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Stevens Canyon Waterfalls

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Following the Wonderland Trail, this route explores the floor of Stevens Canyon, and along the way, you'll find a number of waterfalls along Stevens Creek and its tributaries. The trail is broad and generally well maintained, though the 2006 storms took out some of the bridges and washed out one section of trail.

Find the trail on the south side of the parking area and descend through open forest for about 0.75 mile to reach a bridge over Stevens Creek near the first small waterfall of the journey. Just before crossing the bridge, you'll find a junction with the Wonderland Trail. Turn right and start up the gentle climb along the floor of the canyon. Lush, moss-laden forests surround you on this lower section of the canyon.

At 1.5 miles, you reach Maple Creek Camp alongside the small tributary stream (yup, you guessed it: Maple Creek). A small waterfall crashes over a rocky ledge just above camp--a small boot track leads through the brushy forest to the cascade.

The Wonderland Trail continues upcanyon from Maple Creek, and at around 2.5 miles, you pass a vantage point offering good views of Sylvia Falls on Stevens Creek. Just 1 mile above this, the trail angles steeply away from the main creek to cross Unicorn Creek just below Martha Falls. Stop and enjoy this largest of the route's falls before turning back the way you came.
Driving Directions:

From Enumclaw, drive east about 47 miles on State Route 410 to the junction with SR 123 at Cayuse Pass. Stay right (straight ahead) to merge onto SR 123-Cayuse Pass Highway. Drive south about 11.5 miles to the junction with the Stevens Canyon Road. Turn right (west) and pass through the Stevens Canyon Entrance to the park. About 10.5 miles from SR 123, park in the Box Canyon Picnic Area (about 0.5 mile west of Box Canyon).
From the south, drive US 12 about 8 miles east of Packwood to the junction with SR 123. Turn north on SR 123 and continue about 6 miles, passing Ohanapecosh Campground, to the Stevens Canyon Road. Turn left (west) and pass through the Stevens Canyon Entrance to the park and find the trailhead as described above.
From the west, via Paradise, drive SR 706 through the Nisqually Entrance and continue approximately 23 miles east to the trailhead on the south side of Stevens Canyon Road.
Note: Both SR 123 and Stevens Canyon Road have had closures due to washouts in the November 2006 flood. Although SR 123 has reopened, call ahead for current road conditions.

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

Recent Trip Reports

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There are 7 trip reports for this hike. See all trip reports for this hike.
Stevens Canyon Waterfalls — Aug 24, 2013 — Bob and Barb
Day hike
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We had done this hike on July 28th starting at the Stevens Creek TH. That day we didn't get to Marth...
We had done this hike on July 28th starting at the Stevens Creek TH. That day we didn't get to Martha Falls so wanted to hike to it today. We began the hike today on the Wonderland Trail 4.8 miles west of Box Canyon where the trail crosses the road to head west to Louise Lake and Reflection Lakes and east to Martha Falls. We descended 600 feet east 0.6 mile to the footbridge and view of Martha Falls. We continued east to Maple Creek Camp. To avoid the landslide area between Martha Falls and Sylvia Falls, I continued east to Box Canyon. The landslide area is doable, but I do not do well on this type of tread. Because of my left hip bursitis , I wanted to avoid the 1600 foot gain to the TH where we started--2 reasons to continue east! :)! There was a variety of fungi along the trail. The trail between Sylvia and Martha Falls had been brushed since our first visit.
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Stevens Canyon Waterfalls — Jul 28, 2013 — Bob and Barb
Day hike
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Overgrown
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We began our hike at the TH in the Box Canyon Picnic Area as described in Dan Nelson's "Day Hiking M...
We began our hike at the TH in the Box Canyon Picnic Area as described in Dan Nelson's "Day Hiking Mount Rainier". The Stevens Creek Trail dropped over 400 feet in 0.5 miles where we took a short spur trail to the overlook of the first small falls. We continued 0.25 miles to the Wonderland Trail and the bridge over Stevens Creek. The trail climbs through the canyon to Maple Creek Camp at 1.5 miles. We continued for another mile or so and met a WCA group who were brushing the trail. Above the brushed area the trail became steeper and very brushy so this is where we turned around at 3900 feet. We returned to the TH via the Wonderland Trail which was 1.4 miles instead of 0.7 miles so a more gradual grade than or descent from the Stevens Creek TH. It was then 0.25 miles along the Stevens Canyon Road to the Stevens Creek TH. We question Dan Nelson's info as we were higher than his high point and yet didn't reach Martha Falls. Wild flowers were not prolific, but there were many foam flowers blooming.
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Stevens Canyon Waterfalls — Jun 28, 2013 — trinkers
Multi-night backpack
Features: Wildflowers blooming
Issues: Washouts
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We parked at the trailhead on June 28th and hiked to Maple Creek Camp, where we camped that night an...
We parked at the trailhead on June 28th and hiked to Maple Creek Camp, where we camped that night and the night of the 29th as well. We picked site #4 (the one farthest to the west) and after making camp on the 28th, we had just settled in to eat dinner when we saw a bear! It checked us out before moving on, and we watched it make its way East through the meadow while eating the whole way. A few minutes after it had disappeared from sight, a second bear appeared and also ate its way East. And then, a third bear showed up too. That one just crashed its way through the undergrowth, so we didn't get a great look at it, but it had a differently colored coat than the first two, so it was a separate bear.

