Myrtle Falls, at Mt. Rainier's Paradise
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There are plenty of places to hike in Mount Rainier National Park, where you can get away from the crowds and commune with nature, one-on-one. Myrtle Falls is not one of those places. It's almost certainly the most popular short trail in the park, and despite an uphill climb, it's easy enough for just about everyone to handle (even visitors in a wheelchair).
The wide, paved trail to Myrtle Falls departs from the big staircase in front of the Paradise Visitor Center, and immediately turns right. You can also join the trail from an alternate trailhead at Paradise Inn. Either way, within moments, you'll be hiking uphill, past stunning wildflowers, headed straight towards Mount Rainier. After about 3/10 of a mile, you're at your destination.
Myrtle Falls is located below the trail, and a side trail takes you down the hillside far enough to get this great view. You will probably have to wait your turn at this viewpoint, since the perfect spot of a photo is relatively small, and the crowds will no doubt be large (especially on a perfect day).
Myrtle Falls was named in 1907 by a park guide, Julius Stampfler, for a woman whom he met on a tour†.
Up at the top of the falls, you can cross Edith Creek on a footbridge, and get another excellent view of the mountain.
Don't let your hike end at Myrtle Falls! If you go just a short distance further, you'll leave the crowd behind, and you'll get to see more great views of the Paradise area and Mount Rainier. If you want a longer hike, you can follow the Skyline Trail for an extensive loop around Paradise, or take the Golden Gate Trail for a shortcut to the middle of the Skyline Trail loop.
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