hike: Silver Falls at Mount Rainier

Hike through a lush forest next to the scenic Ohanapecosh River – the jade green water of the river plunges through rocky gorges with several waterfalls along the way, including the majestic Silver Falls.

distance: 3 miles (roundtrip)
elevation gain: 600 ft.
difficulty: easy
drive time from Portland: 3 hours
parking pass: National Park Pass
hike description: WTA: Silver Falls hike

The Hike

While camping at the Ohanapecosh campground, we spent a day exploring and hiking next to the Ohanapecosh River. According to the Washington Trails Association, the name Ohanapecosh comes from the name of a Native American village that once existed along the river and is believed to mean “standing at the edge”.

From the day use parking area near loop B (by the visitor center) at the campground, cross the bridge over the river and turn right onto the Silver Falls trail. The lower elevation forest here is so pretty… full of moss, salal and vine maples in the tall conifer understory.

Mount Rainier National Park - Silver Falls hike Mount Rainier National Park - Silver Falls hike Mount Rainier National Park - Silver Falls hike

The Ohanapecosh River is the highlight of this hike… with multiple waterfalls, narrow rocky gorges, and jade green water.

Mount Rainier National Park - Silver Falls hike

Several short side trails lead to riverside viewpoints and are good for snack breaks along the hike.

Mount Rainier National Park - Silver Falls hikeMount Rainier National Park - Silver Falls hike

Silver Falls cascades down several rocky chutes before plunging into a deep pool.

Mount Rainier National Park - Silver Falls hike Mount Rainier National Park - Silver Falls hike Mount Rainier National Park - Silver Falls hike

To finish the loop, we crossed the bridge near Silver Falls and hiked on the eastern side of the trail that leads to the Ohanapecosh Hot Springs. The pools of water at the hot springs aren’t much to look at, but they are definitely interesting. There was steam rising off the water where the spring comes out of the ground. The water was warm, not hot… and it smelled like sulfur. The trail passed several more shallow hot spring pools before ending at the Visitors Center.

Mount Rainier National Park - Ohanapecosh camping trip