Where to Photograph in Mount Rainier National Park
From personal experience, these locations in Mount Rainier National Park are the best for landscape photography. I also offer my thoughts on when are the best times of the year to be there to capture the best possible photographs.
There is something about the big snow-capped Pacific Northwest volcanic mountains that you cannot ignore. Mount Rainer joins Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams and Mount Hood as major photographic subjects. Mount Rainier differs from the others with the close access you have to the mountain from different sides and elevations. You can photograph it from high on a ridge or from down low with it reflecting in a lake. Some of the trails can be a little bit of a challenge, but it is just one stunning scene after another.
My Favorite Locations
The trails that head up toward the mountain from the Paradise Visitor Center are not too steep and the summer wildflowers make for a wonderful addition to the scene. The Skyline Trail is an easy walk up with great views of both Mount Rainer and the Tatoosh Range. It passes by Myrtle Falls and the view at Edith Creek. The Alta Vista Trail is a more challenging hike that takes you to a higher view of the Tatoosh Range. There are wildflowers everywhere during the wildflower bloom.
On the east side of the Park, both Tipsoo Lake and Lower Tipsoo Lake offer great views and photographic possibilities. The reflections from Lower Tipsoo can be stunning when the water is calm. Photographs with wildflowers and fall tundra in front of the lake are some of my favorites in the Park.
On the south side of the Park, if you hit it right, is the possibility of capturing the reflection of Mount Rainer in the lake with some red flowering plants in the foreground. The location is best in the morning with the sun lighting up the mountain and the lake.
The Sunrise Visitor Center area is accessed from north of the Tipsoo Lake area and you need an early start to get there for sunrise. In order to get to some good vantage points, some hiking up the hills would be required, which also takes time.
Other Locations In Mount Rainer National Park
For some great views of the mountain in both Spring and Fall, the hike up to Mazama Ridge can be rewarding. There is some elevation gain and there are a couple of ways to get there, so plan accordingly. Christine Falls and Ruby Falls are fun and if you are really adventurous, there are great opportunities in the Spray Park area by Mowich Lake. If you like old forest growth, there is the Grove of the Patriarchs just inside the south entrance.
Best Times To Be At Mount Rainier National Park
The wildflowers are usually at their best in early August, but it’s worth checking with the Park first as they have been known to bloom early if there has not been much snow to keep the ground covered. Fall colors in the ground cover is usually an early October event.