About 8 miles past the entrance to Sunrise, the byway winds upward along a series of switchbacks to another popular stop and photo-op—Tipsoo Lake. Chances are you have seen this lake, with Mount Rainier reflected in its still waters, even if you’ve never visited. It’s one of the most photographed nature scenes in the United States.
Located just before the Chinook Pass summit, this tiny shimmering lake is surrounded by a dazzling field of wildflowers in spring and summer while Mount Rainier poses majestically in the background. There are hiking trails, including a short, paved, nature walk and the Naches Loop Trail, excellent for young kids. Try to spot the small herd of elk that grazes here.
This is also a popular birding area. SR-410 is the jumping-off point for a handful of Audubon Washington’s Great Washington State Birding Trails, this birding region, on the eastern slopes of the Cascades, is the Great Washington State Birding Trail—Sun and Sage Loop. Cross the pedestrian footbridge that spans the highway at the Chinook Summit, and find high-country birds like the sooty grouse and mountain chickadees along the 3.5-mile Naches Park Loop.
This is also a great stroll for experiencing the riot of wildflowers that peak here in late July.
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