If you love wild flowers, go to Berkeley Park now!
To get there –
Start from the Sunrise Visitor Center
climbing a set of stairs, with Mount Rainier on your left.
Once you are high up on the ridgeline, pause for a second and take in the view of the Huckleberry Valley below.
Then follow signs on your left to Sourdough Ridge Trail.
You will be overlooking the Sunrise Valley.
By now, you would have seen some wild flowers, such as Fan Leaf Cinquefoils
Pink Mountain Heathers (left) Spreading Phloxes (right)
Lupines (left) Scarlet Paintbrushs (right)
and Pink Purple Penstemons.
About a mile into the hike, you stumble upon a small lake to your right.
Frozen Lake it is called – supplying drinking water to the Sunrise area.
Past the lake, continue straight ahead onto Wonderland Trail.
which meanders about
and you are exposed to more blooms
such as Magenta Paintbrush
and Pasqueflower Seedhead
which I mistook for bear grass.
Half a mile later, you come to yet another junction.
The Wonderland trail continues to your left, but you proceed straight on, descending into a valley of spectacular color displays.
You can stop here and take as many photos as you like.
But keep on going, the best is yet to come!
Soon you reach a tumbling creek – the sight of glacial water is extra refreshing on a hot day.
The trail veer to your right and there you see it!
The best wildflower display in six years! – according to park ranger.
This time, instead of admiring it from afar, you are in the middle of it all!
It’s a multi-sensory experience: the color – this intensity, you’ve never seen anything like it!
The touch, as it brushes and nudges you when you pass…
Releasing the fragrance of vanilla and honey – apparently the bees like it too! (The flower, by the way, is Subalpine Daisy)
This is Elephant’s Head
This – a Dwarf Lupine
I have yet to identify its name of this one.
But this one is undoubtedly – the Bear Grass!
It is easy to see why this area is called Berkeley Park – it resembles a well-maintained landscaped park.
You may proceed to the campsite – a Backcountry and Wilderness Permit is required to stay there overnight – or turn around, knowing that you’ve seen the best of all and head back to Sunrise.
Arrive early for the best opportunity to find parking space. We got there around 10AM on a Sunday and cliched one of the few spots left.
The trail is well exposed. Dress for sun & wind protection and bring plenty of water.
There is no formal bathroom on the trail, not even a honey bucket. You will be delighted to see a sign pointing to a “toilet” once you reach the Berkeley Camp, but soon you will realize that it is not what you think.
Bring your camera and be prepared to take A LOT OF photos!!! I left mine at home, and still took more than 500 photos with my phone.