After visiting Paradise Park on Mount Rainier in 1888 John Muir wrote, “Gardens of Eden filled knee-deep with fresh, lovely flowers of every hue, the most luxuriant and the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my mountain-top wanderings.”
Those of us lucky enough to live in Washington State long ago learned to time an annual visit to the mountain when the wildflowers are most apt to be in bloom for there is, indeed, something magical in the juxtaposition of snow fields and fields of brilliant wildflowers,
and my favorite flower happens to be Indian Paintbrush, a flower I’ve only seen growing in the Cascades.
Personally, I’ve always identified Rainier’s wildflowers with the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon because of the way they cling to the rock cliffs like this patch of Lupine,
these Phlox and Gentians,
or this Heather that seems to be holding back this rock slide.
Rainier is beautiful any time of year, but it is hard to imagine a more beautiful place when the wildflowers are in full bloom. No wonder nearly 2 million people a year visit Mt. Rainier National Park.