Wildflowers of Mount Rainier

A black-tailed mule deer wades through a lush wildflower meadow in full bloom.
A black-tailed deer enjoys one of the lush subalpine meadows that ring Mount Rainier. Lupine, American bistort, and broadleaf arnica are just a few of the wildflower species lighting up the meadow with color.

NPS/Steve Redman Photo

There are hundreds of species of wildflowers found in Mount Rainier National Park, far more than can be represented here. However, this identification guide is meant to help you familiarize yourself with some of the most common and interesting wildflowers you may see during your visit to the park. For identification of flowers in the field, you can download the Mount Rainier Wildflower site bulletin, ask a ranger, or purchase a variety of wildflower identification guidebooks available in the park visitor centers and gift shops.

 

Wildflower Guide
For convenience, this guide divides wildflower species into two main categories, forest and subalpine, based on the environment the flower species commonly grows in. The categories are further subdivided by flower color to aid in easy identification.

Though some overlap occurs, forest and subalpine areas of the park host distinct groups of wildflower species. Dense old growth forest creates cool, shady conditions suitable to wildflower species different from the ones found in the sunnier subalpine meadows. Dense forest covers the low-to-mid elevations of the park from approximately 2,000 to 4,500 feet (610-1372 meters). Subalpine meadows or "parkland" wreath the higher elevations of Mount Rainier, from about 4,500 to 6,500 feet (1372-1981 meters). This region is sometimes called subalpine parkland because at those elevations trees start thin out and grow in patches interspersed among meadow instead of continuous forest. Eventually trees disappear completely in the alpine zone (approx. 6,500 feet/1981 meters to the summit). Subalpine regions often have the most impressive wildflower displays because those regions have a very short growing season. Snow can linger in the subalpine meadows well into June or July, and the flowers bloom profusely in order to reproduce as quickly as possible before the winter snows return.

 
Four petaled Bunchberry flower amongst green leaves.

Forest - White

White wildflowers of lower elevation forests.

Two yellow violets surrounded by heart-shaped leaves.

Forest - Yellow/Orange

Yellow and orange wildflowers of low elevation forests.

Three bright pink and purple Calypso Orchid photos.

Forest - Pink/Red/Purple

Pink, red, and purple wildflowers of low elevation forests.

Several Parry's Catchfly wildflowers with lobed, white petals.

Subalpine - White

White wildflowers found at subalpine elevations.

Sprays of yellow Cascade Stonecrop flowers blooming from bulbous leaves.

Subalpine - Yellow/Orange

Yellow and orange wildflowers found in subalpine elevations.

A mat of dense bright blue Menzie's Penstemon flowers.

Subalpine - Blue/Purple

Blue and purple wildflowers found in subalpine elevations.

Pink Rosy Spirea flowers top tall leavy stems.

Subalpine - Red/Pink

Pink and red wildflowers found in subalpine elevations.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304

Phone:

(360) 569-2211
Callers to this general park line can choose from a menu that includes recorded information as well as opportunities to talk to a ranger at one of the park's administration or visitor centers. Rangers are only available to answer calls during business hours.

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