This past week, we managed to hike trails from Sunrise to Paradise to the Naches Loop and on to Spray Park in search of where one can find the best places to see wildflowers now in bloom. Without a doubt, I recommend that you head to Spray Park for the greatest numbers and variety. You can even find some avalanche lilies still in bloom. Lots and lots of Indian Paintbrush blooming now and they won't reach their peak for at least another week or two. Following is a view from yesterday morning bright and early.
Heather is blooming everywhere. While it was cloudy in Black Diamond, it was absolutely gorgeous at Spray Park.
More paintbrush and the mountain.
Like most places visited, concentrations of lupine can be found here and there but it will be awhile before we see field after field in bloom..
Also on my list for places to go was the Naches Loop trail at Chinook Pass. Like most years, the PCT (east side) of the loop has most everything blooming reasonably early including paintbrush and lupine.
For those who like to photograph flowers along with mountain or other landscapes, I would wait for a couple of weeks when we should begin to see lots more blooms on the southwest side of the trail above the tarn that provides a nice photo op of lupine, paintbrush, tarn reflections and Mt. Rainier in the same shot.
Wildflowers at Sunrise remain a mystery to me. Not many blooms near the visitors center, on Sourdough trail, near Shadow Lake or along the Sunrise Rim trail. Here's my best shot along the Sunrise Rim trail where flowers have been sparse except for lots of western anemone (pasqueflower) and just a few paintbrush.
Berkley Park and Grand Park are likely the best bets from Sunrise. Last week I hiked the Palisades Lakes trail from Sunrise Point and found quite a few flowers blooming around the lakes along with lots of bugs.
At Paradise, I found only a few places along the Skyline trail with many flowers. Lots of people were wandering about glumly looking for flowers but we'll likely have to wait well into August before Paradise shows it's bounty. The Nisqually Vista trail did have a few places with concentrations of paintbrush and lupine in bloom, but only in a few patches and not anywhere I could find to get the mountain in a shot with flowers too. This flower patch, however, was pretty neat.
Even Reflection Lakes was lacking many flowers in bloom, so photographing grass along with trees and the mountain will have to do for now.
Will provide an update in a couple of weeks. Hope you can make it to Spray Park!