Martha Falls is one of the more easily admired waterfalls in Mount Rainier National Park, though many, if not most visitors fail to grasp the true size of the falls. Dropping out of the basin containing Snow Lake, Unicorn Creek plunges and slides approximately 670 feet into Stevens Canyon in 12 major drops, depending on how you break it up. The first fall plunges about 55 feet but is very difficult to see. This is followed shortly by two smaller tiers about 15 and 20 feet each. The next fall is an eye-catching fan shaped drop of about 85 feet, which is then followed by a series of four smaller cascading falls which total about 65 feet in height. As the creek approaches the Wonderland Trail, it veils down back-to-back-to-back tiers of 55, 35 and 60 feet. After passing under the bridge the creek disappears into the dark forest, crashing down a narrow flume and culminating in the final drop, a shimmering, powerful free-falling plunge of 145 feet. Because this series of falls occurs over a run of stream roughly one-quarter mile in length, there is some ancillary elevation change between each tier which makes up the remainder of the total 670 foot loss in elevation between the top and bottom of the falls.
Unfortunately, the entire falls cannot be seen collectively, due to the twisting nature of the gorge and the thick woods surrounding it. The final 145 foot plunge, as well as the trailside drop can be seen very easily. Most of the middle slides and cascades can be seen from the Stevens Canyon Road, but walking along the side of the road is necessary in order to be able to take pictures as there are no pullouts where the views are. The uppermost sections of the falls can be partially seen from a few places, but there isn't anywhere easily accessible to see them clearly. Despite all this Martha Falls is one of the best falls in the region, one of the taller falls in the state, and easily one of the most scenic in the park.
- Martha Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
Martha Falls was named in the late 1880's for Martha Longmire, wife of Elcaine Longmire, by her son Ben Longmire. The Longmire Mineral Springs resort was owned and operated by the family before the park was created.
Located in Stevens Canyon, between Paradise and Box Canyon, within Mount Rainier National Park. To reach the trailside portion of the falls, drive east on SR 706 for about 1/2 of a mile from The Bench (the extremely sharp hairpin turn in the road) or about 5 1/2 miles west from Box Canyon, to the Wonderland Trail. Follow the trail downhill for a long 2/3 of a mile to a bridge crossing Unicorn Creek, with the falls upstream. To see the rest of the falls, keep driving another 1/2 mile down Stevens Canyon to the Martha Falls viewpoint. It's unsigned, so watch for the falls across the canyon, and the large pullout with an interpretive sign.