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
- Best Time: Late-July to Early-August
- Best Places: Paradise, Sunrise and Chinook Pass/Tipsoo Lake
- For Hikers: Top 10 Wildflower Trails
- Etiquette: Do not pick the flowers and stay on the trails
- Status Report: Get the Park’s Latest Wildflower Update
Top Wildflower Viewing Locations
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.
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|
|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|
|11||Buckwheat, Wild||Yellow||Eriogonum ovalifolium|
|12||Bunchberry, Canadian Dogwood||White||Cornus Canadensis|
|15||Cascade Azalea||White||Rhododendron albiflorum|
|17||Coiled Beak Lousewort||White||Pedicularis contorta|
|19||Columbian Lewisia||Pink||Lewisia columbiana|
|21||Cow Parsnip||White||Heracleum lanatum|
|22||Devil's Club||White||Oplopanax horridus|
|23||Elephant's Head Lousewort||Blue-purple||Pedicularis groenlandica|
|24||False Hellebore||White||Veratrum viride|
|25||Fan Leaf Cinquefoil||Yellow||Cinquefoil flabellifolia|
|Name||Wildflower Color||Scientific Name|