The Chinook Pass in The Fall
The Chinook Pass, SR 410, cuts through Mount Rainier and Mount Baker in Washington State. This spot is along one of the main stops in the scenic byway – near Tipsoo Lake. Spectacular views of Mount Rainier await if you’re willing to step off the downtrodden road just a little. I’ve visited Rainier National Park several times already and this area is by far my favorite. Dense forest with towering peaks and river canyons meander down to lush subalpine meadows towards the little town of Enumclaw.
The pass gets around 15 feet of snow in the winter so your opportunity to check this place out is closing fast – Check WSDOT for road closures to be sure. Tipsoo Lake is the main draw here and is the most photographed lake in Washington State. The parking lot is often full and just along the route above the lake you’ll see a paved area specially constructed to allow dozens of photographers to frame Tipsoo with Mount Rainier.
What most people don’t notice is that another smaller lake above SR 410 – I’ve discovered it by accident when looking for a parking. I ended up parking about 1/2 mile up from Tipsoo Lake and decided to walk a trail instead of the road. Alternatively, you can just take the Natches Peak Loop for an easy 3-mile round-trip hike and see amazing fall colors. While Tipsoo Lake was crawling with visitors, I had this place to myself.
Best Time To Go
The peak fall colors vary but it’s good till mid to the end of October. After that it can vary, when the first major storm dumps a few feet of snow on the Pass the road will be closed for the season and you won’t be able to drive back up until May.
This place is ideal for sunrise as the sun rises just behind Tipsoo Lake. Ideally, you want to be here in early spring, which is around late July-August for the wildflowers. Mid-October for the autumn colors. If you come early around late June the lake will still be covered with melting snow. Telephoto and normal lens can frame the lake and the mountain up on a platform on the Chinook Pass as it goes up above Tipsoo Lake. Wide Angle is great if you’re down walking around Tipsoo Lake.
How To Get Here
Punch this on Google and follow directions.
|Exposure||Various, ISO 100|
|Lens||Sony FE 24-240mm|
WANT TO SEE THE FALL COLORS IN CHINOOK PASS?
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