Mount Rainier's glaciers and annual snowpack are the source of five major rivers as well as numerous creeks and streams. All of these water ways cascade down the mountain's rugged slopes forming an untold number of waterfalls. Fed by snowmelt, some of the park's waterfalls are ephemeral, only appearing during certain times of the year. Others are buried deep within the park's wilderness far from roads or trails, making them challenging to find and view. Mount Rainier’s numerous waterfalls are best viewed in early summer as melting snow feeds the streams, and again in autumn as the rains fill the streambeds. During late summer, only the major waterfalls will be flowing. Few of the many waterfalls have been named. What names would you give to your favorite unnamed waterfalls? Whether the falls have names or not, they are a refreshing sight to both the eye and spirit.
Please approach and view waterfalls safely. Stay on maintained trails and viewpoints. Wet rocks, steep slopes, and cliff areas are extremely hazardous!
Mount Rainier National Park Waterfall Guide
This waterfall guide provides an overview of Mount Rainier's waterfalls that can be viewed from park roads or trails.
**Please note that all waterfall heights are estimates.**
Chenuis Falls Water Source: Chenuis Creek Waterfall Description: Chenuis Falls is a series of cascades over smooth bedrock ending in a beautiful pool. The lower section of falls is 168 feet tall. Upper tiers of the falls are not visible from creek level. Viewing Location: Hike or bike 3.7 miles up the Carbon River Road, then hike a 0.2 mile spur trail to the other side of the Carbon River to view Chenuis Falls. The spur trail crosses the Carbon River via a log footbridge which often washes out during the winter. Check the status of the bridge with a ranger before attempting this hike. View the Chenuis Falls Trail Photo Gallery.
Ipsut Falls Water Source: Ipsut Creek Waterfall Description: A 87-foot tall two-tiered waterfall in a narrow canyon. The waterfall view from the trail is partly obscured by fallen trees and vegetation. Viewing Location: When visiting the Ipsut Creek backcountry campsite (5 miles by trail from the Carbon River Entrance), follow the Carbon River Trail to a short spur trail up Ipsut Creek to view this small waterfall.
Ranger Falls Water Source: Ranger Creek Waterfall Description: This impressive 3-segmented waterfall has a total height of 172 feet. The tallest segment is 73 feet high. Viewing Location: This dramatic cascade is visible from a viewpoint along the trail to Green Lake. Hike or bike 3.2 miles up the Carbon River Road to the Green Lake Trail, then continue on foot 1 mile toward Green Lake to the viewpoint (no bikes allowed on trails).
Spray Falls Water Source: Spray Creek Waterfall Description: Spray Creek drops 354 feet over a lava cliff in a magnificent, veil-like waterfall. The remains of the Flett Glacier provide a reliable source of water for this impressive waterfall. Viewing Location: From the trailhead at the end of the Mowich Lake Road, hike 2 miles toward Spray Park, then follow the 0.2 mile spur trail to the base of Spray Falls.
Deer Creek Falls Water Source: Deer Creek Waterfall Description: Deer Creek cascades over 60 feet into a scenic gorge. Viewing Location: Hike about 0.2 mile down the Owyhigh Lakes Trail from State Route 123 to see Deer Creek Falls below the trail. Use caution when viewing the falls from the brink of the gorge.
Falls Creek Falls Water Source: Falls Creek Waterfall Description: This small waterfall has a series of cascades, with the tallest dropping 30 feet over mossy bedrock. Viewing Location: This waterfall can be viewed from Stevens Canyon Road, about 300 yards uphill from the Grove of the Patriarchs parking area, just north of Ohanapecosh. Please park in designated pull-offs and parking areas and do not block the road.
Ohanapecosh Falls Water Source: Ohanapecosh River Waterfall Description: The Ohanapecosh River drops nearly 70 feet in this 2-tiered waterfall with double plunge pools. Viewing Location: To reach the falls, follow the Eastside Trail about 3.7 miles north from the Grove of the Patriarchs parking area. The best viewing is from south of the falls’ footbridge.
