Myrtle Falls gave us that rare opportunity to photograph a waterfall in front of Mt Rainier – Washington’s most iconic mountain. I had to believe that it was for this reason alone that the falls was very popular.
This was especially the case considering that it seemed every visitor to Mt Rainier would visit Paradise (i.e. the touristy part of the park). So it wasn’t surprising to us when we saw how busy the trail was even within the limited space at its overlook. It turned out that everyone at the overlook took turns taking their shots then moving aside so the next person could get their shots.
The trail was on a well-signposted 0.3-mile paved walk from the stairs leaving the Paradise Inn entrance area to the viewpoint you see at the top of this page. A signpost near a three-pronged fork in the trail pointed the way right to a short descent leading to the viewpoint of both the falls, a footbridge above it, and Mt Rainier (on a clear day, of course).
When I walked this paved path, I realized that this waterfall wasn’t the only reason to go for a walk in this area. There were also numerous other trails branching out from the Paradise Inn area leading to other waterfalls such as Sluiskin Falls as well as viewpoints and access to the Nisqually Glacier. And just about all of these trails yielded views of the rounded snowy top of Mt Rainier, especially on the mostly clear day that Julie and I happened to be fortunate to experience. There were also views of the Paradise River below as well as some jagged mountains surrounding the Paradise vicinity.
If we had more time to explore this part of the park, we very easily could have taken one of the longer walks and really experience this bustling place. Unfortunately, since we were on a day trip from Seattle, we couldn’t devote more time here and really do this area justice. So I guess we’ll have to come back here when our child would be old enough to appreciate this stuff and perhaps base ourselves in the Mt Rainier area instead of Seattle.
This waterfall is best accessed from the paved walkway just up the steps in front of the Paradise Inn.
The Paradise area is about 15 miles east of the Nisqually Entrance. For more details on the directions to the Nisqually Entrance, see the Comet Falls page.
You’ll have to find parking at the Paradise Inn area, which very frequently gets full (so parking could be just as frustrating as finding parking at Pike’s Market in Seattle‘s waterfront during the day). I recalled that we had to make two long loops when we thought we could’ve parked along the 3-mile one-way road that loops to the east of Paradise Inn. However, signs prohibited it even though we did see some cars parked there meaning those people must’ve walked back to the Paradise area from those spots.
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.
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