Silver Falls is a sparkling waterfall in Mount Rainier National Park. It has multiple access points, but the one that we chose ran about 1 mile each way for a roundtrip distance of two miles. The trail drops a bit to the viewpoint, so there is some climbing back to the car, but the elevation gain is mostly mild. Definitely add Silver Falls in Mount Rainier to your list.
We hiked Silver Falls from the Grove of the Patriarchs trailhead right near the southeast entrance to the park. This parking area is small, and we had to park on the roadside because this area is quite busy. Park as near the restroom as you can. The trail starts right across the street from there. Be careful crossing the road, because the corners tend to be blind, and cars travel pretty fast along here.
From the road, the trail drops down as you near the river. It continues to drop as you travel along, but the trees are thick, so there is plenty of shade, and it is never too hot in this part of the national park. After a short distance, the trail draws parallel to the Ohanapecosh River.
As you travel along the river, there are many rapids, and some of them even appear to be waterfalls. We stopped several times to see if we had arrived, but we hadn’t. Finally, we came to a place with a small branch to the left. This is the first overlook for the waterfall. There is a small fence to keep children back because there is a bit of a drop to the river.
Though this look is nice, the really viewpoint is down on the bridge. Continue down the trail for another 75 meters or so, and a bridge goes left across the river. As you walk out, the waterfall is fully revealed, and you can take some great photos. It is also pretty cool to look down off the bridge. The water funnels into a narrow chasm right underneath. It is deep and calm compared to the massive flow of water coming over the falls.
There are other ways to access Silver Falls in Mount Rainier National Park, and some claim to be shorter and steeper, but we found this one to be the right length for our family. The trickiest part is the climb back up to the car after that drop down to the waterfall. We took it slow, but it was definitely a slog back to the top.