Mount Rainier National Park Washington - Reflection Lakes

in #lakes3 years ago (edited)


I started visiting Mt. Rainier National Park the minute I moved to the Pacific Northwest. However, I initially didn't photograph or visit Reflection Lakes. Not because I did not want to because I wasn't even aware of it. Imagine that! One of the most iconic spots to photograph in the park and I wasn't even aware of it.

I often found myself exploring the Paradise area from the southern approach and not venturing beyond. When I took the northern approach via the Chinook Pass, I found myself photographing Tipsoo Lake instead. It never really even crossed my mind to complete the loop around the National Park.

One day last fall, I decided to drive from north to south from Chinook Pass. From there I took the detour towards Paradise on Stevens Canyon Road. Lo and behold, there's a pristine meadow full of wild mountain blueberries. There lie two lakes that seemingly frame Mount Rainier on its reflections. It is with luck this particular day that peaks are clear of clouds. I couldn't wait to get off my car and explore the area.

There is a parking lot, and I would imagine this place would be crawling with visitors in the Summer when the meadows are blanketed with wild-flowers. I hadn't visited the area during peak bloom because the entire Pacific Northwest was engulfed in smoke from massive wildfires - there was a week where the visibility was only 2o feet! Perhaps on another summer, I'll get a chance to photograph the famed wildflowers, but I'm happy to take a few autumn frames as chance would give me.

A flowing into Reflection Lake
A flowing into Reflection Lake

Several marked signs point to several trails in the area with Pinnacle or Plummer Peak. But I was content to meander around in and out around the Wonderland Trail which offers fantastic views of the lakes and Mount Rainier. Besides, I was also busy harvesting the many blueberries growing wild along the lakes.

There are several varieties of these berries too and you'll get your hands full within minutes of picking them. You'll also stain your fingers and tongue as these berries are very dark. Bear in mind, you'll need a permit to pick these berries in the State of Washington under the Free Use Berry Permit. The berries harvested under this permit are for personal consumption only. The best time to go here for berries is during September.

Why You Should Visit


Picking berries, though fun, wasn't my primary purpose for visiting Reflection Lakes. I was there to take photos, but while waiting for the eventual sunset, I had time to scout the area for photographic locations and harvest berries. It's easy to see why many photographers come back again and again at different seasons to this location. Colorful autumn leaves, insane wildflower blooms, random wild animals, the soaring volcanic peak of Mount Rainier, and pristine alpine lakes.
Wild Blueberries in Rainier National Park
Wild Blueberries in Rainier National Park

At the parking lot, you'll see a marker that talks a little about the history of Reflection Lakes. There was once commercial activity in the area with a store and a business for boat rentals. The lakes were also stocked with Trout for recreational fishing. It would have been normal to see people wading and swimming in the lakes during this period. Today, however, the lakes are under repair in the hopes to bring it back to its natural splendor. It is not uncommon to see signs that warn you to stay on trails and not step on any fragile under repair meadows.

Overlooking Reflection Lake
Overlooking Reflection Lake

Hiking the loop trail allows you to see the Tatoosh Range with its jagged peaks that reminded me of the Minarets in the Eastern Sierras in California. Louise Lake can also be seen below with the Stevens Canyon Road winding its way at the top of the lake. At this time in mid-September, you can still look at some wildflowers in bloom, though it's already way past its peak. Still, the faraway views of the surrounding ridges and valleys provide more than plenty for sore eyes.

There are reports of bear sightings in the


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I'm sorry to hear about those wildfires in summer. But it doesn't look like it had a big impact on that particular area or it did recover very quickly.

We have many blueberries back home and we were always taught to be careful with picking them as bears like them as well :) So yes, you are lucky that you didn't encounter any bear. You would think that they are slow as they are big and fat but as you say they can do everything - run up and down the hill, climb a tree, swim and everything they do better than we.

You took some great photos and I like that you shared some photography tips as well. Thank you for that!

The wildfires came from Eastern Washington, Oregon, and Canada - but somehow all their smoke came our way :)

that's a fresh grape hehe

What awesome photos. What I would have liked most was to try those Wild Blueberries .

Olympia here! Mount Rainier and all surrounding areas is probably one of my most favorite to explore. I've lived in the area for 23 years and explore the natural area often and still find new places to see. I'm also a writer and appreciate your lovely article - well written! Thank you for sharing.

