Wonderland Trail to Carter Falls and Narada Falls

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Mount Rainier National Park

Wonderland Trail to Carter Falls and Narada Falls is a 5.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Packwood, Washington that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from May until October.

Length5.6 miElevation gain1,404 ftRoute typeOut & back
HikingForestLakeRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeFeeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (4)
Getting There

Mount Rainier National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $30 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $15 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $55. The Carter Falls Trail features an awesome 2 for 1. Both Carter Falls & Madcap Falls along the Paradise River in Mount Rainier National Park. Begins 0.1 miles (0.2 km) below Cougar Rock Campgrounds. An easy old-growth forest walk along the Paradise River. Walk past Carter Falls another 150 feet (45.7 m) to see Madcap Falls

From the Nisqually Entrance (Hwy 706) follow the road to Longmire. Just a short drive after Longmire you will see the signed Cougar Rock Campground and the signed Carter Falls Trailhead and the parking area on the right side of the road.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (92)
Photos (649)
Recordings (22)
Completed (452)
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Katie Huckins
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HikingIcySnow
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Rebecca London
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Hiking

I accidentally did most of this trail after taking a wrong turn. I’m not an experienced hiker and found it difficult but was able to complete it. If you’re more experienced, it’s probably more of a moderate hike than hard. It’s kept up well and the falls are beautiful. I only saw 1 chipmunk the entire time, though.

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Kat Parsons
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Hiking

The hike was fantastic! Definitely count it as moderate if you hike somewhat regularly. Both waterfalls were beautiful. We got there at 8:30 and there wasn’t much foot traffic, but coming back down around 11 was a completely different story. Start early!

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Abby Guenther
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HikingGreat!Rocky

We parked along side of the road near the trailhead. I would rate this more on the moderate side if you hike on a semi regular basis. There was no snow. We decided to continue on and hike to reflection lake which added approx another 950' elevation gain and 3.5ish miles in and out. Narada Falls to Reflection lake there were several switchbacks. We did come across snow closer to reflection lake but nothing challenging. We didn't have poles or crampons and had zero issue. Beautiful views. Lots of people by noon when we were heading back so get an early start if you want to avoid the crowd. Discovery pass OR America the Beautiful Pass required.

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Seleniasinn User
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Hiking

Hiked 7/1/2020 free of snow, good views of the river most of the way

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Greg Kroleski
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Hiking

Nice peaceful hike through the woods with forest life, river views, waterfalls, some snow patches in July and a bit of wildlife. 3 & 6 year old hiked it fine.

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Bob Jensen
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Hiking

Great challenging trail. I added the extra 3 miles round trip to go up to reflection lakes after Narada Falls. I wanted to be in nature, see waterfalls and get in a good work out. Everything I saw today can be driven to, except Carter Falls, so if a workout isn’t your priority, you don’t need to hike to see the sights! I’m very glad I did it, but will probably not do it again since I can drive to the waterfalls and lakes. There’s a lot of snow up near reflection lakes still if you add the extra miles, but I never fell through.

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Michele Bluemer Czajka
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Hiking

started at Narda Falls and hiked to Carter Falls. Three waterfalls in just over 1.5 miles. Snow pack still present but easy to see the trail.

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Simon Guérard
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Hiking

Nothing very special

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Kate Denman
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HikingSnow

Wonderland Trail to Carter Falls to Narada Falls We parked on the side of the road at the trailhead. Just a few yards further on the road is a turn off to a large parking lot with bathrooms and picnic benches. After crossing the bridge over the river, you start gaining some elevation. The first falls you get to is Carter Falls. You have to view these falls through some trees. After you climb a bit further up the trail, you will see Madcap Falls (unmarked.) shortly after Madcap Falls, the trail levels out. What made this portion of the hike difficult was the snow on the ground. You definitely have to watch where you are stepping because the snow is melting and many areas are hollow and you can fall through. There were several in our group that fell or stepped and their foot went through the snow to the ground. The snow was covering the trail so we had to wing it. We crossed several more bridges and then the trail started going uphill again and the snow disappeared. We didn’t see snow again until the Narada Falls viewpoint. There are bathrooms and water fountains there. One good thing about going uphill on the way in is that it is all downhill on the way out. I’m a larger, out of shape person that hates elevation gain on a hike. I just stopped and took little breaks and managed just fine. This hike will be easier once all of the snow melts or a boot path is put in. The ranger lady says they haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. It is doable, you just need to watch your step in the patches of snow. All of the waterfalls were raging and are absolutely beautiful. We saw several deer. A great workout and a great hike. Happy Trails!

