Mount Rainier National Park Photography Locations

Reflection Lake – Lower Tipsoo Lakes, Little Tipsoo Lake

Reflection Lake, Upper and Lower Tipsoo Lakes, and Little Tipsoo Lake offer spectacular mirrored reflections of the majestic mountain that will take your breath away.

Mazama Ridge

The trail to Mazama Ridge is easily accessible from the Paradise Meadows parking lot by the Skyline Trail or from lower viewpoints at the Reflection Lakes. Dawn brings an awe-inspiring sight of Mount Rainer reflecting in Tissoo Lake, surrounded by vibrant red blooming plants. Multiple parking lots give photographers different perspectives to capture this magnificent scene as they journey along these classic routes in this untouched wilderness.

The trails snaking their way up Mt Rainier from Paradise Visitor Center are not too steep, with summer wildflowers blooming in thousands of colors as a backdrop. Taking the bridge over the river, a meadow appears, where if you look in the opposite direction of Mount Rainier, you can spot the majestic Tatoosh range.

Sourdough Ridge

Sourdough Ridge sits just above the visitor’s center, untainted by artificial lights, so you can get a dazzling view of Mount Rainier uninterrupted.

Silverfort Trail

Silverfort Trail surrounds Sunrise District, winding its way between lush forests and sensational vistas. It provides breathtaking views of Rainier’s silhouette, White River, Emmons Morraine Glacier, and the valley stretched below.

Paradise Lodge

A wedding photoshoot at the legendary Paradise Lodge awaits those lucky to visit Mount Rainier, National Park.

We arrived during winter when fog blanketed the mountain like a thick grey blanket. If you’re seeking sunrises, sunsets, and stars that will take your breath away, then Sunrise Area at Mt. Rainier National Park should be at the top of your list. You’ll probably have better luck than us with weather conditions.

Mount Rainier National Park Photography – We came into the park on Route 706 East. This great little town on the way in has some spots you will want to stop and photograph. You can see the little church, The Mount Rainer Scenic Railroad, and just a few cool things around the small town.  It’s a good time to stop here for food at the Mount Rainer Railroad Dining Co. Be sure to get some food and or snacks. There is only one more stop for food along the way and again at the top of the mountain, and it’s costly.

There are a few spots not to miss along the way for photography and the family. Ex Nihilo Sculpture Park, along the way to Mt. Rainier National Park, is the brainchild of Washington artist Daniel Klennert. This is a must-stop spot, especially if you are an artist. If you are traveling with family, they can stay busy while you have time to take some pictures. Right past there, on the way to the park, stop here and pick up some goodies. It’s all one road, so you can’t get lost.

BEST TIME TO GO

Weather: If embarking on a journey to Mount Rainier, careful consideration must be taken regarding the current season, weather conditions, and peak tourist times. As a word of caution, the months between November and March are not recommended for visiting as they bring heavy snowfall and bitterly cold temperatures that impede travel and limit access to certain parts of the park.

Summer:

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Mount Rainier National Park during the summer months when the weather is at its most pleasant. Average temperatures rise from a crisp 54.7°F in June to a comfortable 64.5°F in August, with lows ranging from 36.2°F to 43.9°F respectively. The chance of rain is minimal, with only 4.1in June and an even lower 2 in July and August. Plus, there’s no need to worry about snow as it rarely falls, measuring just 5.6in in June and a mere 0.1in in August. So come and enjoy the perfect summer weather while exploring all Mount Rainier offers.

Most Affordable: For those on a budget, the most affordable time to visit is in December or January.  Accommodations can also be found at reasonable rates, averaging around $120 per night, with added perks like breakfast included at select hotels. To secure these deals, planning your trip in advance is best.

Tips for an enjoyable visit and avoiding congestion:

– Visit on weekdays and avoid peak hours

– Have an alternate plan in case of long lines or delays

– Use the NPS App to find nearby destinations within the park

– Consider using an annual pass to minimize entrance station wait times

– Check for road closures before traveling

HOW LONG TO PHOTOGRAPH

You can easily spend a full two days at the park doing photography. It, of course, all depends on how much hiking you do and what else you like to do.

