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10 Best Waterfall Hikes In Washington, USA

waterfall hikes in washington
Maui
Maui
Updated

If you’re asked to list down three reasons to visit Washington, keep in mind culture, history, and the food scene. You can always add cherry blossoms to your list if you’ll visit the state in springtime. There is so much to see and so many things to do in Washington: learn all about American history through historical monuments and memorials, visit the White House, US Congress and other attractions in Capitol Hill. Be sure to admire Washington’s topnotch landscapes including its magnificent mountains. If you’ll take a trip with nature, try hiking trails on paths that lead to the most scenic and spectacular waterfalls. Hikers who frequent waterfalls often say that photographs are not enough to capture the beauty. Appreciate the surroundings including forests, landscapes and even the moss. Whenever you go waterfall hiking, make sure to carry the appropriate gear. Scroll down to read about the top waterfall hikes in Washington, USA.

1. Palouse Falls

Palouse Falls
Source: Photo by user Dsdugan used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Washington’s state waterfalls, the Palouse Falls, has an elevation of 234 meters (768 feet) and a height of 6 meters (20 feet). Local residents and tourists come to see the view of these falls that were carved more than 13,000 years ago. It is one of the few remaining active waterfalls on the Ice Age path. The park also serves as a tent-only camping site for visitors and birdwatchers. Once at the park, visitors can enjoy three different viewpoints of the falls depending on the trail path you follow. It is advised that visitors and hikers stick to the official trails. Some parts of the trail would require traversing a rock wall so be sure to take precautions. Always go only when it is safe, from the months of May to October.

Palouse Falls

Address: Palouse Falls Rd, LaCrosse, WA 99143, United States

Website: Palouse State Park

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2. Lewis River Falls

Lower Lewis River Falls-Gifford Pinchot (23934375705)
Source: Photo by user U.S. Forest Servi... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

For those in the area looking for an easy waterfall hike, proceed to the Lewis River Falls. The trailhead is about 14 miles (23 km) from Road 25, located in the Lower Falls Recreation Area. Hikers can take any of the used paths to go down to the trail. If you plan to hike the entire length of the trail, it is advised to begin at the lower trailhead for Curly Creek Falls and hike north, or go to the Quartz Creek Trailhead and hike south. There are many wonders to see along the trail, including fir and cedar trees, wildflowers, and forest trees like pinesap, coralroot and gnome plant. The fall itself has a height of 13 meters (43 feet) and spans 60 meters (200 feet). The best view of the riverbed can be seen from Middle Lewis Falls that is a combination of a waterfall and cascading waters along the bedrock. Hiking upstream will lead to the Upper Lewis River Falls.

Lewis River Falls

Address: Cougar, WA 98616, United States

Website: Lewis River Falls

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3. Myrtle Falls

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Myrtle Falls</div>
Source: Photo by user Dana Hutchinson used under CC BY 3.0

Myrtle Falls is located just about half a mile from the Mt. Rainier National Park’s Paradise Inn visitor center, if you take the paved trail. It takes about 30 minutes to hike the entire length of the trail which has a slightly steep incline. Still, it’s a nice walk going to the falls that are also kid-friendly. The trail is paved so strollers and wheelchairs are allowed on the trail. Tourists and visitors are sure not to miss the opportunity to photograph Myrtle Falls with Washington’s most iconic mountain as the backdrop. Aside from the path to the waterfalls, other trails branching from the Paradise Inn visitors area would lead to other viewpoints of scenic spots like Sluiskin Falls and Nisqually Glacier.

Myrtle Falls

Address: Ashford, WA 98304, United States

Website: Myrtle Falls

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4. Fall Creek Falls

Falls Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States. This scenic wonder of nature is located at one of Tennessee’s busiest state parks. It would take about 4 miles (6.4 km) to traverse back and forth to the falls but don’t fret because the trails to are well maintained. Hikers can take either short or long walks around the lake going to the base of Fall Creek Falls. Adventure-seekers can opt for the long-distance overnight trail. More than 56 miles (90 km) of trails can be explored. Located in the vicinity of the state park are 30 cabins and more than 200 campsites. Backcountry camping is also available with permit.

