Ok I have a confession to make – I’m completely obsessed with Mount Rainier. (This may not be much of a confession for those of you that know me!) I’ve lived here for almost a year and I still get excited every time it’s clear enough to see the mountain. So when a friend of mine that I grew up with in Indiana came out to visit us a couple weekends ago, I decided we should all head down to Mount Rainier National Park and do some hiking so that we could get a closer look! The hike I chose was Narada Falls to Reflection Lake – a short 3 mile roundtrip hike near Paradise Visitor Center.
It’s about a 2.5 hour drive from where we live down to the park, so we set out early on Sunday morning. We got so lucky with such a clear day. Here’s the view from one of the lookouts as we were driving up to Paradise (such an appropriate name!).
We parked by the Narada Falls trailhead, which immediately descended to this view of the falls. (!!!)
After oohing and aahing for a bit, we continued on through the forest. This section of the trail is actually part of the Wonderland Trail, which you can hike all the way around Mt. Rainier! (J and I are putting that on the “someday” list…) There were so many beautiful flowers.
A mile and a half in we reached Reflection Lake and stopped for a lunch break. I’ll be honest, I could’ve sat here and stared at this view all day!
Closeup of the top!
This is one of my favorite shots, when the water calmed down enough to get a full reflection. Love love love!
Another hiker we met on the trail suggested that instead of heading back the way we came, we should continue around Reflection Lake and take another trail that led up to an overlook over Louise Lake, then continue on the trail through some meadows and loop back down to our car at Narada Falls. It was such a beautiful day and we were excited to see more, so we followed his suggestion. I’m so glad we ran into him and found out about the loop trail, because it made for an absolutely gorgeous afternoon!
It was a steep climb, but the view over Louise Lake was gorgeous!
The next section of the trail wound through some beautiful meadows of wildflowers.
The last section of the trail began at Ruby Falls and then followed Paradise River back to our starting point at Narada Falls. We ended up hiking about 5 miles total instead of 3 by doing the loop our hiker friend suggested, but it was worth the extra mileage for these views! I loved hiking this section along the river – it was a bunch of mini waterfalls the whole way!
It was a perfect day filled with so many of my favorite things – mountains, waterfalls, flowers, hiking, sunshine, and friends 🙂 I’d highly recommend this loop to Reflection Lake at Mount Rainier, and I hope you get a day as clear and beautiful as we did!
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip
Elevation gain: 1150 feet
Location: Mount Rainier
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