Rainier from Berkeley Park.jpg

Trip Report    

Day Hike - Berkeley Park

All agreed that the flowers in Berkeley Park were the best they'd ever seen there.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • We went up and back to the Wonderland Trail via Frozen Lake and did not encounter any snow.  Meadow Rangers reported there was some snow on the trail down from Frozen Lake to Shadow Lake, so we avoided that route.  We drove through the Northeast gate at about 8:15.  There were 10 or so cars before us, but just as we arrived, park staff opened a second lane, and many drivers appeared to already have passes in hand, so we moved swiftly through the entrance.  There was a large crowd of people waiting at the White River Ranger Station for permits.  

When we arrived at Sunrise at 9:00, about 1/2 of the paved lot was occupied. When we left at 5:00, we noticed many cars parked precariously along the side of the road--some up to almost a mile from the trailheads.  We assume the lot must have filled (and overfilled) during the day.  The visitor center is not open, but there are rangers staffing the facility from the front patio.

We had a wonderful trip, with all participants agreeing the flowers were the best they'd ever seen them in Berkeley Park.  We started the trip with a geology lesson from leader Tom Bancroft, learning about various facets of the mountain, Little Tahoma, the Osceola Mudflows, the formation of Goat Island Mountain and Baker Point, and much more.  

Berkeley Park Group 1.jpeg

We were lucky to see mountain bluebirds (some not far from the Sunrise bathrooms), nesting flickers by the Sunrise Ranger Station, nesting pipits descending into Berkeley park, juncos, and we all heard (and some saw) a Clark's Nutcracker. Checkerspot butterflies were out in abundance. 

We saw two mountain goats down in Huckleberry Basin, both time we passed by Sourdough Ridge. Other animal sightings included pikas (with mouths full of foliage) below Frozen Lake, marmots along the route, yellow pine chipmunks, and golden-mantled ground squirrels.  

Lupine Meadow.jpg

We saw all 6 louseworts that grow at the park, including the endemic Rainier Lousewort. 


Rainier Lousewort

Ducksbill Lousewort.jpg

Ducksbill/Birdsbeak Lousewort

Elephanthead Lousewort.jpg

Elephanthead Lousewort

We did not go all the way to Berkely Park, but traveled a bit beyond the falls and river so that we could see some of the plants growing in wetter areas, including our sixth of six louseworts--the elephanthead.  

We had a lovely lunch and then retraced our steps.  If you are thinking of going to Berkeley Park this year for the flowers, go now!

Berkeley Park Group 2.jpg


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Thomas Bancroft
Thomas Bancroft says:
Jul 31, 2021 02:27 PM

What a wonderful day to be in the field, experiencing the wilds of Washington and sharing the time with great people. Goats, marmots, ground squirrels, a few birds, tons of flowers, and the quiet beat of the volcano and the geologic history all around. Spectacular!