Tipsoo Lake is not an unusually large lake. In fact, to me, it’s more like a pond. It’s tiny, and it doesn’t even form into a big enough body of water to be called a lake until very late into the summer. As you can see from the summer shot above, I took one photo in mid-June and the one below in late October. No matter the season, a random visit to Tipsoo Lake is always spectacular. I find myself driving the 2-hour drive after work during the long days of summer so that I can catch a magnificent sunset.
|Exposure||Manual exposure, Multiple, ISO 100|
|Lens||Sony FE 24-240mm|
|Location||Rainier National Park, Washington|
What makes this lake popular is the location it has relative to Mount Rainier. When the snow melts, it provides that perfect quintessential postcard photo from Rainier National Park. It is also very accessible by car via the Chinook Pass and does not require an exhausting hike to get to. As such, Tipsoo Lake is one of the most photographed landscapes in the United States of America.
LAKE TIPSOO IS FAMOUS FOR
Photographers could easily spend hours waiting for the perfect shot of Mt. Rainier as it reflects on the lake. The Naches Peak Loop nearby offers impressive flowers, mountain tarns and epic views of Mt. Rainier. During season its wildflowers also rival those found at the Paradise meadows, and once the snow melts, provide spectacular landscapes. The Chinook Pass is also one of the best areas in the state of Washington for viewing autumn colors.
LAKE TIPSOO LOCATION
The Chinook Pass to Tipsoo Lake is accessible during the summer months and usually closed during winter. Check with WSDOT for road closures and conditions.
If you’re up for it, hiking the short loop trail around the lake is a great way to take in the views. If you’re up for a little bit more of a challenge and excellent views, you can do a moderate trek up to Dewey Lake or Sheep Lake as both straddle a portion of the famed Pacific Crest Trail.
Travel Resource & Planning For Tipsoo Lake
Here are some very good and useful articles and guides for your trip to Washington and Tipsoo Lake.
Check out my guide on how to get the best travel backpack, you want a good camera, to take awesome photos of Tipsoo Lake. While you’re at it, grab a tripod and a polarizer; this is the best way to capture the lake and Mount Rainier for that matter.
Catch cheap flights on Skyscanner if you’re flying from outside of Washington. This is my favorite flight search engine. Also, read which days are cheapest to book your flights or how to land cheap mistake fares.
I use Booking.Com to book all my hotels and hostels. I also use Airbnb to rent apartments from locals, up to $55 Airbnb credit when you sign up! Mount Rainier national park also has two places you can stay in, inside the park.
National Park Inn – It’s located in the Longmire Historic District and is open year round. The Inn has contains 25 guest rooms and a full-service dining room with a general store.
Paradise Inn – Built around 1916, this Inn has retained its rustic style and is open mid-May through early October. The Paradise Inn has 121 guest rooms, post office, café, gift shop, and even a full-service dining room.
You can reserve a room for both above online at Mount Rainier Guest Services (360-569-2275).
I always recommend having your trip covered in case of unfortunate incidents. World Nomads is a good place to start and they’ve never let me down. I’ve also used Travelex and Roam Right in the past, both are good options. Do some comparison shopping and find the one that caters to your trip best.
Recommended Reading – A Landscape Photographer’s Guide to Mount Rainier National Park
Recommended Video – Journey To The Top; Mount Rainer Summit
If you want to travel on a budget, check out my guide on how to travel cheap (and sometimes free!), also don’t forget to read my in-depth guide on how to budget for travel to save you a lot of time and money.
DO YOU WANT TO CHECK OUT TIPSOO LAKE?
Check out my Ultimate Travel Photography Gear Guide!