|Wildflowers of Mount Rainier NP|
[See guide below for accessibility to the .]
Guide to Map of Wildflower Areas
Access Rating Guide
The hikes are catagorized as:
Easy, many local short dayhikes;
Moderate, a hike of 3 to 6 miles or with some elevation gain, some hiking experience helpful;
Hard, a hike of 6-10 miles or with significant elevation gain, some hiking experience necessary;
Difficult, a hike longer than 10 miles or with major elevation gain, only for the experienced hiker in one day.
Note.-- The "information window" for each wildflower area has the following information:
September 2015 - The wildflower season this year was long due to the record low snowpack and early snowmelt where by early June the snow was effectiovely gone by Memorial day for the wildflowers to bloom far earlier than normal years. It lasted until late August with the last blooms in the upper elevations. You can check the NPS Mt Rainier NP Facebook page and Twitter Reports.
The wildflower season depends entirely on several factors of the weather, namely the winter snowpack, the spring snowmelt and the summer warmth and sunshine. In normal years, the wildflowers bloom right on schedule, the timing of which depends on their location, meaning the elevation and area in the NP.
The major wildflower areas vary in elevation from 3,800 to 6,400 feet in three of the quadrants and the Paradise area. Only the southeast doesn't have major open meadows except along along the area overlapping the northeast quadrant. The northwest is similar with only one wildflower area, Spray Park which is one of the best ones in the NP.
This means each come into bloom at different times but often overlop once in bloom, the question is getting to them when they're in bloom, but the normal window is listed below.
Wildflower Season by Elevation
< 4,000 ft
> 6,000 ft
|mid-June to mid-July||early-late July||mid-July to mid-Aug|
When you do decide to visit Mt. Rainier for the wildflowers, the time of the season really isn't known until it starts, since the meadows have to become snow-free, the temperature warms and the plants come to life from the long winter. In addition a cool or rainy summer period at the onset can slow or delay the bloom, so it's all as they say, "timing is everything", and it's a matter of watching the news.
You can get the list of wildflower species for each area in the map from the Washington Native Plant Society and a photo guide is available at the flowers of Mt. Rainier and has additional information about and locations of flowers, along with the resources below.
What you see with the wildflower areas of Paradise and Sunrise are restorations so natural process can resume their work. The other areas have had some restoration but are mostly still what has been for centuries. And this is where you can help by following a few simple rules.
First and foremost, stay on the designated paths and trails in the meadows. It's easy to want to wander and explore off trail areas especially to photograph some interesting flowers, areas or scenes. But it's very simple.
Stay on the designated paths and trails in the meadows.
You may not leave a trace, but others may not be so cautious and careful about their footprint in environmentally sensitive areas. In addition you will run the risk of being given a ticket by a Park Ranger for violating the rules (which all visitors accept when entering the NP).
This is especially important using tripods. Watch where you set them to minimize or not prevent any damage to the meadow and ground plants and watch where and how you walk when working with the tripod setup. Just like walking knees and camera bags or backpacks damage plants. Think of the next visitor and photographer.
Second, if you hike into the backcountry hike and camp to get to the more remote alpine meadows, follow the NPS rules to scramble off-trail and camp at designated campgrounds and to follow the rules for fires, waste, water, etc. Set an example as a photographer and hiker to ensure the place will be the same for your next trip. Remember it's our national park.
Below are additional books and Websites about wildflowers in Mt. Rainier NP.
Please use the contact link to send e-mail.
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