Scenic Landscapes: Mt. Rainier National Park

"Gardens of Eden . . . . filled knee-deep with fresh, lovely flowers of every hue, the most luxuriant and the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my mountain-top wanderings." -John Muir, writing about a 1888 visit to Paradise Park at Mt. Rainier.

Wildflower "parks" surround Mt. Rainier, like a summer-time skirt for its white-bloused glaciers. The grandest and the most accessible are at Paradise, but the accessible Sunrise area, day hikes to Spray Park, or a backpack to Indian Henry's are diverse alternates. For tarns reflecting the Mountain, Spray Park is tough to beat; the Mirror Pond at Indian Henry's is a classic.

An excellent campanion to a Rainier visit is Ruth Kirk's Sunrise to Paradise, a story of Mt. Rainier.