I recently spent a day in Mount Rainier National Park to immerse myself in autumn’s color palette. The color intensity was off the scale! Perhaps this was because plants were already stressed from the unusually hot and dry summer the Pacific Northwest recently experienced. And then came September, with cooler than normal temperatures. I’m sure the irregular weather patterns played a part in the exceptionally blazing colors.
I spent part of the day hiking in the Tipsoo Lake area along Chinook Pass and then made my way down Cayuse Pass to the Stevens Canyon entrance of the Park. If you really want to take in the most color in the most scenic parts of the park, this is the way to go. I’ll start with images from the Tipsoo Lake area.
Next are images taken along Stevens Canyon Road, heading towards the Paradise Meadows area. If you look closely, notice the roadway along the side of the cliffs. That’s where I drove from to get to the current viewpoint.
And lastly, a few photos taken along Paradise Valley Road. This is the same road that passes by Paradise Meadows, the visitor center and the park lodge, continuing as a short, one-way loop around the Paradise River Valley and ends at the terminus of Stevens Canyon Road. Hang a right and you will quickly be at the main road leading to Paradise Meadows, once again. This short loop is an absolute must to not only get some fantastic views of the mountain, but it also offers fantastic viewing areas for more blazing, autumn color along the sides of the valley. There are plenty of parking areas along the side of the road to stop for picture taking.
I hope you have enjoyed my autumn images of the park. Keep in mind that the crowds at the park are still quite heavy, even on a weekday, with everyone wanting to see the change-of-season colors. Parking lots fill very quickly, and my advice to you would be to arrive at the park early in the morning. Try to avoid the weekend, if at all possible. Also, the region’s rainy season is knocking at our doorstep, which means the higher elevations could get some snow. Get out there now, before the weather makes its dramatic changes!
All images property of Peggy A Thompson