Just outside of Mount Rainier lays the most amazing short hike. Kids can even have fun on this one. Just be sure to hold onto the littles hands when you get close to the falls. The water is deep and moving fast. Least this time of year. The views are breathtaking. I think this hike has now made my top ten most favorite that I have done around Mount Rainier.
Its approximately four and a half miles if you do the loop. And I suggest you park near the visitor center and follow the river to the right, rather than going over the river and getting the trail. But depending on if you want to go up on your hike or go down would determine which way you would start the loop. Turning before the river and hiking counter clockwise you would do the hike mostly hiking down (easier for kids). Go over the river and turn doing the hike clockwise you would be doing a good majority of the hike going up. And it is UP. We parked at the visitor center and hiked counter clock wise.
Again we had our girls with us. Well two of them anyways. The other was hanging out with Grandma. The hike was well marked. Lots to see. The hot springs were fun. They were actually hot. And not super hot, but maybe tap water all the way up hot. Our youngest thought the hot water out of the earth was cool. Plenty of mushrooms and fungus to see. Lots of little creeks and bridges to go over. The Ohanapeacosh River was in view almost the entire view of the hike up to the falls.
The river was a bright turquoise. Was absolutely breath taking. The water was so clear. It was extremely tranquil to look at the water through the trees. Continuing our walk the sound of water was getting louder. How we knew we were closure to the falls. We went around a bend in the trail and were met with a clear view of the falls. Maybe 20 feet tall. The water rushed over the edge and was met at a tight bottle neck of a canyon. At which you cross over a wooden foot bridge. Looking down the water was so deep and SO blue. I didn’t want to leave. The colors were amazing. The contrast of the blue off the moss on the rocks was just breathtaking. Stopped here on the trail for a snack and to take in the sights. Seen a few other groups pass through. But overall it wasn’t a busy day on the trail.
Continuing on we stopped one more time at another view spot of the falls before returning to the forest where we eventually lost the view of the river. The hike got to some pretty thick forest. Gets a tad cliffy in spots. Also some marshy areas where you can see some skunk cabbage that has already bloomed for the year. We were coming up on another hiker who was nice enough to point out an owl perched out on a branch in the distance. So glad I had my long lens for the camera. Was able to snap a few awesome shots of him.
Just after we saw the owl our walk started to gradually go down in elevation. Watch your footing. Lots of rocks poking up through the dirt and roots shooting across the trail. I advise having trekking poles. I managed to trip a few times. Thankfully just small stumbles. Wasn’t after long we had made it back to being able to see the river knowing our walk was almost over when the bridge came into view at the camp ground.
Looks as if the Ohanapeacosh campground would be a great place to camp. But unfortunately camping wasn’t open do to the pandemic. Aside from the Silver Falls loop there was plenty of hiking options. The Pacific Crest Trail wasn’t far. Indian Bar also not far. Grove of the Patriarchs was also not far, another amazing trail for the kids I might add. The visitor center I believe on an ordinary day had a lot to offer with a ranger to educate. But again with the pandemic it wasn’t open when we visited. Planning on returning when the falls are able to slow a bit so the view gets to change some and maybe by then things will be more open and we can see the visitor center and maybe camp.