Martha Falls

Mt Rainier National Park / Stevens Canyon, Washington, USA

About Martha Falls


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2011-08-25
Date last visited: 2011-08-25

Waterfall Latitude: 46.76711
Waterfall Longitude: -121.69393

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Martha Falls was a waterfall that we got to see from a distance across Stevens Canyon on the southeastern slopes of Mt Rainier.

Even though we saw the Wonderland Trail looking tiny down along the Stevens River deep in the canyon from our vantage point, we had run out of time.

Rainier_453_08252011 - The full drop of Martha Falls as seen from the Stevens Canyon Road
The full drop of Martha Falls as seen from the Stevens Canyon Road

So we weren’t about to go for a long walk going into the canyon to get to the waterfall’s base and then climb back out with darkness looming.

Despite the very distant look-but-don’t-touch view of the Martha Falls, we could appreciate its height as well as its context.

I actually think the named part of the falls only referred to its last tier, where Unicorn Creek looked like it plunged maybe 125ft in the shadowy depths of the canyon.

I’m sure the Wonderland Trail down below would’ve yielded much more satisfying views of this bottom tier alone as well as other waterfalls, but we can’t really say more about it since we didn’t do it.

Rainier_450_08252011 - Focused on the final plunge of Martha Falls as seen from Stevens Canyon Road
Focused on the final plunge of Martha Falls as seen from Stevens Canyon Road

Getting the full view you see at the top of this page required me to walk along the Stevens Canyon Road until most of the cascade revealed itself.

This required some caution since there wasn’t much space on the miniscule shoulder of the road, which became an issue when cars were passing by.

The official pullout with some signage about glaciers only revealed an angled view of the bottom tier of Martha Falls.

It was far less satisfying than the view you see at the top of this page.

Authorities

Martha Falls resides in Mt Rainier National Park near Puyallup in Pierce County, Washington. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Rainier_468_08252011 - View of Mt Rainier from 'The Bench'
Rainier_454_08252011 - Context of the Martha Falls as seen across Stevens Canyon
Rainier_457_08252011 - Another look at the Martha Falls from a different angle as seen along Stevens Canyon Road
Rainier_458_08252011 - Context of the Martha Falls as seen from the spot where I took the photo at the top of this page
Rainier_465_08252011 - Looking down at the Wonderland Trail deep in Stevens Canyon
Rainier_466_08252011 - Zoomed in on what I believe is the true Martha Falls, which was the last tier of the cascade
Rainier_485_08252011 - Zoomed in on what I think is Fairy Falls, located between Reflection Lakes and 'The Bench'
Rainier_502_08252011 - Mt Rainier partially reflected in one of the Reflection Lakes

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The pullouts for Martha Falls are about two miles east of what Gregory Plumb (author of the Pacific Northwest Waterfalls book we used) called “The Bench,” which is a hairpin turn leading into Stevens Canyon or about four miles west of Box Canyon.

Plumb notes that it’s possible to access the Wonderland Trail 0.8 miles north of “The Bench” on the east side of the road.

We’ll have to try this option next time.

As for geographical context, the Nisqually Entrance of Mt Rainier was 86 miles (supposedly under 2 hours drive) from Seattle and 50 miles (supposedly a little over an hour drive) from Puyallup. Of course with all the traffic restrictions and traffic lights, the reality was that it took at least 30-60 minutes more than what I’m quoting above.

Fixated on the distant lower falls in motion before zooming out and revealing its full context. This was from the official pullout.


Top down sweep of falls starting with a peak then ending at its partial base with the sound of car whizzing by.

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Tagged with: mt rainier, mount rainier, national park, stevens canyon, washington, waterfall, lewis, the bench, box canyon, wonderland trail



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Martha Falls November 15, 2012 10:21 pm by Ronald Grant - For a long time Martha Falls really confused me. I had taken pictures from a pullout on the Stevens Canyon highway and from the wonderland trail. The two groups of pictures were definately not the same falls. I finally got returned to that pullout, walked along the shoulder for a ways (100 Yds.?) and got… ...Read More

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