Flora & Fauna

While you’re there, keep an eye out for the wildlife

Hoary marmot: A fluffy, beaver-like rodent that’s prevalent in subalpine areas of the park. (Pictured above)

Cascade fox

Photo by Dani Tinker

Cascade Red fox: This small, bushy-tailed canine can range in color from red to tan, silver, or black.

Black bear: The largest mammal inside the park, black bears can range in size from 90 to 500 pounds. While they aren’t usually aggressive, it’s still a good idea to give them a wide berth.

Fisher: An adorable, medium-sized member of the weasel family. The fisher was extinct in Washington until scientists began trying to recover the species over the past several years. If you do see a fisher in the park, let a park ranger know, or contact the NPS online.

Berries: Edible plants like blueberries, salmonberries, and blackberries grow throughout the park and can be picked in small amounts (no more than 1 gallon per person, per day) for personal consumption.


Photo by Erin Humphrey

Wildflowers: There are hundreds of different species, but a few of our favorites include: the candystick, an aptly named red-and-white plant that’s usually spotted in deep, shady parts of the forest; the broadleaf lupine, a purple flower that grows in expansive meadows; and the twin flower, a drooping pink flower that blooms around Longmire and in other low-elevation regions.

Keep in mind: No matter how cute a critter you encounter, remember to “keep wildlife wild” — that means storing food properly and refraining from feeding any animals. When exploring the park on foot, also be sure to stay on dedicated trails to avoid damaging delicate alpine plants. And though you might want to, don’t pick the wildflowers. It’s punishable by law with a hefty fine.


More on the Mountain:

Faces of the Mountain A Fatal Beauty Glaciers of Mount Rainier The Mountain is Out (To Get You) Snapping the Perfect Picture of the Mountain Strange Encounters What to do in the Event of Volcanic Ash

is the digital coordinator at 425 magazine. Email her.
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