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Silver Falls - Grove of the Patriarchs Snowshoe

Mount Rainier Area

Location

Mount Rainier Area -- SE - Cayuse Pass/Stevens Canyon
View map below

Length

9.9 miles, roundtrip

Elevation

Gain: 400 ft.
Highest Point: 2500 ft.

Rating

3.50 out of 5

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This snowshoe route may be relatively flat, but it's a hard one to get to, since the highway to this part of Mount Rainer National Park is closed in the winter. It takes a 3 mile road walk both ways in addition to the loop itself. 

At about 1.5 miles in, hikers pass the entrance to the Ohanapecosh campground. Another 1.6 miles in, look for a turn for Stevens Canyon. Head for the guard station. There is a bridge over the Ohanapecosh River 0.2 miles later. It's a dramatic sight, so make sure to stop and enjoy it before continuing on.

Climb through quiet forest with the river on your right until you reach a suspension bridge, 4 miles from the trailhead. This bridge can have snow on it and be hazardous to cross -- evaluate your comfort level and the snow levels before heading across it.

Once on the "island" of the Grove of the Patriarchs, follow the loop around and through huge giants. It helps to visit in summer first, but having a map to follow in winter works as well.

Recross the bridge and head back to the road. Cross it, and get onto the Silver Falls Trail, heading gently downhill from an unsigned trail. Be careful here, too -- the river is to your left and in sections this trail can be exposed. Especially if there is snow or ice here, watch your step.

5.8 miles into the hike, arrive at a junction. The left fork goes towards the falls; the right heads downhill through forest. You can take a side trip to a view of the falls (it's just 0.1 miles to an overlook), or head all the way back to the Ohanapecosh campground that way. Otherwise, take the right fork and walk through quiet forest to the campground.

If you choose to go left, you'll cross the bridge over the Ohanapecosh River at 6.1 miles, and the tiny hot springs 7.8 miles in. Arrive at the campground at 8 miles, then pass the visitor center and head back up to Highway 123 at 8.5 miles.

From here, it's another 3 miles to your car along the road.

 

Silver Falls - Grove of the Patriarchs Snowshoe

Map & Directions

Trailhead
Co-ordinates: 46.7184, -121.5776 Open map in new window

Trailhead

Mount Rainier Area -- SE - Cayuse Pass/Stevens Canyon

Mount Rainier National Park

See weather forecast

Getting There

Drive Highway 12 to its intersection with Highway 123, then turn north onto 123. 7 miles from the junction with 123, the highway is gated for the winter. You'll need to park here and walk the road for 3 miles to the trailhead for this hike.

 

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Silver Falls - Grove of the Patriarchs Snowshoe

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