5 Waterfall Hikes for your Washington Road Trip
By Emily Butterfield
Washington has an abundance of natural, beautiful scenery, outdoor adventures, and wet weather too. It’s nicknamed the Evergreen State for a reason – forests of evergreen trees like Douglas fir and Sitka spruce thrive in the state’s wet, temperate environment. This same soggy environment also helps feed thousands of waterfalls. Rain or shine, there’s always a waterfall to explore in Washington. Here are some amazing waterfall hikes for your Washington road trip, whether you’re traveling by car or campervan.
Sol Duc Falls
A quintessential hike in Olympic National Park, this short hike is packed with beauty. Walk through the moss-filled, old-growth forest and across a wooden bridge overlooking a gorge for views of Sol Duc Falls. Depending on the time of year, the falls cascade into several channels through the canyon.
Location: Olympic National Park near Port Angeles
Distance: 1.6 miles
Height: 48 feet
This short, family-friendly hike is a great trail for exploring the eastern side of Mt. Rainier National Park. Although you won’t get views of the mountain, there’s plenty of beautiful scenery along the way. The easy trail winds along the Ohahapecosh River to a bridge with striking views of the blue-hued cascading falls.
Location: Mt. Rainier National Park, Ohanapecosh area
Distance: 3-mile loop
Height: 40 feet
There are many impressive waterfalls along this popular trail – most notably the lower, middle and upper Wallace Falls. The scenic trail leads to overlooks of each falls (some argue the middle falls offer the best views) along the Wallace River. On the trail, you can catch glimpses of the nearby mountain peaks, the lush Skykomish River Valley and towering evergreen trees.
Location: Wallace Falls State Park, Gold Bar
Distance: 5.6 miles
Height: 240 feet, 367 feet, 265 feet
This hike follows the bursting Van Trump Creek that carves through a rocky, colorful gorge. Along the way, you’ll gain some elevation as you pass several small waterfalls in the canopy-covered forest. Make your way up the final switchbacks for expansive views of the towering Comet Falls.
Location: Mt. Rainier National Park, Longmire area
Distance: 3.8 miles
Height: 300 feet
This family-favorite hike is popular with locals because it’s just a short drive from Seattle. The well-maintained trail follows the South Fork Snoqualmie River through old-growth forest and up several sets of stairs. You’ll make your way to several overlooks for great views of the upper and lower falls. Get there early on the weekends for the best chance at snagging a parking spot.
Location: Olallie State Park, North Bend
Distance: 2.6 miles
Height: 70 feet