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christy hill
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BlowdownSnow

didn't make it the whole way, husband gave out, was a great day anyway. snowed quite a bit while hiking and was windy. lots of hikers on the trail coming back. the road was closed for over an hour when we were leaving due to downed tree over the road. also road was closed at longmire. still a great day to snowshoe.

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joe jump
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Hiking

Trail was mostly dry today. Nice trail

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Brittney Barber
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Hiking

Lots of fun but I would probably turn around next time after Carter falls, which would make the hike much shorter, but that part was the best part in my opinion. I didn’t look closely at the map and it was kind of a bummer when we got to Narada falls there was a parking lot there, kind of ruined the ambiance in my opinion. Gorgeous hike though very peaceful and worth the trek to the second falls if you have time and don’t mind cars and some tourists! Some snow on the ground and a little muddy. Great fall hike.

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Corinna Malet
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Hiking

A fun family hike. Loved that it was covered most of the hike, slight elevation but not hard. Great little look outs to the river and waterfall.

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Anthony Meier
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Hiking

It was a great hike to to Madcap my favorite rocky water falls. The trek to the reward of Narada was everything I expected. Beautiful falls and great workout. The trail is for those who love waterfalls. No vistas on this trek just the sweet smell of Rainer. I recommend this because our visitor from Michigan shared it was a wonderful first hike.

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Walter Hansen
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Hiking

How is a trail a year old can walk 3/4 the way up and all the way down considered hard? Just asking. Rated hard Why?

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Gabrielle Oldfield
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Hiking

Gorgeous hike, we turned around at Carter Falls because we were hiking late in the day. The first part is exposed and sunny and the rest up to the falls is shady and covered. I would consider it moderate for some elevation gain, but the trail is well maintained and well worth the stop.

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Melanie Fleming
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HikingMuddy
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Lisa-Marie Gustafson
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Hiking

This trail was a lot of fun. You start by crossing the river on a log bridge and then hike along a different river to see three waterfalls. The hike up is pretty steep and I did end up carrying my three-year-old for the last quarter of a mile or so, though she did walk the entire way down. My other kids, ages 9, 8, and 5 hiked the whole way. Uphill all one way, means downhill the other and the kids didn't even complain about the hike down. It took us about 3 hours.

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Melissa Romig
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Hiking

Really enjoyed this one. Three waterfalls on the trail so some good stopping points. Definitely some elevation gain but not too bad.

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Mark Flocco
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Hiking

Steady climb along the water. Some spots are relatively steep but taking our time we made it to the top with two kids relatively easily. 3 hours round trip and a lovely hike for a misty day.

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Nalini Dadwal
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Hiking

Snow has all cleared. Hike is strenuous and not moderate especially from Carter to Narada falls but worth it.. it’s a nice workout.

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Shelby Lee
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Not going to lie. The hike up kicked my butt. The hike was very beautiful though. Very lush and green. It's worth it though! Carter falls is very neat!

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Shannon Maris
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Hiking

Thought we were doing Nerada falls trail as we started from nerada falls but actually hiked down the wonderland trail for a little over 3 miles until reaching the river at the bottom and headed back up total hike was a bit over 7 miles and a day well spent either way

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J A
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Hiking

Gorgeous views. Easy first half. The second half is steeper. The second falls are even better than the first.

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Ned Gretzinger
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HikingSnow

Trail was pretty awesome. It did get pretty snowy the second half of the trail but we’ll worth the view of the falls.

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Randall Foland
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Great hike. Fairly easy on the first half and second half was more difficult. Saw some blacktail deer along the way. Rained the entire time .

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