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Narada Falls

Mount Rainier Area

Location

Mount Rainier Area -- SW - Longmire/Paradise
View map below

Length

0.2 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 100 ft.
Highest Point: 4650 ft.

Rating

3.75 out of 5

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WTA worked here: 2014
 

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
 
 

If you’ve been to Mount Rainier’s Paradise, you may be familiar with Narada Falls, and the short hike down to its popular viewpoint. But are you aware of the other trails this short hike connects to? Do you wonder what ‘Narada’ means? Read on to find out. 

From the parking lot, most people are drawn to the ornate stone retaining wall overlooking the top of the falls. Peering over the wall, or from the nearby bridge over the top of the falls, you can see the lower viewpoint 100 feet below. This is the destination for most hikers.

Before you start hiking, keep in mind: the trail down to the viewpoint is moderately steep and almost always wet, due to ground seepage. Have proper footwear. Swirling mists can make the viewing area wet at any time of day. Be prepared for these conditions.

To do the hike, walk across the bridge. At the far (east) end of the bridge is the trailhead. Note that the building beyond the trailhead is not just a restroom but a comfort station, meaning it includes not only bathrooms but also a spacious indoor seating area.

The trail drops at a constant rate. There is a railing along the first 200 feet, where ferns and blueberries may encroach from the uphill side. Round a switchback and continue the remaining 400 feet to the obvious viewpoint. The falls are best seen after mid-morning, when they can be fully illuminated on a sunny day.

Narada Falls has an average width of 50 feet, as the Paradise River drops a nearly-vertical 168 feet over an andesite face. Andesite lava sometimes forms a columnar structure as it cools. The andesite at the base of Narada Falls is more fractured than at other places in the park. To the right of the top of the falls, andesite lines radiate outward in different directions, suggesting that uneven cooling took place in this lava flow.

From the viewpoint, the trail continues, connecting with the Wonderland Trail at 0.2 mile from the parking lot. Heading left leads to Reflection Lakes and a lovely loop hike options of 3 or 5 miles. See WTA's entry for Narada Falls to Reflection Lakes for more on that.

If you just want to wander upstream a short distance from the parking lot, walk past the Comfort Station to a marked trailhead for the Narada Falls Trail. This is the exit point for the loop hikes mentioned above.

Etymology

What does Narada mean?

In Hindu traditions, Narada was a Vedic sage, a revered traveling musician and storyteller. ‘Narada’ is a Hindu word meaning ‘uncontaminated’ or ‘pure’. Many sources indicate that Narada Falls was named after the sage, or the meaning of the word. According to the park service, “a group of Theosophists whose modern interpretation of the word is ‘uncontaminated’ suggested the name of their Tacoma unit or chapter for the falls.” This name was adopted in 1893.

After the death of Washington’s U.S Representative Francis Cushman in 1909, there was an attempt to rename the falls. Some maps of the era label it as Cushman Falls, although the rename was never official.

 

Narada Falls

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.7752, -121.7460 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Mount Rainier Area -- SW - Longmire/Paradise

Narada Falls Trail (#)

Mount Rainier National Park

See weather forecast

Guidebooks & Maps

Paradise Area Trails (available free from the Longmire Wilderness Information Center or Paradise Visitor Center)

Mt. Rainier National Park Hiking Map and Guide

Earthwalk Press

Buy the Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269S map

Getting There

Enter the west (Nisqually) entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, 13.5 miles east of Elbe on State Route 706. Drive 14.5 miles to the Narada Falls Trailhead parking lot on the right.

From the east entrance, or from within the park, travel west 0.8 mile from the junction of Paradise Road and Stevens Canyon Road.

The trailhead parking lot has picnic tables, restrooms (across the bridge), a garbage bin, and parking for about 40 vehicles. There is a fountain and spigot for drinking water at the near side of the bridge.

Parking Pass/Entry Fee

National Park Pass
 

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Narada Falls

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