The Top 10 Best Washington Waterfalls List is where we share our favorite waterfall experiences in the Evergreen State. We also show you how to visit each of the entries on this list.
Julie and I have been on a handful of trips to the state of Washington. Therefore, we feel that we have enough of a library of waterfalling experiences to put together such a list that is both meaningful and useful.
Unlike our list in the neighboring state of Oregon where the Columbia River Gorge had a large concentration of waterfalls, the ones we found in the state of Washington were all over the place.
Case in point, we have a comprehensive page of all the waterfalls in Washington that we’ve visited and provided write-ups for, which includes a waterfall map so you can see how the falls are distributed. Indeed, we scattered about from locales like the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to the Olympic Peninsula to the Northern Cascades as well as Mt Rainier.
In any case, we stuck with our convention that we only consider waterfalls that we’ve personally visited. And as always, this list will certainly change as we continue to make more visits.
So without further ado, here are the Top 10 Washington Waterfalls in reverse order…
Just barely squeezing into our list of Washington’s best waterfalls, this was the southernmost of the waterfalls in the state that made it.
We actually made our visit as we did the long drive from the Columbia River Gorge to the Windy Ridge section of Mt St Helens via the Wind River Road.
And as you can see from the photo, this 250ft waterfall in two main tiers impressed us with both its size and its rather unique shape.
Plus, our visit didn’t feel crowded (especially compared to the more convenient attractions in the Columbia River Gorge) so the overall experience just felt right.
Thus, we had no problems putting this waterfall on our top 10 list of best Washington Waterfalls.
Julie considered this wide 241ft waterfall on the slopes of Mt Rainier as her favorite one in the park.
In addition to its convenience (as it sat almost roadside), our visit happened to yield a bold bright rainbow across its misty base.
And after doing a relentlessly uphill hike for one of the other waterfalls on this list, I think Julie relished the fact that we witnessed such a pleasing waterfall without the big effort to access.
So adding it all up, this waterfall certainly belonged on our list of the top 10 best waterfalls in Washington State.
This waterfall was really three waterfalls on a single hike.
Situated almost directly to the east of Everett near the town of Gold Bar, I found myself enjoying the thick evergreen forest in classic Cascades scenery.
Each of the waterfalls also exhibited differing characteristics. So all the stops to along the way to the uppermost waterfall definitely ensured that I didn’t have a dull moment on the five-mile round-trip hike.
The main waterfall (pictured here) was actually the middle waterfall, which boasted a 260ft drop. The uppermost waterfall had a pair of drops at over 100ft total.
Putting it all together, I just had to place this series of waterfalls on our list of Washington’s best.
Easily the most popular waterfall in the state of Washington (due to its close proximity to Seattle), we couldn’t deny its power and accessibility.
Indeed, with a 268ft drop and enough force to toss up mist all the way back up the gorge, the Puget Sound Power and Light Company definitely made use of that power.
Just imagine how much wilder this waterfall would perform without the regulation!
Nevertheless, it felt like every time we visit relatives and friends in Seattle, we have to make an obligatory stop here.
Thus, no list of the Evergreen state’s top waterfalls would be complete without it.
Of the waterfalls that sit on our Top 10 Washington Waterfalls List, this one really ticked Julie’s boxes.
It had the healthy volume, the naturesque settings, and the width along with the height to make it perhaps the only block-type waterfall on this list.
Over the years, this waterfall sitting in the Lewis River Recreation Area had gotten so popular that the authorities have now implemented a permit reservation system to control the visitor numbers and associated impacts.
And after finally being able to witness this place for ourselves, we can see why, especially since it doesn’t require a long walk to experience it.
In fact, I was quite tempted to extend my visit to check out the many other waterfalls on the Lewis River in addition to this one, and I’m chomping at the bit for that chance to come back and do so…
Like What You See So Far?
This could very well be the youngest waterfall on our list of the Top 10 Washington Waterfalls because it was born after the May 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens.
Aptly-named Loowit, which is what the Klickitat people have named what we know as Mt St Helens, this waterfall sits right in the blast zone of this temperamental volcano in the heart of the Cascade Range.
It goes to show you that even in the wake of such awesome and destructive forces that Nature can dish out, it can also display rugged beauty.
While the most attentive visitors to Mt St Helens might notice this waterfall from the Windy Ridge Viewpoint or from the shores of Spirit Lake, to really get intimate with this waterfall, you have to go on a long hike in the heart of the recovering landscape after that fateful eruption.
I can’t think of a more atmospheric experience than this one, and thus I had to give this waterfall its props by putting it on our top 10 list of Washington’s best.
Of all the waterfalls on our list of Washington’s best, this one probably had the most unusual shape.
In fact, it could very well only be rivaled in its eccentric shape by the even more eccentric and remote Union Falls in Yellowstone National Park.
That said, this waterfall nestled deep in a remote part of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest sitting between Mt St Helens, Mt Adams, and Mt Rainier required a real adventure to get to.
Case in point, there is no maintained trail to get here, and I had to endure a rather puzzling (and scary) traverse of Walupt Creek, which ran more like a river than a creek when I did this scramble.
That said, the reward for the uncertainty of outcome and risk for such an excursion is an experience that I haven’t felt in a while considering such places are typically reserved for the most determined and most prepared of waterfallers.
I guess it’s just that combination of all things good, bad, and ugly about it that made this waterfall so memorable, and oh yeah, it definitely held its own in the scenery department.
And thus, I just had to put this waterfall on our list of favorites from Washington.
This plunging 320ft waterfall made us earn it with a pretty relentless uphill hike.
At least throughout most of the climb, we witnessed many cascades on Van Trump Creek.
With the bounty of waterfalls on this hike alone, we definitely had to make sure to not prematurely turn around at the uppermost of the Van Trump Falls.
For once we finally made it to this towering monster, we happened to time our visit perfectly for a bold bright rainbow along with the contrast of clear blue skies.
To extend our visit, we could have sweated even more to get up to an alpine meadow upstream of this waterfall. Still, the falls itself provided enough endorphins for the good vibes so we had no issues placing it near the top of our list of Washington’s best.
As you can see from the photo, I had to place this nearly 300ft mammoth waterfall high up on this list given its size as well as its unique twisting shape.
Even though it shared the same reserve and political boundaries as other waterfalls on this list, I actually had to visit the more remote north-face of Mt Rainier near Mowich Lake to get here.
The hike itself featured teasing glimpses of the imposing glacier-covered slopes of Mt Rainier as well as jumbles of hexagonal blocks of basalt that have flaked from the volcano over the years.
In order to get the view you see here, I also had to cross a swollen Spray Creek, which experienced unusually Spring-like conditions in mid-August of 2011.
Even the wildflowers bloomed in full force at the Spray Park alpine meadow further upstream of this waterfall.
Indeed, taking all these things together, this waterfall definitely belonged near the top of our top 10 list of best Washington Waterfalls.
Of all the waterfalls on this list, none had quite the raw and wild scenery as this gushing 180ft waterfall.
During our visit, the desolate surroundings and deep gorge cut by the Palouse River reminded me very much of the kind of scenery I would have expected to find in Iceland.
Plus, we managed to enjoy the waterfall from a variety of viewing angles, including a scary edge-on view from the so-called “Mohawk” just above the waterfall’s brink.
Given all the special characteristics this waterfall had going for it, I had to crown our list of Top 10 Best Washington Waterfalls with this one.
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