Washington state is well-known for its beautiful natural landscapes, from snow-capped mountains to sprawling forests. One of the most breathtaking sights in the state is Myrtle Falls, a stunning waterfall nestled in the heart of Mount Rainier National Park. If you're planning a trip to Washington, visiting Myrtle Falls should be at the top of your list.
Situated in the Paradise area of the national park, the falls are easily accessible from Paradise Inn via the Skyline Trail.
Myrtle Falls: At a Glance
Location: Paradise, Mt. Rainier National Park
Coordinates: 46.7867, -121.7347
Closest Town: Ashford, Washington
Elevation: 5,515 feet
Stream: Edith Creek
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Family Friendly: Yes.
Location and Access
Myrtle Falls is located in the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park, which is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Seattle.
To get to the falls, you can park at the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center and take a short, easy hike on the Myrtle Falls Trail. The trail is only 0.3 miles long and is suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Along the way, you'll enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and forests.
Hiking to Myrtle Falls
The hike to Myrtle Falls is very straightforward and quite short. It's family-friendly and shouldn't pose an issue for most visitors.
The trail is 0.8 miles long and starts from behind Paradise Inn. It goes straight back into the woods before joining the Skyline Trail headed right (northeast). You'll follow this trail for 0.2 miles before turning right towards the Myrtle Falls Viewpoint. Take the trail back the same way you came to get back to Paradise Inn.
At the end of the trail, you'll be greeted by the sight of Myrtle Falls. The waterfall is 72 feet tall and cascades down a rocky cliff into a small pool below. The water is crystal clear and reflects the surrounding trees and sky, creating a picturesque scene. The best time to visit the falls is in the late spring and early summer when the snow has melted, and the waterfall is at its strongest. The area is closed in the summer due to the amount of snow that Paradise gets.
Things to Do Nearby
Hiking: The park has over 260 miles of trails that offer breathtaking views of the mountain, alpine meadows, waterfalls, and forests. Some popular trails include the Wonderland Trail, Skyline Trail, and the Comet Falls Trail.
Wildlife watching: The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, deer, black bears, and mountain goats. Visitors can spot them along the trails, at designated viewpoints, or take a guided tour.
Scenic drives: The park has several scenic drives that offer spectacular views of the mountain and surrounding landscapes, including the Sunrise and Paradise areas.
Camping: There are several campgrounds throughout the park, including some that are open year-round. Reservations are recommended, especially during peak season.
Winter activities: During the winter months, visitors can enjoy activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and sledding.
The Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park is home to several other stunning falls that are worth checking out. Here are a few of the nearby waterfalls you might want to visit:
Comet Falls: Located on the south side of Mount Rainier, Comet Falls is a towering 320-foot waterfall that plunges into a rocky canyon. To get there, you'll need to take the Comet Falls Trail, which is a moderately strenuous hike that's about 3.8 miles round trip.
Narada Falls: Just a short drive from Paradise, Narada Falls is a popular stop for visitors to Mount Rainier National Park. The waterfall drops 168 feet and is easily accessible from a viewing platform near the parking lot.
Christine Falls: Another nearby waterfall that's easily accessible from the road, Christine Falls is a picturesque cascade that drops 69 feet into a small pool. You can view the falls from a stone bridge that spans the river or take a short hike to get a closer look.
Carter Falls and Madcap Falls: For a more challenging hike, consider the Carter Falls and Madcap Falls Trail. This 5.5-mile round-trip hike takes you through old-growth forests and past two beautiful waterfalls – Carter Falls and Madcap Falls.
Tips for Visiting
To make the most of your visit to Myrtle Falls, here are a few tips:
Wear comfortable shoes suitable for hiking on uneven terrain
Bring plenty of water and snacks
Check the weather forecast before you go, and dress in layers
Don't forget your camera to capture the stunning scenery
This campground is located within the park and offers 188 campsites, including tent and RV sites. It is open from mid-May to early October and offers amenities such as flush toilets, potable water, and a picnic area.
Cougar Rock Campground
Another campground located within the park, Cougar Rock offers 173 campsites, including tent and RV sites. It is open from mid-May to late September and offers amenities such as flush toilets, potable water, and a picnic area.
La Wis Wis Campground
Located in the nearby Gifford Pinchot National Forest, this campground offers 27 campsites, including tent and RV sites. It is open from mid-May to mid-September and offers amenities such as vault toilets and potable water.