Mt. Rainier National Park is extensive (368 square miles) and offers hundreds of miles of trails. We hiked the Palisades Lakes Trail from Sunrise, which at an elevation of 6,400 feet, is the highest point that can be reached by car. Sunrise affords spectacular views of Mt Rainier (rising above at an elevation of 14,410 ft) and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range.
Here's John with the snow-covered tip of Mt. Rainier just discernible through the clouds behind him.
The trail cuts down along the northern side of the Sunrise precipice, and continues on through a series of valleys and ridges that are dotted with pristine alpine lakes. The first lake is Sunrise Lake--here's a view from the top of the trail:
More views along the the top of the trail:
After descending the precipice, the trail winds through several alpine meadows along the way to the first lake:
We ate lunch (tomato pesto and hummus sandwiches) at Clover Lake, which at 1.5 miles along the trail, is the second lake you encounter:
Some Gray Jays came to beg food from us; they were so insistent and adorable, we had to give in.
The hike continues on past 4 more lovely lakes until you reach the end of the trail at Upper Palisades Lake high camp... next time, we'll bring gear and camp there overnight.
The photos diminished as we hiked on and got into a primal, free-spirited, and light-hearted natural high that didn't prompt photo taking. Anyway, I wouldn't want to reveal the whole trail in the hopes that someday you can see it for yourselves, or at least create it in your imagination.
This trail makes a tidy day hike: 7 miles round trip, moderately rigorous--if you get an early start, you'll have plenty of time to tarry along the way.
Here are some other random shots:
Spot the froggy?
Pasque Flower mops
Lots of chipmunks here, although, none in photo
Mount Rainier again, just visible through the clouds in right of photo