Mt Rainier & Beyond Message Board › chains required from Nov 1 - May 1st.
Chain Requirements: All vehicles are required to carry tire chains when traveling in the park during the winter season (Nov 1 - May 1). This requirement applies to all vehicles (including four-wheel drive), regardless of tire type or weather conditions.
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Mount Rainier National Park Web Site
Tire Chain Requirement on Nisqually to Paradise Road
Frequently Asked Questions
Where and when do I need to carry tire chains?
Between November 1 and May 1, all vehicles traveling in Mount Rainier National Park are required to carry tire chains. This
requirement applies to all vehicle types in all weather and road conditions.
The chain requirement applies to all vehicles and all days between November 1 and May 1, regardless of weather or road conditions.
Weather in the park is notoriously quick to change, and sudden storms can appear with little or no warning.
What about sunny days?
A set of chains in every vehicle means that every vehicle is prepared and equipped for changing winter weather conditions. Drifting snow and whiteout conditions can occur at any time. Having chains available in the
event of a storm will give each driver an extra margin of safety, allowing the road to remain open longer even when conditions are changing.
Why do I need to carry tire chains?
The requirement to carry tire chains applies to all vehicles, regardless of make or model. Vehicle manufacturers that caution against traditional metal tire chains (e.g. Subaru) do
market cable chains that are specifically made for their vehicles. Cable chains can be a good option for vehicles with limited tire clearance
What if my owner’s manual tells me not to install tire chains?
Tire chains are required on all vehicles traveling in the park, including rental cars.
However, some stores may accept returns of unused chains.
What if I have a rental car?
Yes. Four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles must carry chains. While vehicles with all-wheel-drive capability and approved traction tires do have enhanced traction, during the most extreme conditions this is not sufficient for safe vehicle operations. Chains provide optimal traction in the most challenging road conditions.
Mount Rainier National Park requirements are similar to Washington Administrative
Code (WAC) 204-24-050, which states that, for vehicles under 10,000 gross vehicle weight:
When “chains required” signs are posted, all-wheel drive vehicles shall be exempt from the chain requirement when all wheels are in gear and are equipped with approved traction devices as specified in WAC 204-24-020 provided that tire chains for at least one set of drive tires are carried in the vehicle.
I have a 4-wheel or all-drive car – do I still need to have chains?
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Mount Rainier National Park Tire Chain Requirement: All vehicles are required to carry tire chains when traveling in the park during the winter season (Nov 1 – May 1). This requirement applies to all vehicles (including four-wheel-drive), regardless of tire type or weather conditions.
Tire Chain Requirement FAQs
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Last updated: 01/07/2011
Washington State law does not require motorists to carry tire chains over the major
mountain passes – why is it different here?
During extreme weather conditions, Washington state does require chains, even on all-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles, as noted above. In addition, Mount Rainier's roads are unlike most of Washington’s in a variety of ways. At 5,400 feet above sea level
Paradise is significantly higher in elevation than most of Washington’s highway passes and roads. Furthermore, Mount Rainier's roads are scenic park access roads and are not intended to be as wide or have as many safety pullouts as a state highway.
Cable chains are typically thinner and lighter than traditional tire chains and may be more
easily installed. We recommend checking with your local mechanic or tire store.
Is there anything I can use instead of chains?
Before coming to the park try out the chains on your vehicle to ensure they fit.
Practicing chaining up at home, where it’s dry, will save time in cold and wet conditions.
Ensure your vehicle is in park and the parking brake is set before working around the wheels.
Practice & Safety Suggestions
Tire and auto parts stores normally carry tire chains. Purchase chains from a business in your local community and practice installing them before you come to the park.
Tire chains are available for rent at Whittaker Mountaineering 30027 State Route 706 E Ashford, WA 98304 (360) 569-2142
Several Ashford stores carry chains in limited sizes:
Ashford Valley Grocery
29716 State Route 706 E,
Ashford, WA 98304
Suver’s General Store (SUV & Truck sizes)
30402 State Route 706 E Ashford, WA 98304 (360) 569-2377
Chains are also available in Eatonville and Morton:
Eatonville Auto Parts-Napa 105 Center Street East Eatonville, WA 98328 (360) 832-6272
Ed's Morton Auto Parts-Napa
184 W Main Street Morton, WA 98356 (360) 496-5141
Is there anywhere I can rent/buy chains?