• Let’s hike the Wonderland Trail from Narada Falls to Reflection Lakes, Louise Lake, and Martha Falls. On the way back, we’ll hike up to Faraway Rock, then follow the High Lakes Trail and Narada Falls Trail back to our staring point. Afterwards, we may stop somewhere for ice cream or dinner. I will need at least 3 people willing to drive.• Excerpts from “Day Hiking Mount Rainier,” by Dan A. Nelson
Narada Falls in the midst of the Paradise River pounds down into a deep plunge pool, sending out a curtain of spray that provides a refreshingly cool breeze to hikers on this route. You hike the falls from top to bottom before climbing through salmonberry brambles and rich forest ecosystems to reach the upper trailhead at Reflection Lakes. This section of the Wonderland Trail gets relatively little use, so even though it's so close to the maddening crowds of Paradise tourists, the odds are good that you'll share the trail with few other hikers.
From the shores of Reflection Lake, this trail leads down jumbled talus slopes to the cold blue waters of Louise Lake, a pretty pool beneath the rocky wall of lower Mazama Ridge. The trail is gentle and kid-friendly, and since access is so easy, it makes a great stroll on a hot summer day.
For the best views of the long cut of Stevens Canyon, stride up this route to the vantage point at Faraway Rock. From there, you can look east along the length of the canyon, across the deep bowl of Louise Lake, and down the valley flanked by Stevens Ridge and the Tatoosh Range. You'll also find wonderful views to the north.
• Trailhead ETA: 9:30 am. • Round Trip: 10 miles.
• Starting Elevation: 4,560 feet. • Ascent Elevation: 2,020 feet.
• High Point: 5,280 feet. • Difficulty: Moderate/difficult.
• Pace: Slow/moderate. • Hiking Time: 6.5 hours.
• Special Features: Lakes, mountain views, old growth, ridges/passes, rivers, waterfalls, wildflowers/meadows.
• Maps: Green Trails Paradise, No. 270S.
• GPS: N[masked], W121 44.793.
What to Bring: Day pack with the 10 Essentials, appropriate hiking attire (no blue jeans, cotton clothing, or sneakers), plenty of water, lunch/energy snacks, sturdy/comfortable shoes + a bag for wet/soiled pairs, trekking poles, sun preventatives, bug repellent, and your camera! Dress according to the forecast (layers!).
Contact: Longmire Wilderness Information Center, (360) 569-6650.
Permits/Regulations: $15 per vehicle for a 7-day entrance permit or $30 per vehicle for an annual pass. Group size limited to twelve. Fires prohibited. Dogs prohibited.
Getting there: From Tacoma, drive east on State Route 7 to Elbe, then veer left onto SR 706 to enter the park at the Nisqually Entrance near Ashford. Continue east along the Nisqually Road to the Narada Falls parking area found on the right.
Useful Links: 7-Day Weather Forecast
• Paradise Area Trails
• Hiking Guide Description and Trip Reports – Narada Falls to Reflection Lakes
• Hiking Guide Description and Trip Reports – Louise Lake
• Hiking Guide Description and Trip Reports – Faraway Rock
Robert's Cell: (253) 677-6992.
Disclaimer: Trailside is not a professional guide service. Our leaders function, as facilitators only, to enhance your outdoor experience. Reports of trail and weather conditions are based on best available information, are subject to change, and are no guarantee of fitness for any particular purpose or appropriate for a certain fitness level. You may join us on this hike at your own risk. Keep in mind that hiking involves risks and weather changes quickly in the mountains. You are responsible for your own safety and the more prepared you are, the better the chance you will remain safe. Signing up for any Trailside organized event indicates that you have read, understand, and agree to the terms of this disclaimer and hold harmless all Trailside Organizers and Leaders in the event of injury or loss.