Famous conservationist John Muir stated about Mt. Rainier National Park “The most luxuriant and the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my mountain-top wanderings.” It’s easy to see why once you have seen this mountain in full bloom with wildflowers everywhere after the snow has melted.
The best place to see these wildflowers is going to Paradise Visitor Center. From here you can take several trails with wildflowers everywhere including Bear Grass, Avalanche Lilies, Indian Paintbrush and my favorite Huckleberries just to name a few.
Paradise Visitor Center leads to one of the most memorable hikes I have ever taken. The Skyline trail is absolutely breathtaking! There is waterfalls, wildflowers, incredible mountain views, streams and on a clear day you can see Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood all at once! Hikers can also be seen on the snow making their way to Camp Muir and then towards the summit.
The power of glaciers are evident as they continue to carve away at this giant mountain. You can also see and feel this evidence from the rivers that flow down. They are grayish in color from the glacial till or rock sediment in the water and extremely cold. Beware as this is no place to swim as this water is swift and extremely cold.
One of the most famous views of Mt. Rainier is Reflection Lake. On a calm day you can see the mountain as well as the reflection of the mountain on the lake hence its name. There is also nice hiking trails in this area with Huckleberries alongside! For those not from the northwest and unfamiliar with huckleberries you need to find a local store and try them out. You can find ice cream, jellies, pies and even saw a huckleberry margarita!
Mt Rainier packs so much in a one day visit! Waterfall lovers will rejoice as there is numerous waterfalls in the area, many are easily accessible from the road. Wildlife is also abundant and can be seen everywhere including deer, bear many different birds including the Ptarmigan. Weather you have a day or a week, there is plenty of trails, abundant wildlife even winter recreation to keep you full of recreational activities.