WHAT PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR TO BRING

Everything! There are long-exposure waterfalls, wildlife, macro photography and Milky Way opportunities so you will need all your gear.

Tripod, zoom lens, wide angle lens, ND filters, extra batteries and memory cards.

WHAT ESLE TO BRING

Hiking boots, bug spray (seasonally), cold weather gear, and temperatures can suddenly change.

HOW TO GET THERE

Mount Rainier National Park Photography – We visited the park on Route 706 East. This great little town on the way in has some spots you will want to stop and photograph. You can see the little church, The Mount Rainer Scenic Railroad, and just a few cool things around the small town.  It’s a good time to stop here for food at the Mount Rainer Railroad Dining Co. Be sure to get some food and or snacks. There is only one more stop for food along the way and again at the top of the mountain, and it’s costly.

HOURS

DATES and HOURS OF OPERATION
Call the park at 360-569-2211 to confirm road and facility status or check the website for current information. During the snow season, some roads close.  Information changes seasonally. SEE THE CURRENT DETAILS HERE.

OTHER PHOTOGRAPHY NEARBY

  • Olympic National Park
  • Mount Saint Helens

Christine Falls – Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park – Christine Falls

This spot is not to miss as you drive along the road to Mount Rainier. There are few places to park off this busy spot, but you should find enough parking spots if you get there early on a weekday. We enjoyed this spot for about an hour, and it was one of the only picturesque areas we found on our journey. We visited this day solely to photograph it. It was cloudy/foggy and rainy that day, so we did not experience some of what Mount Rainier had to offer viewing-wise.

We had to find the exact place to see the falls without the tree limbs our way. This first picture was shot at four sec. f/22, ISO 100. f/22 and ISO 100 are standard for your waterfall photography, and you must be on a tripod to do a long exposure. Your shutter speed will vary depending on your filter. We like the Tiffen 1.2, which we used here. It only gives a slight color cast and is easily correctable. It was enough on a cloudy/rainy day to easily allow a 4-second exposure. See Neutral Density Filters and learn about them here if you are unfamiliar with them. Have some lens clothes handy when shooting in the rain, and don’t forget your lens hood and camera raincoat.

christine falls in mount rainier national park
SMALL USE THIS

Announcing our Photography Contest

All of the winners will have their photo featured in our Magazine  Lots of Prizes

 See all of the Details on our Photography Contest Page.

SMALL USE THIS

Our Stay at the Paradise Inn

We arrived at Mount Rainier National Park to find the Paradise Inn perched atop its peak. The rain was coming down steadily, and it soon became apparent that a retreat down the winding mountain roads would mean another hour of travel, so we decided to stay. We were not disappointed; the food was delicious, the presentation superb, and the service impeccable – an 8 out of 10! But it did come with a hefty cost: set in the middle of nowhere, this rustic mountain lodge had prices that weren’t for the faint-hearted. Even without a television or internet, we found solace in the library of this luxurious log cabin, but our reprieve was short-lived as their paper-thin walls meant even the slightest whisper could be heard by staff members making their rounds. Our room proved rather small for an outrageous $117 dollars per night – no bathroom included – and I can only imagine what faults could be found in the $267 rooms. (2015)

Mount Rainier National Park Photography

How to Shoot Milky Way in Mount Rainier National Park

When to Photograph Mount Rainier National Park? There is no definitive answer to this question, as the best time to go to Mount Rainier National Park for photography will vary depending on what type of photography you are interested in. For example, suppose you are interested in landscape photography. In that case, you will want to go during the summer months when the weather is generally more stable, and more daylight is available for photography. However, if you are interested in photographing the wildflowers that bloom in the park, you will want to go during the spring months. Ultimately, it is best to research the subject matter you are interested in photographing and then plan your trip accordingly.

Area Information Mount Rainier National Park


The best hotels while doing photography

HOTEL INFO

Add Your Mount Rainier Hotel Here

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost hunting friends to your hotel for their photography or ghost hunting trip? Put your hotel information here. We will put pictures of your hotel, the website link, the phone number and your information on your hotel.

