Tato Falls is a modest waterfall dropping into the Nisqually River just above the bridge along Highway 706 that many people see but few people recognize as substantial - and it thats not an entirely unjustified sentiment. Tato Falls drops about 60 feet over a cliff line which marked the one time terminus of the Nisqually Glacier before the crystal clear water of its unnamed feeder stream mingles with the muddy churn of the river. Tato Falls can be seen from the east end of the bridge spanning the Nisqually River, but only part of the falls can be seen thanks to the shape of the recess it occupies. Before the high steel bridge crossing the Nisqually was constructed, the original Paradise Road crossed much further upstream, and passed very near the base of the falls before the road crossed the valley at river level. When the road was realigned, the falls became sort of 'lost' in the scenery.
- Tato Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
Tato Falls were named by former Park superintendent Ethan Allen for his daughter Rachel Ann Allen, whose nickname was "Tato". The date the name was implemented is not known. Discovery of the falls is thought to be quite early in the history of the Park as the falls formerly were a minor attraction along the original Paradise Road as it crossed beneath the toe of the Nisqually Glacier.
Tato Falls occurs 1/3 of a mile above Highway 706 where it crosses the Nisqually River within Mount Rainier National Park. Reaching the base of the falls is possible, but in the aftermath of the catastrophic flood of 2006 its a dangerous undertaking. Park at the large pullout on the west side of the bridge and follow steep boot paths down under the bridge to the former roadbed. The river scoured the road away completely so one must carefully scale down the morainal detritus, which in places is almost a sheer 90 degree drop of 50 feet or more. Once safely to the boulders of the river channel, rock hop upstream until the falls are in view. If the river channel shifts such that fording is necessary to see the falls, DO NOT continue. The Nisqually River is extremely steep, swift and WILL kill you if you get swept away.