Silver Falls Water Source: Ohanapecosh River Waterfall Description: The full power of the Ohanapecosh River surges over a series of smaller cascades, culminating in a forceful 60-foot drop into an amphitheater surrounded by old-growth forest. During periods of high flow, the roaring spray makes this one of the park’s most impressive falls. Viewing Location: Reach the falls by trail, either from the north (Grove of the Patriarchs trailhead), from the east (Laughingwater Creek trailhead), or from the south (Ohanapecosh Campground) via the Silver Falls Trail. The best views are from just east of the dramatic footbridge spanning the river’s gorge, and from the viewpoint perched on the west side of the amphitheater next to the falls.
Stafford Falls Water Source: Chinook Creek Waterfall Description: Named for an early park ranger, William Stafford, this waterfall drops about 30 feet into a clear plunge pool. Viewing Location: To reach the falls, follow the Owyhigh Lakes Trail 0.4 mile from Highway 123 to the Eastside Trail, then about 1.4 miles south on the Eastside Trail to a short spur trail leading to a viewpoint.
Fairy Falls Water Source: Tributary of Stevens Creek Waterfall Description: This 3-tiered cascade drops nearly 600 feet over a headwall of Stevens Canyon. The falls’ former sources of water, the Stevens and Williwakas glaciers, have disappeared due to the warming climate. Formerly an impressive year-round feature, the falls now dwindle to a trickle by late summer as the annual snowpack melts away. Viewing Location: Due to its inaccessible location, it is best viewed from a distance; binoculars may be helpful. To spot it, go to the Snow Lake trailhead and look north across the upper end of Stevens Canyon. Also viewable from the hairpin pulloff along Stevens Canyon Road below the Snow Lake trailhead.
Martha Falls Water Source: Unicorn Creek Waterfall Description: Unicorn Creek flows from Snow Lake, over the edge of a lava flow via a series of cascades, finally dropping 125 feet to the canyon floor over Martha Falls. The falls were named for Martha Longmire by one of her sons while he was working on the Wonderland Trail in Stevens Canyon. Viewing Location: The main falls can be seen across the upper end of Stevens Canyon from a viewpoint along the road. A higher cascade of Martha Falls is visible along the Wonderland Trail about 0.6 miles from where the trail crosses the upper portion of Stevens Canyon Road, or 4.2 miles from the Reflection Lakes parking area. Continue an additional 0.9 miles down the Wonderland Trail to view Sylvia Falls.
Water Source: Stevens Creek Waterfall Description: Located where Stevens Creek takes a sharp bend, Sylvia Falls is a single drop, fan-shaped falls with a height of 43 feet. Viewing Location: View this waterfall along the Wonderland Trail in Stevens Canyon, either 1.4 miles downstream (passing by Martha Falls) from where the trail crosses the upper portion of Stevens Canyon Road, or 3.3 miles upstream from the Box Canyon trailhead. The view of the falls is partly obscured by trees and the bend in the creek's canyon walls.
Carter Falls Water Source: Paradise River Waterfall Description: Carter Falls is a horsetail-shaped waterfall about 50 feet tall. It was named in honor of Harry Carter, builder of much of the trail between Longmire and Paradise. Viewing Location: Carter Falls can be viewed 1.1 miles up river from the Cougar Rock Campground on the Wonderland Trail. Cross the Nisqually River below the campground and follow the trail toward Paradise.
Madcap Falls Water Source: Paradise River Waterfall Description: Madcap Falls is a short waterfall cascading down about 34 feet. Viewing Location: Madcap Falls is located about 100 yards upstream from Carter Falls, 1.1 miles up river from the Cougar Rock Campground on the Wonderland Trail. Cross the Nisqually River below the campground and follow the trail toward Paradise..
Christine Falls Water Source: Van Trump Creek Waterfall Description: Christine Falls is a 60-foot plunging waterfall framed by a historic arched bridge. The waterfall is named for Christine Van Trump, daughter of P.B. Van Trump, one of the first climbers of Mount Rainier. Viewing Location: This waterfall is located 4.5 miles from Longmire on the road to Paradise, just 0.2 mile from the Comet Falls parking area. The best way to view this waterfall is to park and walk down the short path to the viewpoint below the stone bridge. Use caution near the busy road. The path can be very icy and hazardous in the winter.
