Wildflowers

One of the most spectacular aspects of Mt. Rainier National Park is its world-renowned wildflower meadows. No matter what the length of your stay, a stroll among these seemingly endless fields of wildflowers is a must-do. Each July and August, Mt. Rainier’s meadows burst with color. Avalanche lilies, paintbrush, asters, daisies, cinquefoil, fireweed, purple shooting stars and so many others, blanket the mountain in every color of the rainbow.

Wildflower Viewing Tips

Top Wildflower Viewing Locations

Paradise

Someone once stated, “a trip to Paradise is going to heaven before you die.” Wildflowers in every shade sway in the breeze, filling meadow upon meadow with brilliant colors. A network of sixteen trails skirt around these meadows. A great choice is the paved Skyline Trail, departing from the visitor center, providing fabulous flower views and it’s suitable for the whole family. Other area hikes with fantastic flower displays are Spray Park, Van Trump Park, and Indian Henrys.

Sunrise

On the other side of the mountain, visitors to Sunrise will witness a true alpine ecosystem. Sitting at 1,000 feet higher than Paradise, this ecosystem is especially fragile. In summer, mountain meadows abound with wildflowers; the Sourdough Ridge Trail is a popular, easy 2 ½ mile hike. At their height in summer, visitors can see acre upon acre of vivid wildflowers, with swaths of lupine, paintbrush, and red mountain heather.

Chinook Pass/Tipsoo Lake

Many photographers say that the wildflowers at Tipsoo Lake rival anything found at Paradise. Located at the summit of Chinook Pass, this subalpine lake and surrounding area is simply a wildflower seeker’s dream. Stroll through fields of vibrant color – the yellows, oranges, pinks, and purples of lupine, Indian paintbrush, partridge foot and many others set a dramatic scene. Easy area nature trails meander near the lake offering dazzling views of these world-class wildflower meadows. For a longer day hike, take the Naches Peak trail.

Wildflower Identification Guide

wdt_ID Name Wildflower Color Scientific Name
1 Alpine Aster Blue-purple Aster alpigenus
2 Alpine Phaceliab Blue-purple Phacelia sericea
3 Arnica, Broadleaf Yellow Arnica latifolia
4 Avalanche Lily White Erythronium montanum
5 Beargrass White Xerophyllum tenax
6 Bellflower Blue-purple Campanula piperi
7 Birds Beak Lousewort Red-pink Pedicularis ornithorhyncha
8 Bleeding Heart Pink Dicentra Formosa
9 Bog Orchid White Platanthera dilatata
10 Bracted Lousewort Yellow Pedicularis bracteosa
Name Wildflower Color Scientific Name

Indian Thistle

Indian Thistle Cirsium edule, the edible thistle or Indian thistle, is a species of thistle in the genus Cirsium, native to western North America from southeastern Alaska south through British Columbia to Washington and Oregon, and locally inland to Idaho. ...

Columbian Lewisia

Columbian Lewisia is native to the western United States and British Columbia, where it grows in rocky mountain habitat.  ...

Yellow Fritillary

Yellow Fritillary may be found in dryish, loose soil; it is amongst the first plants to flower after the snow melts. ...

Tolmie’s Saxifrage

Tolmie's Saxifrage is a small perennial herb growing in mats of creeping stems lined with thick, fleshy leaves each up to 1.5 centimeters long.  ...

Ocean Spray

Ocean Spray is common in the Pacific Northwest where it is found in both openings and the forest understory at low to moderate elevations. ...

Rein Orchid

Rein Orchid, there is a total of ten species in the genus Piperia, which is named for American botanist Charles V. Piper.  ...

Gray’s Licorice Root

Gray's Licorice Root is native to the western United States from Montana to California, where it grows in moist, mountainous habitat, such as meadows and forest floors. ...

Rosy Twisted Stalk

Rosy Twisted Stalk grows primarily in mixed-wood forests, and throughout a wide range of soil and site conditions, preferring cool, acidic soils. ...

Devil’s Club

Devil's club or devil's walking stick (Oplopanax horridus, Araliaceae; syn. Echinopanax horridus, Fatsia horrida) is a large understory shrub endemic to the arboreal rainforests of the pacific northwest, ...