The Washington Cascades are a series of falls in the Paradise River over a stretch of maybe 100 yards. No single fall is over 20 feet tall, but they all add up. I don't know how I'd missed this one for so long. I'd visited Mt. Rainier National Park over 15 times in my life prior to even knowing the falls existed, despite it sitting, literally, right under my nose. When I first found the falls, I assumed they consisted of the falls on either side of the SR 706 bridge over the river, but just recently I've discovered that that waterfall is officially named Ruby Falls, and the Washington Cascades start about 200 feet downstream of 706, where the river slides down numerous less vertical ledges. The bottom of the falls can be glimpsed from SR 706 just as it makes a double hairpin turn about 1/2 mile before the turnoff to Paradise.
- Washington Cascades is the Official name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Washington Torrents
The falls were named on August 24th, 1893, by Henry Schwargel, for the state of Washington. On some early postcards of the cascades, the caption cited the falls as the Washington Torrents, rather than Cascades. The name may have been lost in translation because this variant appeared on German printed postcards.
Located near Paradise, within Mount Rainier National Park. Coming from the Nisqually Entrance of the park, drive as you would to Paradise. As the main road makes a sweeping turn uphill to the left, about 8/10 of a mile from Narada Falls, turn right towards Stevens Canyon and park immediately in the large pullout where the two roads meet. Coming from the Stevens Canyon Entrance, drive towards Paradise and park on the left side of the road shortly after crossing the Paradise River. Find the signed Narada Falls trail on the east side of the bridge, and follow the trail downstream for no more than 1/5 of a mile to views back up into the cascades from the bottom. The entire falls are visible from the bottom from the trail, so there is no need to stray off the trail at all, and for the sake of not trampling meadow flowers, don't. You can also hike upstream from Narada Falls for about 4/10 of a mile, along the same trail, to the falls.