Though quite easily visible from the park's major corridor, Nahunta Falls is one of the most overlooked waterfalls in Mount Rainier National Park. The unnamed stream producing the falls originates on the south side of Cushman Crest, steeply cascading over several ledges along a brushy gully. The falls extend for perhaps 450 feet up the mountainside, but almost half of that is obstructed by brush. Where SR 706 crosses the stream, only portions of the falls can be seen, but by crossing the Nisqually River, and proceeding to the uphill end of the large turnout on the opposite side of the valley, much more of the falls is visible (illustrated above). When flowing well, this is a good 5-minute distraction, but because of the small drainage area, the falls become less than notable during the late summer. Couple this with the brushy surrounding slopes and this becomes one to leave to the collectors.
- Nahunta Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Marie Falls
This waterfall was initially named Marie Falls, but it was later changed to its present name by Josephus Daniels, former secretary of the Navy and mountain visitor, for a river in North Carolina, which had been named by Tuscarora Indians. The name means "tall trees" or "tall timber" - maybe somewhat of a contradiction since the trees around the falls have been stunted by repeated avalanches.
Nahunta Falls is located between Van Trump Creek and the Nisqually River, along SR 706 in Mount Rainier National Park. Best views of the falls are had about 1/5 of a mile uphill (east) from the Nisqually River bridge, along the side of the road. There is a large pullout just past the bridge, but you'll have to walk up the road for a few hundred feet for a good view of the falls.