I need to explore the Olympic Peninsula more, it's just a little bit longer to get to than Rainier :)

There are many blueberries in our house and we are always taught to be careful about picking them as beer :) So yeah, you're lucky that you do not face any bear. They feel bigger and fat at slow speed, but you can say that they do everything - down the hill and down, climb a tree, swimming and everything they are better than us.

You've taken some great photos and I'd like to share some photography tips. Thanks for that!!

These photos are just amazing ;)

What an outstanding post! I’m in Seattle - moved four years ago - and seeing Rainier on a clear day is one of the highlights! I didn’t know about this lake either, and now I’m excited to visit one day. Thanks for sharing!

See this once in a while?

Haha Got this on my way back home from Everett.

what a cool view truly nature is the best way to relax and set mind with the positive impact on the environment how lucky we are for having a good life and good adventure exploring natures beauty.

well done.

this is a great photo also. the contrast and the lights colors are perfectly taken. wow, awesome.^_^

have a nice day @adonisabril

Beautiful scenery , is there a lot of fish in the lake.

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Wow, incredible pics! Upvoted!!

lake_saif_ul_muluk.jpgvery nice post sir. I wish to visit this lake. If you are interested in visiting these type of places then you should come to Pakistan. I Pakistan there are number of lakes in our vicinity lake Saiful Malok Lake etc. Come to Pakistan for visiting you will forget reflection lake if you will see lakes in Pakistan. I am sharing with you some photos.42528403_2388695981146656_1854323181968424960_n.jpg

Pakistan is on my list already :)

Good. Have you ever visited Pakistan. If you want to visit these type of places in Pakistan I shall help you

These pictures look really nice and tranquil. Unbelievable. Noted for one of the places I look forward to visiting.

Thanks for these amazing photos! This is insanely beautiful! I will definitely include this on my list... Will book by September since I also would want to experience berries picking too!

Nice photos, Must have been a chilly morning :) beautiful shots. Blue sky and trees. There is everything what a good romantic post should have ;) Have a great day :)

You make some really good content and the photos are amazing! I am giving you an up-vote though it has little to no value and I am out following you. I hope to make interesting content like this, thanks for the motivation :)

Thanks for sharing your experience about this piece of nature!

I love blue berries, especially when I personally take them from nature. It is when you just pick them that the most nutrients are available! The ones you buy in the supermarket have too less valuable things that are good for yourself :)

What an absolutely beautiful setting. Wow.

stunning photos! amazing creation of god.

Thanks to your previous advice, I found lovely autumn colors during my recent visit to Leavenworth. Now I need to follow this advice and explore Mt. Rainier, which I have never done! Beautiful photos, and it really makes me want to spend some time there! Smoke season was bad over here in Idaho this year, too. And last year. It really hampers outdoor activities, and I feel very sorry for those who must work outdoors. I have no idea how firefighters manage to keep breathing.

Oh! very beautiful I'm fall in love with these Images.

great shots! and that blueberries looks delicious! :p

Wow! There​'s a lot of leaves and trees everywhere. I am happy to be able to observe some of your adventures through your camera's lens. Such a beautiful place to reminisce.

woww so beautiful
Picture 079.jpg

@adonisabril beautiful river, want to swim in the river ...

@adonisabril you shared a heart touching photo I love the place even I am planning to visit this place on next vacation. Thanks for sharing this

Green... Beautiful...

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Amazing post it is.

I thoroughly liked your photos. I've already added it on my bucketlist. When I have the opportunity to go on a vacation i'll surely visit this place.

Great post. Been meaning to get up an explore that area. Simply beautiful.

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Nature and Reflections very cool..

very good photo

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very good photo

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So beautiful

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This is a must to visit, just like a real mirror.

Awesome post thank you for the content!!!

Breathtaking view! I would love to visit that place soon :)

Wow . what nice shots. its , breathtaking. awesome, I just wish i could go there.Looks like you enjoyed alot @adonisabril

fantastic photos
esp love the blueberries
so fresh !

It's like some scenery got framed! seriously the pictures are breathtaking. you are lucky enough to witness such beauty. keep up with amazing content.

so beautiful lake

Awesome photos @adonisabril. I've been a Washington native my whole life and I've been a Mt Rainier several times but I just got a camera on my birthday so I've start been able to document a bit of the area. I recently went on a trip with my dad to the Ashford hills which is on the western side of the mountain and I got some cool shots of the mountain and the surrounding hills. If you look up Glacier View trail head, we were in that vicinity. Awesome photos my friend.

Buen lugar para la reflexion y despejar la mente

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Beautiful pictures of a wonderful landscape - and thanks for the photographing tips too!

Breathtaking sunset :