Fall Creek Falls

Address: NF-3062, Carson, WA 98610, United States

Website: Fall Creek Falls Trailhead

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5. Spray Waterfall

Spray Falls at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington 1
Source: Photo by user Jeffhollett used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This spot is an ideal choice for day trips because the entire distance of the hike to Spray Falls is just a little more than 7 miles (11 km). The trail goes both up and down but it is not too strenuous. Spray Creek produces one of the largest waterfalls in Mount Rainier National Park as it flows over the edge of a lofty cliff at a drop of 108 meters (354-feet). Water from the falls shoots out of a narrow outlet and sprays out into a mist, hence its name, Spray Creek. This location is also the second tallest most accessible falls in the park. The hiking trail begins at the Mowich Lake Campground and leads to two destinations; Spray Falls and the more elevated Spray Park. Spot for bears as they are commonly seen near the base of the mountain. This nice trail with just a few tricky spots can cater to visitors as young as 6 years old and as old as 70.

Spray Waterfall

Address: Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington, United States

Website: Spray Waterfall

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6. Panther Creek Falls

Panther Creek Falls
Source: Photo by user Matthew P. Del Buono used under CC BY-SA 3.0

It will only take a short hike to reach the Panther Creek Falls that’s inside the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in the Gorge region. The out and back trail to the fall is less than half a mile round trip. Only a few seem to know about this location because it is a hiker-only spot. This 40-meter (130 ft.) unique waterfall is considered a hidden gem of the forest. The hike itself can be overwhelming as it offers a great view of different combinations of waterfalls, a hanging garden and rich colors of moss. The hike to the base of the waterfalls is very steep and slippery even for more advanced hikers. A hike to Panther Creek can be coupled with a hike to the nearby Fall Creek Falls.

Panther Creek Falls

Address: NF-65, Carson, WA 98610, United States

Website: Panther Creek Falls

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7. Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls WA
Source: Photo by user Heptazane used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Bridal Veil Falls is located in the Central Cascades and it is described as a beautiful waterfall that flows out of Lake Serene and cascades down the 30-meter (100-foot) rock formation in the wall of Mount Index. The out and back hike will take you through the woods and a few streams and creek crossings, so be sure to use appropriate gear and shoes. The trail starts off easy as it follows a clear road through the forest. Some parts of the trail are uneven and rocky while in some parts, there are steps to help in the elevation gain. The trail gets pretty busy during summer weekends.

Bridal Veil Falls

Address: Central Cascades – Stevens Pass - West

Website: Bridal Veil Falls

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8. Silver Falls and Hot Springs

MRNP — Silver Falls (9885906623)
Source: Photo by user Steven Smith used under CC BY 2.0

The tallest cascade in the southeast side of Mt. Rainier is the Silver Falls, a 27-meter (90-foot) series of drops ending in a 12-meter (40-foot) plunge. This location is not to be missed when hiking waterfalls in Washington. The trip will be worthwhile once you reach the destination and have a clear view of the falls. Along the way, hikers will pass through the dense conifer forest, making the hike along the river seem magical. What’s more to like about hiking Silver Falls is that it isn’t as crowded as the other trails.

Silver Falls and Hot Springs

Address: Mt. Rainer National Park, Washington, USA

Website: Silver Falls Loop

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9. Rocky Brook Falls

Rocky Brook Falls
Source: Photo by user Karen Blaha used under CC BY-SA 2.0

It would take a very short walk to see the amazing Rocky Brook Falls in Brinnon. The out and back trail along the creek is suitable for all skill levels. Families and even kids will enjoy the scenic view leading to the falls. Visitors are advised to go from March until October when the weather is good. Dogs are allowed on the trail but they must be kept on a leash.

Rocky Brook Falls

Address: 2405 Dosewallips Rd, Brinnon, WA 98320, United States

Website: Rocky Brook Falls

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10. Marymere Falls (from USD 70.0)

Marymere Falls is a two-hour drive from Port Townsend. It is a part of the Olympic National Park. Water from the falls cascade from the source Aurora ridge down to the creek at a drop of 27 meters (90 feet). Marymere has a well-maintained trail that cuts through a forest of old-growth trees, sword ferns and carpets of moss. The trail crosses Barnes Creek and Falls Creek before ascending into a mossy, fern-laden path. The trail offers two views of the falls; one on the hillside and another on the lower platform. Walking sticks and handrails can aid during the hike.

Lake Crescent and Marymere Falls Guided Tour in Olympic National Park

Duration: 4 hours

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Bask in the beauty of nature

Take your time to bask in the beauty of nature. After enjoying the awesome view and natural attractions, be sure to leave with gratitude and don’t ever leave any trash along the trail. Always be mindful of the leave-no-trace law when visiting or planning to visit these waterfalls. Always maintain your outdoor ethics to help promote and conserve these spots.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Maui Hermitanio is a Manila-based content writer. She is most interested in writing about international cuisines, popular food stops, and destinations with beaches and outdoor sceneries. She has...Read more

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