Would you like to be a featured hotel like this article or this one?  Please send us an email.  You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.

area information - photography

AREA INFO

Park and Area Information Mount Rainier National Park

Entrance Fees:

None

GOOD CAMPING

CAMPING

Where to Camp in Mount Rainier

Add your campground here.

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your campground to stay during their ghost-hunting trip? Put your campground information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and your information on your campground to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you. They are good at getting there in the dark.

Would you like to be featured in an article as a place to stay while doing photography or ghost hunting? If so, please send us an email. You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.


FOOD & DINING

FOOD & DINING

Where to Eat When Visiting Mount Rainier

Add Your Mount Rainier Restaurant Here.

Do you want us to send our photography and ghost-hunting friends to your Restaurant after their ghost-hunting or photography trip? Put your restaurant information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number, and the information on your Restaurant to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you.

More Food and Hotels Inside Mount Rainier National Park  :

Be careful. You sometimes have too long of a way to go before getting to the food locations. Be sure to bring snacks and water.

Longmire
The National Park Inn at Longmire includes a restaurant usually open year-round, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is the only in-park dining facility that is open all year.

Adjacent to the National Park Inn, the Longmire General Store offers a limited selection of groceries, camping supplies, gifts, and souvenirs.

Paradise
The Paradise Inn includes a restaurant and a small cafe. Like the Inn, both the restaurant and the cafe are open only from May to early October. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. The cafe offers hot drinks, grab-and-go meals, and other quick food items.

The Paradise Camp Deli, a cafeteria in the Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise, is usually open on weekends and holidays in the winter and daily from May through early October.

Sunrise
The Sunrise Day Lodge includes a snack bar. Sunrise Day Lodge is usually open from July through September.

WEATHER

 WEATHER

Click here to see what the weather is in Mount Rainier

 Don’t forget that you can use a rain sleeve on your camera if it is raining. If it is bright and sunny, you want to use a low ISO such as 50 or 100.

If you photograph cloudy days, you can do running water or waterfall photography to help avoid the glaring sun. You can also use an ND filter to get long exposure for dramatic effects, even in the sunshine. If you ghost hunt indoors in abandoned places, be careful!

Mount Rainier National Park Photography Info

AT A GLANCE

Lens:

Wide Angle but you may find a bird or two. Not much wildlife here.

Gear List at a Glance:

A circular polarizing filter, neutral density filter, tripod, shutter release, wide-angle lens.

When to Go: 

The only time not to go is when they close the road down due to winter conditions. Check with the park before you go. Fall is ideal.

SHUTTER PRIORITY

If you have moving subjects, you will want to shoot in shutter priority to ensure your shutter speed is high enough to have your subject in sharp focus. Approximately 1/250th of a second is appropriate for people walking by, and adjust your ISO accordingly. If they are running fast, increase your shutter speed to about 1/500th of a second. A fast bird flying by would be shot at about 1/1000th of a second. If it’s a bright sunny day, go as high as  1/1200th of a second. Remember, the higher your shutter speed, the less light comes into the camera. It should not be an issue outside during daytime hours. For More Details, see our Shutter Priority Page.

MANUAL MODE

You have moving waters here. You can do your long-exposure running and milky water shots. You will have to use a tripod for this effect. Your settings will vary depending on the lighting and your neutral density filter. You will shoot in manual mode for the milky waters. ISO is always 100 or as low as your camera will allow. The aperture is f22. Your shutter speed will be the only variable depending on the light. Roll your shutter speed until your meter reads zero. (In the center)  Use your shutter release or your 2-second timer to prevent camera movement when exposed. You will want at least a 2-second exposure for milky water. If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you may not get more than 1/15th of a second in the sun. We highly suggest you do not go anywhere without one. It makes all the difference between lifeless images and outstanding, dynamic images.

APERTURE PRIORITY

Aperture Priority is often used to blur the background of your images and control your depth of field (how much from the subject to the background is in focus). For more information on this – see our Aperture page 

ISO

The higher you set it, the more light comes in when exposing an image. The higher the number, the more digital noise, so if possible, stay below 800. If you need to go higher to get the shot, you can use Topaz Denoise to filter out the digital noise later.

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