With a total drop of around 1,350 feet Margaret Falls is the tallest waterfall in the southern half of Washington State, sliding and veiling down the side of Cowlitz Canyon in six distinct sections. The falls begin by skipping down back-to-back horsetail style drops of about 75 and 340 feet from the meadows of Cowlitz Park. At the bottom of these two tiers the stream cascades about 100 feet down a narrow canyon before pitching into the largest tier, a 715-foot tall hourglass-shaped horsetailing fall which begins gradually and becomes steeper towards the bottom, ending in a free-fall. Two final drops of 105 and 25 feet see the creek resuming a more gradual course through the morainal debris left in the wake of the Cowlitz Glacier, and then shortly after the creek merges with the fledgling Cowlitz River about a mile downstream from the toe of its sourcing glacier.
The basin which drains into Margaret Falls is at a high enough elevation that it retains the winter's snowfall deep into the summer months, ensuring the falls flow well all year long (when not frozen during the winter that is), but as there does not appear to be any permanent ice feeding the falls, the volume of water present in the stream will decrease significantly from the early summer months to the autumn months.
- Margaret Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
Margaret Falls was named after Margaret Hall, daughter of the first superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park Edward S. Hall. The falls appeared on maps published around 1914 and were photographed by both A.H. Barnes and R.L. Glisan around 1907-1910, so it is most likely that one or both photographers were members of the discovering party.
There is no developed access to Margaret Falls. The base of the falls should be most directly attainable by following the Cowlitz River upstream from Box Canyon for about 3 1/2 miles - expect this route to be rough, brushy and involve stream fords (do not ford the Cowlitz under any circumstances). The falls can also be seen distantly from Stevens Ridge, which can be attained by hiking cross-country across the glacial plains below the former Paradise Glacier (be sure to go off trail well above the meadows in the Paradise area, as off-trail travel is not permitted in Paradise). The upper tier of the falls should be reachable by hiking cross-country for about a mile and a half from the Wonderland Trail, starting about a three-quarters of mile south of Indian Bar.