Best Places This Year To Photograph Wildlflowers On Mount Rainier
Welcome to another blog story and this time I wanted to catch everyone up to date on the wildflower situation on Mount Rainier National Park. I want to apologize for the amount of images but I am trying to show as many places to go as possible. I have to say I do not think I have seen so many in my life. Everywhere I look there are sorts of arrangements including Indian paintbrush, lupine, asters, and lilies just to mention a few. I have now made several journeys up to Mt. Rainier in the last few weeks and enjoyed it each time. Trying to recommend one place to go would be impossible but I am going to try to highlight at least a few places I think should not be missed.
I began my travels on Rainier on the Sunrise side and most of the time on Mt.Rainier the flowers are always peak first so this is always the best place to start. In terms of where to go on the Sunrise side I always start on the Sourdough Trail and work my way to Berkley Park. To get here park at the Sunrise Visitor center and make your way up a short path to the Sourdough Trail. Look for flowers on the slopes with Rainier in the background; just be careful not to fall on the rocks. While hiking this gorgeous trail take in the view cause it one of the best on the mountain. As you continue you make your way by Frozen Lake and take note of the color of the water – unbelievable!
To make it to Berkeley Park keep going roughly 2-3 miles to witness without a doubt the most wildflowers in the park. This year I have never see so many in Berkeley Park. Even though you do not get a view of the mountain from this park it is worth the hike. As you hike here you will pass a creek that follows you throughout the park. This is a great opportunity to shoot Lewis Monkey flowers (the pink ones that grow next to streams).
Do not be afraid to get your feet wet to get the best compositions here, as there is opportunity everywhere. To get more views of the mountain keep going on the trail to Grand Park as you are met with an open meadow that goes on forever. On the return to the visitor center makes sure to head down the trail when you hit Frozen Lake to go by Shadow Lake, which is a great place to relax and have a picnic. This is the lake you can see from the Sourdough Trail when you look down into the valley. Now keep along this trail and you will get back to the Sunrise visitor center but keep going on the Silver Forest Trail with views of the Emmons Vista.
This is where you want to be for sunset if you want an amazing image. Get there early so you can find a good composition with the valley and the river going up to the mountain. Remember while on the trail to keep going even when it looks like it ends to get to an open meadow with plenty of opportunities. This is where you will find the Holy Grail in terms of wildflowers – just amazing !!!
If time allows make sure to head up the hill when you have a chance to get the most close up views of the mountain. I will warn you the climb is a little steep but well worth it. Make sure to get shots of the mountain with the lodge in it. Continue on this trail to Sunrise Point and take in the vistas, as they are a plenty.
Now if you are heading to the Paradise side, which is always a fan favorite for wildflowers offers great views as well. I always begin my journey on Paradise side with a sunrise shot from the Dead Horse Creek Trail. You cannot go wrong from here as long as get high enough to unobstructed views of the mountain. There are plenty of wildflowers along this trail and a great place to get sidelight on Rainier. Follow this trail all the way up to High Skyline Trail to get closer then you could ever imagine to the mountain.
The treat this year is the wildflowers are higher then they have ever been and you can get some very close up views of the mountain with great foregrounds of wildflowers. To get there make sure to keep going all the way to the top so you are heading in the direction of Camp Muir. Once up top you will have a completely unobstructed view of the mountain and wildflowers. After this continue along the High Skyline trail until he heads back down to Paradise area. Make sure to turn around when you can to get some great shots of Mount Adams and Mount Saint Helens in the background behind the Tatoosh Range.
You will make your way for about two miles before you get to the meadows worth shooting again. Warning: this place is filled with people and hard to get pictures without people in them. If you are lucky enough to get the place to yourself make sure to stop at the bridge and get a few shots of Edith Creek and the surrounding wildflowers with Rainier as your backdrop. Make sure though to include the S-Curve that leads up and around to the mountain for a great shot. Make sure to take a look at this winning shot by Daniel Ewert from Nature’s Best Landscape winner of this year. While there get a shot of Myrtle Falls with Rainier in the distance. You can never go wrong with this image for stock purposes. If time allows I always like to make my way over to Mazama Ridge as this place rarely fails for good compositions of the mountain and wildflowers. In terms of a sunset there is no better opportunity then shooting Tatoosh Range as they seem to come alive when the sun goes down.