Carter Falls is the final of the multitude of waterfalls along the cascading Paradise River. While perhaps the least interesting of the 7 named waterfalls - and countless others - the pretty 53 foot falls have certain eye-catching features, namely a natural pour spout of sorts, which funnels the water into a square groove, creating a very symmetrical column of water. While the falls are a fairly popular day hike destination for visitors to Mount Rainier National Park, the viewpoint for the falls is quite frustrating in that there are no clear views of the falls from the fenced overlook area - one must instead scramble about 20 feet down into the canyon to achieve a clear view of the falls (do not attempt this if you are uneasy about scaling root ladders).
- Carter Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
Carter Falls was named sometime between 1889 and 1895 for guide Henry Carter, who built the first trail to the Paradise Valley. Confusion has surrounded the exact placement of Carter and its upstream sibling Madcap Falls thanks to what appear to be poor mapping of the features over the years. Some early maps of the park have placed Carter Falls well downstream of the location it is known to be found at today, while others show the location fairly accurately. These mapping inconsistencies have over the years led us to question whether this feature was actually the waterfall meant to bear Henry Carter's name. However after uncovering an 1895 photograph from George H. Braas which accurately identified the same falls as bearing Carter's name, this question has been cleared up.
Carter Falls is located along the Wonderland Trail approximately 1 1/3 mile east of Cougar Rock Campground or 1 3/4 mile west of Narada Falls. The trailside views are inconvenient at best, blocked by a tree or three in most places.