This trail begins at the Ohanapecosh Campground and leads slightly over one mile to Silver Falls along the Ohanapecosh River. This route leads through old growth forest along a lively river stretch to a gently cascading waterfall. The total elevation gain for this two and a half mile hike is approximately 300 feet. It is recommended for families with small children, but parents need to watch children closely as the rocks around the falls are very slippery.
Begin this hike from the trailhead behind the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center. The tread leads through a thermal area and interpretive trail before heading northward to the falls. Take time, at the beginning or end of your hike to Silver Falls, to learn about the ecology of Mt. Rainier and the hot springs area.
After passing through the interpretive area the trail forks. The right side follows the Hot Springs Trail and the left will take you north to Silver Falls. The route ascends slightly at the beginning then levels as it parallels the eastern bank of the Ohanapecosh River. Walking northward you'll cross four small streams en route to the river. The last of the streams is Laughingwater Creek, a short distance north of it you'll come to a junction with Laughingwater Trail. This trail leads westward a short distance from Highway 123 at the Laughingwater Trailhead, see Three Lakes Trail for directions. If you only want to see Silver Falls you can hike this short trail from the highway.
Turn left at the Laughingwater Trail junction and descend slightly to the Ohanapecosh River. Cross the river and admire the falls from the bridge over the Ohanapecosh. Remember to remain behind the guardrails when admiring the falls as the rocks can be very slippery and dangerous. On the opposite side of the river is a short path to an overlook of the falls. Follow this to the right as you leave the bridge.
Beyond the overlook trail is another trail junction. This is the East Side Trail, which leads north and south along the western bank of the Ohanapecosh River. Turn left at this junction and begin walking south along the river. The trail descends slightly along this path and ends at the campground in one and a third miles.
Directions: From Stevens Canyon Entrance, Follow Highway 123 southward 2 miles to the access road for Ohanapecosh Campground. Turn right into the campground and look for the visitor center. The day parking area lies close to the visitor center. En route to the parking area you will see the trailhead, which lies behind the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center.
Elevation: 1,950 feet
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