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    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    210 m
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    4.0 km
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Carter Falls Hike


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    Table of contents

    The hike to Carter Falls in Mount Rainier National Park is a moderate 4.5 km hike that follows the Wonderland Trail to a beautiful waterfall. This trail is exceptionally well-maintained and nice and shady on hot days. You can go further to other falls along the same trail or just enjoy the quick jaunt to Carter Falls.

    Route Description for Carter Falls Hike

    The hike to Carter Falls on the Wonderland Trail is cool, mostly shady, and passes through an old-growth forest to a rushing waterfall in the trees. This trail provides the opportunity to go further to Narada Falls if you’d like to extend your day.

    The trail begins from the Cougar Rock area. The trailhead is on the west side of the road, and you’ll take a left onto the Wonderland Trail. You’ll cross the Nisqually River right away, then hiking alongside the Paradise River. The view of Mount Rainier looming over the Nisqually Gorge is impressive!

    Look for Ricksecker Point on your left, and enjoy the old-growth forest that lines your trail. In wildflower season, this section of trail is especially pleasant. Ascend gently for about a mile to Carter Falls, where 16 m of rushing water tumbles over the rock. You can either turn back here or follow the same trail to Madcap Falls and Narada Falls.

    Getting to the Carter Falls Hike Trailhead

    To reach the trailhead for the Carter Falls hike from the Nisqually entrance to the park, drive east on Paradise Road for 13.5 km. Park on the side of the road next to the trailhead. If the 8 or so spots along the road are full, you can also park at the Cougar Rock picnic parking lot on your right just up the road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground:

      Cougar Rock Campground

    • When to do:


    • Pets allowed:


    • Family friendly:


    • Route Signage:


    • Crowd Levels:


    • Route Type:

      Out and back

    Carter Falls Hike Elevation Graph

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