Rainier Wildflower Hikes
Wildflower season may be drawing to a close in the Wenatchee valley, but it’s just getting ready to start near Mount Rainier. In fact, wildflowers can be seen here all the way through July. Can’t get enough of wildflowers and mountain peaks? Check out these five trails in the Mount Rainier area.
You don’t have to venture far from the car to be dazzled by the scenery if you start your hike at Reflection Lakes. There are two approaches to Refection Lakes; the longer approach is from Paradise on the Lakes Trail – the shorter approach is from the Reflection Lakes trailhead on the Stevens Canyon Highway. If the wildflower displays are not enough to make you heady, there’s the postcard view of Mount Rainier.
This luminous gem is not only a spectacular day hike; the lake is also ideal for an easy backpack for beginning backpackers or families with children. Since Sheep Lake lies outside the park you don’t need to make reservations to camp – campsites are on a first-come-first-serve basis. The hike begins on the Pacific Crest Trail at Chinook Pass and heads east on an easy grade. As you hike toward the lake look for Indian paintbrush, false hellebore, Western pasqueflower, sweetly-scented valerian and more.
Grand Park is one of the largest meadows inside the park, a plateau of wildflowers dotted with silver snags – not to mention the view of Mount Rainier. In summer Grand Park is a green sea of billowing wildflowers including magenta paintbrush; in late summer look for asters and gentians.
How about some spectacular views to go with those wildflowers? Starting at Sunrise Dege Peak is an ideal destination for 360-degree views and wildflowers, an easy hike via the Sourdough Ridge Trail.
This is a short, moderate loop at Chinook Pass that hikers of all ages can enjoy when snow is gone. Park at the Pacific Crest Trail trailhead a bit east of Chinook Pass, hike back to the overpass at Chinook Pass (designated with an arch) where the loop begins, hike the loop in either direction. En route you’ll pass pretty tarns and steep meadows as the trail skirts the base of Naches Peak (for climbers only!).
All information taken from visitrainier.com.