Silver Falls Hike in Mt. Rainier National Park

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011 is the day summer officially arrived in the Pacific Northwest.  At least, that’s the way we see it! 

Our nephew was visiting from Texas, so we decided to take him on one of our favorite hikes in the Ohanapecosh area of the Park (about 20-25 minutes south of here).  When we arrived at the trailhead, the car thermometer registered a comfortable 75 degrees, making it a perfect day to explore. 

Silver Falls is the largest volume waterfall in Mt. Rainier National Park and, like all the waterfalls out here this time of year, it’s wonderful to visit it in the spring.  The hike is an easy 1-mile roundtrip hike from the parking area at the Stevens Canyon entrance, or a steeper .6 mile hike roundtrip from a small parking area on Highway 410.  It’s an easy hike for all ages, although parents (of course) will want to keep a firm grip on younger children as you get closer to the Falls.

To Native Americans, Ohanapecosh means “looking down on something beautiful” or “clear water”, and Silver Falls definitely embodies these ideas.  The Ohanapecosh River is ridiculously, incredibly, radiantly clear (enough adjectives for you?) and its color is reminiscent of a Caribbean sea.  Most other rivers in Mt. Rainier National Park that originate at glaciers carry silt (making them cloudy), but not the Ohanapecosh River. 

The first part of the Silver Falls trail is quiet, through old-growth forest, with the sounds of small streams.  The Ohanapecosh River all of a sudden starts to get louder, until you come around a corner, with a viewpoint, where the sound of the Silver Falls is deafening!  If you go a little further, you’ll cross a bridge with beautiful views through a canyon down to the river, and more panoramic views of the Falls (great photo spot). 

The trail is completely snow-free now and it’s in great shape!  Check out our photos below and then make plans to visit us soon.  The forecast is calling for more sun this weekend!!