The best time to see alpine wildflowers in Mt Rainier National Park is generally late July and early August, a short but spectacular season! Mt Rainier wildflower hikes are the best way to immerse yourself in this fleeting beauty. While the wildflower meadows at Paradise are incredible, it is also extremely crowded this time of year, especially on weekends. Instead, you can go to the east side of the park, which is far less crowded (note: you will not find solitude, but you should be able to find parking!). If you want to truly have solitude, try an evening hike (make sure to take your 10 essentials and especially a flashlight/headlamp). Try these spots to avoid (or at least lessen) crowds while enjoying Mt Rainier’s famous wildflowers.
NACHES PEAK LOOP at Chinook Pass (4 mile loop with 600 feet of elevation gain)
Chinook Pass is also getting more crowded, and I would suggest doing this hike in the late afternoon or even the evening (better for photos anyway!) to avoid the crowds. This breathtaking wildflower trail is the Naches Peak Loop trail, which is a beautiful loop with amazing scenery and the flowers just add to it (go in a clockwise direction for the best views of Mt Rainier on the second half of the hike).
FREMONT LOOKOUT (6 miles round trip with 800 feet of elevation gain)
Many of the trails at Sunrise are terrific Mt Rainier wildflower hikes. Check Mt Rainier’s wildflower status page for where the best flowers are. Walking around the meadows near the Sunrise lodge (stay on the trail!) is a great bet if you don’t want to walk too far, also Frozen Lake is a short walk (just over a mile) and from there for a moderate hike with continued in your face views, try out the Mt Fremont lookout, or Burroughs Mountain. Have fun and don’t forget the bug spray!
SPRAY PARK (8 miles round trip with 1700 feet of elevation gain)
Another lesser known Mt Rainier wildflower hike is Spray Park. This is the hardest hike on this list, and the most challenging to get to, but it’s also phenomenal! Spray Park starts from Mowich Lake on the north side of Mt Rainier. It requires a long gravel road but that helps keep the crowds down! On this hike, you’ll see an incredible wildflower field after walking through Mt Rainier’s forests and taking a short side trip to gorgeous Spray Falls.