.

“We really appreciate the support and patience from everyone as we worked to restore operations after the shutdown," Superintendent Chip Jenkins states in a park news release.

The Paradise sledding area will remain closed due to a warmer and drier season, which has resulted in a lower than average snowpack. Sufficient snowpack is needed throughout the area to create safe sled runs, and to prevent resource damage from the grooming equipment and sledding activity. The Paradise sledding area is the only location in the park where sledding is allowed. For safety purposes, only soft-sided sliding devices, such as 100 percent plastic sleds, saucers or disks are permitted.

All vehicles, including four-wheel-drive, are required to carry tire chains or other state-approved traction devices when traveling in the park from Nov. 1 to May 1, the news release states. Road conditions can deteriorate quickly at any time and mandatory chain use may be required even for four-wheel-drive vehicles. Tire chains are available for rent or for sale in Ashford, and for sale at the National Park Inn gift shop in Longmire.

The Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise has resumed winter hours, from 10 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. Gift shop and snack bar services are available.

While the park continues to return to our normal winter operations, some ranger-led programs may not yet be available.

The Longmire area remains open seven days a week unless major storm events require closure. Longmire opens daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Longmire Museum provides general park information, winter activity guidance and backcountry permits with books and maps for sale. The historic National Park Inn, restaurant and gift shop are also open daily and providing lodging, food and gifts, also snowshoe and ski rentals. For reservations, call (360)569-2275 or visit mtrainierguestservices.com.

Consult the park website for information on ranger-led snowshoe walks, winter recreation and camping, as well as winter hours. Seasonal road status is available on the website with daily road updates posted on Twitter.

The main gate at the southwest entrance to the park will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week unless conditions require a temporary closure. The higher elevation gate, located on the road between Longmire and Paradise is closed nightly to ensure visitor and staff safety, with uphill access closing at 4 p.m. to allow for visitors and staff to exit safely. Standard open hours of this road are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather and conditions dependent. Visitors are expected to make their way downhill to Longmire by the gate closure time of 5:00 pm.

Information on current park road closures and weather conditions can be obtained by calling the park at (360)569-2211 for recorded information that is updated regularly. Park information, announcements and the Mount Rainier webcams are available on the park’s official website, nps.gov/mora.