Top Ten Parks for High-Summer Wildflowers
Everyone who lives in the orbit of Mount Rainier knows that when "The Mountain's out"—when sunlight drenches its high meadows—there's no better place to spend a summer day. Delightful subalpine meadows graced with wildflowers and glacial lakes often intermingle with stands of firs. Herbs include five-leaved bramble, trailing bramble, queen's cup, beargrass, and pyrola. Expanses of blue lupine are often interspersed with spectacular displays of red Indian paintbrush; heather, arnica, larkspur, bluebells, wild sunflower, columbine, alpine dandelion, anemone, Jacob's ladder, cat's ears, swamp laurel, snow plant, avalanche lily, elephant head, shooting star, mimulus, and yellow monkeyflower can also be seen. The snowmelt zones teem with white avalanche lily, marsh marigolds, and fuzzy pasque. It doesn't hurt that along forest trails above 5,000 feet, late August will yield a feast of ripe huckleberries along with the visual feast for the eyes.
More Northwest Hot Spots
There's a tremendous diversity of wildflowers in Olympic National Park, with Hurricane Ridge being particularly colorful in summer. Gifford-Pinchot National Forest is another standout, especially in the meadows around the flanks of Mount Adams. And from the crowds it may seem that every Seattleite knows of the wonders of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness—beautiful, but being loved overmuch.
More GORP Mount Rainier National Park
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication