Mount Rainier from Sunrise

Mount Rainier and the White River Valley in late Summer from the vantage point of the Sunrise Rim Trail in Mount Rainier National Park. Foreground flowers are Alpine Aster (Aster alpigenus) and Paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora).

mount rainier and wildflowers from the sunrise rim trail

Wildflowers at Mount Rainier’s Sunrise Rim Trail (Purchase)

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   Back in 2012 I was on a trip photographing Mount Rainier National Park. This was the first time I had visited at a good time for the wildflower display at Rainier. I had already photographed some great flower displays at Tipsoo Lake, but was visiting the Sunrise area as Paradise was fogged in. You can’t see any of the clouds in this photograph but on the other side of the mountain visibility was very poor all day. From Paradise you could barely make out the Tatoosh Range through all the clouds. This is one of the reasons I enjoy the fact they have web cameras at various areas of the park – I can scout the locations ahead for time for weather that might be a problem. On this day I opted for the Sunrise area over Paradise (due to what I saw on the webcam) so I would be able to see Rainier itself. This photo is from the Sunrise Rim Trail on the way back from Shadow Lake.

For more images of this area visit my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery in my Image Library.

Mount Rainier Sunrise Near Tipsoo Lake

Early morning light on Mount Rainier and a wildflower meadow above Upper Tipsoo Lake – in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

mount rainier sunrise and wildflowers

Mount Rainier and a meadow of wildflowers above Tipsoo Lake (Purchase)

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   Showing up early in the morning at Tipsoo Lake in Mount Rainier National Park I was not surprised to see a number of photographers lining select parts of Upper Tipsoo Lake. Unfortunately, “the shot” people seem to want from there is off the trail, which is the second reason I probably will never have “the shot” from that location. On this morning, however, all the photographers were grumpy and lamented to me about the wind that was destroying any chance they had of getting a reflection. I pointed out to a few of them that climbing the hill might yield something interesting (this was the reason I was there). Nobody followed me. I am not necessarily against “trophy hunting” photography, of course I photograph some iconic locations as well. I do think those photographers would have been well served to climb the hill behind the lake to see what other perspectives might be available – especially after conditions were not favourable to their initial plans. The photograph above has a few elements I enjoy – nice light on the mountain and wildflowers in the foreground. I have already published one photograph of the same Mount Rainier sunrise from my climb of the hill. Neither of these would have been a photographic opportunity I would have had if I’d retreated to my car after failing to find the “the shot” I saw online.

More photographs of Mount Rainer National Park can be found in my Image Library.

Mount Rainier from above Tipsoo lake

Early morning sun lights up Mount Rainier from above Upper Tipsoo Lake in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

sunrise view of mount rainier from above tipsoo lake in mount rainier national park

Mount Rainier sunrise from above Tipsoo Lake (Purchase)

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  Another from my trip to Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State earlier this month. While not as flashy as many of the photos I have with more wildflowers and pink skies (coming soon), I quite like this one made above upper Tipsoo Lake early in the morning. I am not a morning person, so getting up at 5am to drive the distance to Tipsoo lake was an accomplishment. I wonder if this is easier for the coffee drinkers? Every other time I’ve successfully dragged my butt out of bed that early – Rainier has only welcomed me with overcast skies. While the really great pink light on the overhead clouds did not happen on this morning, there was some good alpenglow on Rainier before the sun came up over Naches Peak behind me.

  So if you are in some location far from home (or even close to it) – get your butt out of bed for sunrise. That is as much of a reminder for myself as it may be for you. 😀

Emmons & Fryingpan Glaciers

The Emmons Glacier is on the northeast side of Mt. Rainier. It is the largest glacier in the contiguous United States at 4.3 square miles ( 11 square kilometers ). The Fryingpan Glacier is much smaller and sits on the eastern side of Little Tahoma Peak. After the upper portions of Sunrise and Mt. Rainier itself were enveloped in clouds parts of the Emmons and Fryingpan Glaciers were still visible from the road to Sunrise.

emmons glacier swallowed by clouds emmons glacier swallowed by clouds

fryingpan glacier swallowed by clouds

The Cowlitz Chimneys

The Cowlitz Chimneys are comprised of the Main (south) Chimney (7600 feet or 2 316 m), the Central (middle) Chimney (7420 feet or 2 261 m) and the North Chimney (7015 feet or 2 138 m). The Chimneys lie to the East of Mt. Rainier and just south of the Goat Island and Tamanos Mountains. These shots are taken from Sunrise in Mt. Rainier National Park.

the cowlitz chimneys from sunrise the cowlitz chimneys from sunrise

Sunrise / Yakima Park

Sunrise (also known as Yakima Park) is an area near Mt. Rainier that has a different assortment of plants compared to the areas I had visited on earlier trips (Longmire through Stevens Canyon). A large part of this is likely due to elevation as the parking lot at Sunrise is at an elevation of 6400 feet or 1950 meters.

sunrise visitor center in mt rainier national park

When I ventured up to Sunrise last September I wandered around the parking lot a bit wondering where to go next. From Sunrise Point I had seen the clouds approaching the Sourdough Mountains and thought I should likely get my shots of Rainier and the surrounding area in pretty fast (I was correct). A park ranger was looking at the clouds coming down over the Sourdough Ridge and suggested that I get a jacket on as the temperature was “about to drop and get ugly fast”. I said “thanks for the advice”.

The advice I ignored.

About 20 minutes later I think the temperature probably dropped 10° C, the clouds became darker and the top of the ridge was suddenly hard to see. It became windy. I retrieved my jacket. When I walked past her again she said “Hey nice jacket”. I think that comment had less to do with my jacket (which was nice) and more to do with the fact that we both knew she had been right. Maybe I’ll listen next time.

sourdough ridge from sunrise mt rainier obscured by clouds

sourdough ridge from sunrise sourdough ridge from sunrise

A few wildflowers from the Sunrise area. Alpine Aster (Aster alpigenus) and a flower gone to see that I have yet to identify.

alpine aster - aster alpigenus gone to seed