When the Paradise avalanche swept down into this area 5,700 years ago, it banked up against the north base of the Tatoosh Range, creating the dam that ponded Reflection Lakes. Time and trees have transformed the once-bleak devastation into great beauty.
If you are fortunate enough to be here on a clear, still morning, you will see a nearly perfect reflection of Mount Rainier on the lake. The best view is from the east end of the turnout. If you walk down to the lake, be sure to stay on the trails. Years ago an entrepreneur rented boats here, but now only wind disturbs the serenity. A fish jumping may ripple the surface, but fishing is not allowed in Reflection Lakes.
Some of the flowers you may have seen at a distance from the Paradise trails are here for a close-up look. Nice patches of rosy spirea and red heather cling to the lake shore, accented by the fragrant white blooms of Sitka valerian. The moist bank across the road from the lake almost always has a profuse display of flowers; look for avalanche lilies, paintbrush, shootingstars and elephanthead. The steep, one-mile trail to Pinnacle Peak starts near here.