Anyway, BEARS! Three bears! They came within 50 feet of our tent, which I think was by accident because it was right around a outcropping of land, so it wasn't able to see us until it was really close. Neither of the first two seemed too interested in us beyond a few sniffs and the occasional look up from eating to make sure we didn't come closer (we didn't, we're not stupid).

So that was the night of the 28th. On the 29th, we did a day hike up to Martha Falls. The trail is in very good condition in most spots, although it gets rather overgrown between Sylvia Falls and Martha Falls. There is also a large washout and a smaller washout just East of Martha Falls. Both are a bit tricky to cross, so watch your step and use your trekking poles. We didn't see it this time, but other hikers told us they saw a bear on the opposite side of the creek just across from the big washout.

We camped at Maple Creek Camp again on the 29th, but we didn't see any bears that time. We hiked out on the 30th, and it was an uphill climb to get out of the canyon. Objectively, the climb wasn't too steep or long, but subjectively it was pretty horrible because it was in the high 80s that day.

There were plenty of wildflowers in bloom along the trail, and I saw a few blackberry bushes just past Sylvia Falls but none of the berries were anywhere near ready to eat yet. There weren't any downed trees on the trail and all bridges were in at least decent condition. There were a few muddy spots but nothing major. Those washouts were the biggest concern, but watch your step and you should be fine.
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Stevens Canyon Waterfalls — Aug 31, 2012 — forestlion
Day hike
Features: Ripe berries
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We (my dad and my 5 year old daughter) hiked a section of this trail from the trailhead to about 0.5...
We (my dad and my 5 year old daughter) hiked a section of this trail from the trailhead to about 0.5 miles past Maple Creek Camp. A total distance of about 5 miles round trip. It was a beautiful day for a hike and we saw only 2 other people on the trail. We had lunch down by the river and dipped our feet in. Looking up from our lunch spot we could see the road towering above us and though on the map it looks close we could not hear it at any point on the trail.

After completing the hike we drove up to the box canyon overlook. The view was impressive of this deep narrow canyon. Would like to hike this section the trail some time. We could also see Mt St Helen's from the bridge.
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Stevens Canyon segment of Wonderland Trail — Jul 14, 2010 — EckartS
Day hike
Issues: Mud/Rockslide
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The easiest place to park and enter this segment of the Wonderland Trail is between the lower tunnel...
The easiest place to park and enter this segment of the Wonderland Trail is between the lower tunnel and the Box Canyon picnic site. The trail descends 500 ft. and crosses Stevens Creek at a narrow canyon (not quite as deep as Box Canyon) on a sturdy bridge at 1.1 mi. At 2.2 mi. is the Maple Creek designated campsite. This section of the Wonderland Trail is not described in positive terms in the 50 Hikes in Mt. Rainier National Park hiking guide book, but we found it to be a delightful trail and contrary to what we expected after reading the book, we hardly heard any noise from the vehicles on the Stevens Canyon road above. As a matter of fact, there are only few places where you can even see the road. It is an impressive view to see from below how the road has been glued to the steep hillside in the area of the upper tunnel. Most of the trail is in the shade and on the north side of the Tatoosh Range, so this is a good trail for a hot day. Scenic points are Sylvia Falls (cannot quite see all of it from the trail) and Martha Falls. The trail is in good shape, except a critical point is a slide area where the trail has to be carved anew from the slide slope every spring and where many rocks hang lose above the trail, waiting to come rolling down. A short section of the trail is in the flood plain of Stevens Creek. The old bridge across Unicorn Creek is gone and the trail has been rerouted to a log crossing further upstream, immediately below one of the Martha Falls.
A good destination for this hike is Louise Lake, a short mile after crossing the Stevens Canyon road. The shoreline of Louise Lake is very fragile and could use some resource management with stepping stones and a sitting log to allow the wildflowers (marshmarigold) to flourish untrampled and to concentrate the hiker damage in one spot. We saw only one other hiking party on this trail.

Elev. gain 2130 ft. in, 590 ft. on return trip. 13 mi. R.T. Allow 7 hours R.T.
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Location
Mt. Rainier -- SW - Cayuse Pass / Steven's Canyon
Longmire Wilderness Information Center
Statistics
Roundtrip 7.0 miles
Elevation Gain 700 ft
Highest Point 3750 ft
Features
Waterfalls
Established campsites
Guidebooks & Maps
Day Hiking: Mt. Rainier National Park Trails (Nelson & Bauer - Mountaineers Books)
Green Trails Mount Rainier East
No. 270; Contact: Longmire Wilderness Information Center
(360) 569-4453

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Note: the description and driving directions for this Mountaineers Books entry are copyrighted and can't be changed.

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