When it comes to enjoying the great outdoors in the South Sound, there’s nothing like a visit to Mount Rainier National Park and the mesmerizing waterfalls found within the park’s 228,480 acres of wilderness. At 14,411 feet, the mighty peak with ancient volcanic origins has become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Adventure seekers can find intricate hiking trails that lead to beautiful wildflower meadows, picturesque glacial rivers, tranquil spots to enjoy wildlife watching, and of course, paths that lead to mesmerizing waterfalls that’ll make you feel as if you just stumbled upon an enchanted forest!


Myrtle Falls

Paradise Loop Road

In the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park, looming grandly over Edith Creek, is the breathtaking Myrtle Falls. The 72-foot-high waterfall, within its picturesque setting, is one of the most photographed areas of the park, with the bonus of being an easy walk to the falls themselves. The falls mark the beginning g of the short but awe-inspiring gorge Edith Creek has carved as it cascades to the Paradise Valley below.

Mount Rainier waterfalls
Within the captivating Paradise meadows, Myrtle Falls cascades 60 feet in a braided fashion, gracefully flowing into a rugged gorge, creating a breathtakingly beautiful setting within the park. Photo courtesy: Mount Rainier National Park

Onlookers can watch how the falls skip down from their summit to the jagged rocks below, starting wide and then condensing to a narrow stream at the base of the falls. Though the falls flow year-round, snow at Paradise makes them virtually inaccessible during the winter. Snow also makes them impractical to photograph for shutterbugs, as it covers the trail between November and July and is impossible to reach.

Mount Rainier waterfalls
Discover the captivating beauty of Christine Falls, where you can view the lower falls gracefully framed by the historic and arching Christine Falls Bridge, dropping 69 feet in cascades of 32 and 37 feet, though notoriously challenging to capture together in a single photograph; this hidden gem awaits along the road to Paradise. Photo courtesy: Visit Rainier – Official Mt. Rainier Organization

Christine Falls

As one of the prettiest and most easily accessible falls in Mount Rainier National Park, Christine Falls offers a charming, intimate setting for viewing the powerful cascading waters. In fact, the falls constitute one of the park’s signature views, framed by the historic, arching Christine Falls Bridge to create a picture-perfect setting that resembles a fairy tale.

The falls feature two drops from its height at 69 feet, at 32 and 37 feet, respectively, with one being above and another directly below the bridge. Unfortunately, this makes it nearly impossible to get the upper and lower tiers in the same photograph. Still, the waterfall is quite the little gem on the road to Paradise and can be found by driving 10.7 miles from the Nisqually entrance of the park; essentially being located just past the Comet Falls trailhead to a small parking area where a short set of stairs awaits leading to the falls overlook.

Mount Rainier waterfalls
While the precise timeframe remains uncertain, Spray Falls is believed to have been found around 1883 during the construction of the Bailey Willis Trail, which has since been replaced by the Spray Park trail. The name originated from the falls’ distinctive characteristics and was subsequently applied to both the creek and Spray Park. Photo credit: Bryan Swan

Spray Falls

Mowich Lake Road

Spray Falls is a must-visit on any list for explorers of Mount Rainier, as Spray Creek produces one of the largest waterfalls in the park. Flowing over the edge of a lofty cliff as it exits Spray Park, the waterfall veils down from its massive height of 354 feet, beginning as a narrow horsetail-type drop a mere ten or so feet wide and then quickly veiling outwards to a width of about 75 feet as the stream skips down a diagonally pitched portion of the outcrop. The cliff descends roughly 130 feet before gradually turning to the left, transforming into an almost vertical drop. The remaining portion of the fall deviates from its initial descent angle, widening to over 100 feet in breadth and cascading freely towards the talus slope below.

The trail to the falls is just as breathtaking as the falls themselves, with the trailhead beginning at Mowich Lake, largely considered one of the most beautiful areas of the park. The trail passes through a pristine forest, crossing many sparkling mountain streams and offering a splendid mountain view at Eagle’s Cliff. Visiting the falls is a remarkable experience that is well worth the hike!

Mount Rainier waterfalls
Embark on a journey upstream, tracing the path of a tumbling, churning, whitewater creek as it roars through a narrow gorge of glacier-polished rock, leading you to the magnificent Comet Falls — a breathtaking waterfall that plunges 301 feet in a single awe-inspiring drop. You’ll see for yourself how it got his name. Photo credit: Bryan Swan

Comet Falls

Comet Falls is the quintessential waterfall every Mount Rainier National Park visitor must witness. The majestic Van Trump Creek rushes from the edge of a high-hanging valley, cascading down in four magnificent stages, flanked by towering amphitheater cliffs made of Andesite. Initially, the falls were measured to be at a daunting 320 feet, but after a survey in 2009, it was determined that the falls were much higher, reaching a peak of 462 feet with distinctive steps throughout the drop. These steps resemble the tail of a comet during higher flow periods, ultimately earning this mesmerizing waterfall its name of Comet Falls.

Mount Rainier waterfalls
Through the old photographs, it’s easy to see how one may have believed in 1907 that Fairy Falls was one of the tallest waterfalls in Washington, but today’s measurements have only proven it is just one of the tallest in Mount Rainier. Photo courtesy: University of Washington

Fairy Falls

 The name Fairy Falls is enough to capture imaginations with promises of enchanted realms full of magic, fantasy creatures, wonder, and whimsy for those who stumble upon this epic journey. Formerly regarded as the tallest waterfall in Washington and frequently featured in lists of notable falls, its popularity grew through word of mouth. Stories of its glory, however, were greatly exaggerated as the tall tales initially claimed the waterfall was anywhere from 700 to as much as 1,000 feet tall. These days the waterfall has been more accurately recorded to have a total height of 680 feet. Needless to say, it’s not on the list of tallest waterfalls in Washington, but it’s still a list-worthy masterpiece for waterfalls to visit in Mount Rainier.

Of course, this is just a short list of many mesmerizing waterfalls cascading through Mount Rainier National Park. The park is home to over 150 waterfalls, many of which are well over 300 feet in height. Is there a favorite waterfall of yours in the park that we missed? Send us your answers to submit@southsoundtalk.com, and they might appear in our next article about the park’s mesmerizing waterfalls!