Veterans Day is Friday, Nov. 11, 2016.

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Veterans Day is Friday, Nov. 11, and is celebrated by all National Parks and Washington State Parks with free admission for everyone.

Winter comes early at Mount Rainier, our nearest National Park, with spectacular scenery and winter recreation activities. Mount Rainier National Park’s Nisqually Entrance is open daily year-round, weather and road conditions permitting. Rain and snow is forecast in the park this weekend; though roads have been clear, all vehicles are required to carry tire chains in the park between Nov. 1 and May 1, regardless of weather and road conditions. Mount Rainier National Park’s website has constantly updated information on weather conditions that can change quickly, and webcams showing current conditions at popular park destinations.

Mount Rainier National Park’s Nisqually Entrance in Ashford is open daily year-round, weather and road conditions permitting. Longmire, with the National Park Inn, Longmire Museum and Wilderness Information Center, is open daily. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise is open weekends only, with exceptions for holidays. It’s open Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 24 to 27, and Dec. 21 through Jan. 2. Guided snowshoe walks are scheduled to begin Dec. 23, and the park’s snowplay area at Paradise, the only place in the park where sledding and sliding are permitted, is usually open late December through mid-March, depending on snow.

Veterans Day free admission, National and State Parks

Time: All day Friday, Nov. 11

More info: National Park Service (; all Washington State Parks (

Mount Rainier National Park

Time: open daily, weather and road conditions permitting

Cost: $25/vehicle for seven days

Location: Nisqually Entrance, 39000 State Route 706 E., Ashford

More info: 360-569-2211 or

Washington State Parks

Cost: Discover Pass, $10/day or $30/annual; free day Nov. 11 and select days year-around; camping and other fees vary


Sno-Parks permits

Cost: $20-$30/day, $40-$80/season

More info: 360-902-8684 or

Ranger Station at REI

Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; closed Nov. 24-25, Dec. 25, Jan. 1

Location: REI Seattle, 222 Yale Ave. N., Seattle

More info: 206-470-4060 or

Newport Ski and Snow Swap

Time: 1 to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11-12

Cost: free admission; presale event, noon to 1 p.m. Friday, $10 admission

Location: Newport High School, 4333 Factoria Blvd. S.E., Bellevue


Washington State Parks are now on winter schedules, with 90 parks open daily and 18 closed until spring. Services are reduced for the season; some camping sites and restrooms are closed in parks that are open. Many campgrounds offer special winter rates and are available without reservations, though some popular locations including Cape Disappointment, Deception Pass, Grayland Beach and Kitsap Memorial accept reservations year-round. Many state parks offer cabins and yurts with simple furnishings, electricity and heat for comfortable, outdoor getaways.

Sno-Park permits are available now to park in cleared, designated parking lots with access to cross-country and downhill skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing and tubing areas throughout the state this winter. Advance purchase is recommended since permit vendors aren’t always available near Sno-Park sites. One-day and seasonal permits are available, and user fees are dedicated to the Winter Recreation Program to fund trail grooming, snow removal from parking lots and roads, sanitation, education and enforcement.

Along with information and permits available online and at regional government offices, the Ranger Station at REI in Seattle has information, printed material, and sales of passes and permits from the National Park Service and Forest Service and Washington State Parks.

Get ready for winter sports at Newport High School’s annual Ski and Snowboard Swap consignment event, which has drawn bargain shoppers for new and recycled recreation gear since 1986. More than 10,000 pieces of gear from individuals and snowsport shops fill two gyms, along with information about snowsport destinations, lessons and groups. Proceeds from the event support school programs.