The subalpine parks are comprised of incredible landscapes. Within their broad valleys are rushing streams, open hillsides, rock outcroppings, clusters of alpine firs and, of course, expansive meadows lush with the lovely flowers of every hue that Muir so admired. Laird Blackwell in his guidebook "Wildflowers of Mount Rainier" states that after comparing Rainier wildflowers to those of other areas that Rainier's meadow gardens are "amazing dense and extensive" and the "colors of its flowers seem to be just a notch brighter and more vibrant, a touch more intense, a hue deeper." Much the same observation Muir made over a hundred years earlier.

The north side of the Park has many incredible subalpine parks. Spray Park is accessed from Mowich Lake. Berkeley Park and Grand Park are accessed from Sunrise and the Wonderland Trail (WLT). Yakima Park is right at Sunrise. Grand Park is certainly worthy of its name with an enormously broad flat plain nearly two miles in length. These areas have extraordinary rich meadows with a tremendous variety of flowering plants. Many of the photographs of subalpine flowers presented here were taken at these sites.

The 'spray' of flowers across the subalpine meadow provides the dominant image of mountain wildflowers. In season a full canvas is presented with blue subalpine lupine mixed in with red paintbrush, pink daisies, yellow cinquefoil along with the little white "bottle brushes" of the bistorts sticking up. Confusing the orderliness of the array are the mopheads, often confused with the bistorts, which are the seedpods of the earlier blooming Pasqueflower. To be peculiar occasionally one of more of the Peducularis will be added with a cluster of elephantheads or a lousewort or two. In more uniform fashion areas of white avalanche or yellow glacier lillies will usually comprise their own fields with less species variety. ..................................... ....................................click on photo to access a photo montage

Tucked away on the fringes of the meadows and along seeps and streams are many special flowering plants which display elegant blossoms and flowerheads, such as the marigolds, shooting stars and monkeyflowers. While the meadows provide the big show in the subalpine zone many other areas actually provide a large extent of showy flowers.

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