Thought Van Trump Falls is the first major waterfall which can be seen along the Comet Falls trail, it is difficult to see clearly, and downright dangerous to even approach. The falls consist of a series of small slides which collectively drop 23 feet, followed by a pair of drops totalling 96 feet and a second set of drops another 200 feet downstream dropping an additional 71 feet. The lower tiers of the falls were impacted significantly by the 2001 Debris Flow, but changes from the floods of October 2003 seem to be minimal in retrospect. While a small portion of the lower tier can be seen pretty easily, clear views of any portion of the falls require dangerous scrambling. To see the lower falls, one must climb down a steep rock face, covered with sand and silt which amplifies the naturally slick rock. The upper falls are viewed from on top of a large rock, perched at the rim of a sheer walled gorge, with 150 feet of air below. As long as you know your limits, the falls can be seen relatively easily but I don't recommend it to those uneasy about scrambling off trail.
- Van Trump Falls is the name of this waterfall.
This waterfall is more commonly referred to as Middle Van Trump Falls, but omiting the "Middle" portion is more appropriate, considering the two upstream waterfalls are both named.
Located between Longmire and Paradise, within Mount Rainier National Park. The Comet Falls trailhead is located 1/4 of a mile west of the bridge spanning Van Trump Creek at Christine Falls, or 2.3 miles east of the Cougar Rock Campground. The trail climbs approximately 1400 feet in the 1.7 mile hike to the falls. Van Trump Creek is crossed at 1/4 mile; Lower Van Trump Falls can be heard, but not seen, at 3/4 of a mile; Van Trump Falls is passed at 1.4 miles. The lower tiers can be seen from the first switchback as the trail starts to climb a boulder field. The upper tiers can be seen by crossing the boulder field to the canyon rim after climbing for two switchbacks. Be extremely careful if you plan on visiting this waterfall.