Comet Falls Water Source: Van Trump Creek Waterfall Description: This tall waterfall is one of the park’s most spectacular, with the highest drop falling over 300 feet. Viewing Location: The Comet Falls Trail parking is located two miles above Cougar Rock Campground on the road to Paradise. A strenuous hike of 1.9 miles leads to the base of the falls, gaining 1,200 feet in elevation. It is best to wait until snow has completely melted from the trail, as it can be treacherous until summer.
Van Trump Falls Water Source: Van Trump Creek Waterfall Description: This waterfall includes a series of cascades, with the tallest drop about 65 feet high. The upper tiers are partly obscured by the canyon walls. Viewing Location: Van Trump Falls is located just before Comet Falls along the Comet Falls Trail. Parking for the trail is located 2 miles above Cougar Rock Campground on the road to Paradise. A strenuous hike of just under 1.9 miles passes by the falls before continuing to Comet Falls. It is best to wait until snow has completely melted from the trail, as it can be treacherous until summer.
Edith Gorge Falls Water Source: Edith Creek Waterfall Description: This waterfall cascades through the narrow Edith Gorge in several cascades. The highest drop is about 40 feet. Viewing Location: Viewable below Paradise from the bridge along the Paradise Valley Road. Please park in a pull off and do not block the road.
Myrtle Falls Water Source: Edith Creek Waterfall Description: This popular 60-foot waterfall has a braided cascade with Mount Rainier towering in the background. Viewing Location: Take an easy 0.4 mile walk from the Paradise Inn northeast along the paved Skyline Trail to Edith Creek. A steep stairway descends to a superb viewpoint of Myrtle Falls. This area is treacherous in spring.
Narada Falls Water Source: Paradise River Waterfall Description: The Paradise River plunges 168 feet over an andesite lava flow to the valley floor. On a sunny day, a colorful rainbow may add a bit of magic to the falls. Viewing Location: Located along the road 3 miles below Paradise and 9 miles up from Longmire. The short, steep walk to the base gives the best view, and the spray and mist is refreshing. The trail can be very icy during the winter.
Sluiskin Falls Water Source: Tributary of the Paradise River Waterfall Description: This veil-like cascade descends the side of Mazama Ridge at the head of the Paradise Valley, falling roughly 150 feet to the creekbed below. The falls are named for Sluiskin, the Yakama Indian who guided Mount Rainier’s first summit climbers, Hazard Stevens and P.B. Van Trump, to the site of their timberline base camp near the top of these falls in August 1870. Viewing Location: It is best viewed from a distance, along the lower, eastern portion of the Skyline Trail (past Myrtle Falls), and is visible from most of the Paradise area.
Wilson Glacier Falls Water Source: Wilson Glacier Waterfall Description: This impressive waterfall emerges from the Wilson Glacier, which gives the falls' its unofficial name, before falling over 300 feet into the lower portion of the Nisqually Glacier. Viewing Location: This waterfall can be viewed from a distance from several viewpoints along the Nisqually Vista, Glacier Vista, and Skyline Trails in the Paradise area.
Denman Falls Water Source: St. Andrews Creek Waterfall Description: Denman falls, named for Asahel Holmes Denman, is freefall plunge of about 140 feet. St. Andrews Creek has two additional waterfalls, Larrupin and Ethania Falls, downstream of Denman Falls, but accessing them is very difficult. Viewing Location: From the road closure at Dry Creek, hike or bike Westside Road 7.7 miles to the St. Andrews Creek trailhead. A short 0.3 mile loop trail starts on the downstream side of the road next to the bridge and leads to a viewpoint of the falls (no bicycles allowed on trails). Trees have partly obscured the view of the falls. Experience a sample of Westside Road, including Denman Falls, by watching the Mount Rainier Experience: Biking the Westside Road video.