Mesmerizing Wildflowers Are About to Take Over This U.S. National Park
In Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park, wildflower season typically occurs from mid-July through August—but this year, colorful blooms have already started sprouting across the park.
Wildflower blooms aren’t a particularly rare occurrence during summer in Mount Rainier National Park, but the spectacular natural displays certainly are fleeting.
The 370-square-mile national park south of Seattle welcomes vibrant blooms for a limited time each summer, usually starting in mid-July and peaking in August. However, according to the park’s website, the first wildflowers of this year’s bloom season are already popping up around Mount Rainier, the impressive (and active) stratovolcano for which the Washington park is named.
Many of the park’s hiking trails are beginning to see colorful blooms, with wildflowers such as lupine, avalanche lilies, stream violets, calypso orchids, and trillium making appearances on tracks such as the strenuous Wonderland Trail, which encircles Mount Rainier, and along Stevens Canyon Road, which leads to the postcard-perfect Reflection Lakes loop.
Mount Rainier’s tourism board recommends 10 easy to moderate-level wildflower trails across the national park where hikers can see the best and brightest blooms this summer. One such hike passes through Grand Park, a massive meadow in front of Mount Rainier where magenta paintbrush, asters, and gentians often bloom. For 360-degree views of the park and its wildflowers, head up the beginner-level Sourdough Ridge Trail to Sunrise Dege Peak.
The early-season wildflower blooms in Mount Rainier National Park have just begun. While it’s difficult to accurately predict exactly when and where superblooms will occur because they are heavily dependent on weather and precipitation, the once-a-year phenomenon tends to pick up speed in July and usually reaches its peak in August. This means that if you want to catch this year’s brilliant display in Mount Rainier National Park, it’s time to start planning your trip.
Of course, officials ask that visitors to the park stay on designated trails at all times to avoid damaging the fragile flower fields in bloom. Earlier this year, a superbloom of poppies in southern California attracted thousands of visitors—many of whom reportedly ignored signs to stay out of the poppy felds. Local authorities called the crowds “unbearable” and “miserable” and eventually restricted access to the bloom.