With the recent publication of the outstanding book "A guide to Yellowstone's Waterfalls and their discovery", the three authors unearthed several waterfalls within Yellowstone National Park that had been named by exploratory parties, yet, for some reason, were left off maps of the park and forgotten. Since Mt. Rainier National Park was the nation's 4th National Park, we long have suspected a similar trend. While browsing some early maps of the park, circa 1907, we found several falls that we had never heard of before, Ruby Falls included. It was shown on the Paradise River, just above the top of the Washington Cascades, roughly in the vicinity of the SR 706 Bridge across the river. We immediately suspected it was the falls which the bridge bisects, or another falls a short distance upstream. A month later, we found an eBay auction of a postcard of the very same Ruby Falls, which revealed it to be the falls originally suspected.
From our initial scouting we had previously thought this to be a portion of the Washington Cascades, since the falls lie only about 200 feet apart. History lesson learned, Ruby Falls is one of several falls in Mt. Rainier National Park that seems to have been forgotten over time. The fact that this one is visible from the road makes the fact even more incredible. The falls consist of two parts, a 21 foot cascade above the SR 706 Bridge, and a square 31 foot plunge immediately below the bridge.
- Ruby Falls is the Historical name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Twin Falls
Ruby Falls has been recognized since the park's youth. The original Longmire - Paradise road actually crossed the Paradise River just below the falls, and it was more of an attraction at that point. As Paradise was developed the road was realigned and the loop road built, moving the primary bridge over the river to the top of the falls. The old roadbed can still be easily seen below the falls, just above the top of the Washington Cascades.
Exactly when the name of the falls was adopted is not entirely clear. We've recently uncovered a circa 1905 photograph taken by R.L. Glisan, a prominent photographer in the early years of Mount Rainier exploration, which captioned this fall as Twin Falls. Chances are this was a casual name that never stuck, as we've never seen it associated with the falls anywhere else. The name Ruby Falls appears on a 1907 map of the park, so it was established and in use by then.
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. The upper portion of the falls can be seen from the road, and the lower portion (pictured here) can be seen by walking 100 along the Narada Falls trail. The Washington Cascades can be seen by continuing another 1/10 of a mile downstream.