4 Days 461 Miles

Follow the Falls: 4-Day Road Trip Through the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific

With nearly 3,200, Washington is home to more than half the waterfalls in the entire Pacific Northwest. The heart of this region’s lush rainforests and snowcapped peaks is its powerful water.

If you’re out there chasing waterfalls, we can help! Connect the coasts of Olympic National Park to the cascades of Mount Rainier National Park with this four-day itinerary. To begin your trip, Fall City is about 25 miles from Seattle and 45 miles from Tacoma. The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is your best starting point if arriving by plane.

Day 1 – Fall City, WA

"Snoqualmie" is the Salish word for moon. Native communities of this region were known as "people of the moon."

The small community of Fall City is nestled along the Snoqualmie River. It is home to iconic Snoqualmie Falls, a 268-foot waterfall that is vital to the culture of the Snoqualmie People. The tribe reclaimed Snoqualmie Falls in 2019 and are now the primary operators of its hospitality services. Trails to the upper and lower viewing points are both kid and pet friendly, making this attraction a must-see of Washington waterfalls for all.  

After exploring around the falls, stop for lunch locally before embarking on a 3-hour drive to your accommodations in Olympic National Park.

Where to Eat Near Fall City

Minutes from Snoqualmie Falls, the Raging River Cafe is home-cooked heaven. Enjoy a menu full of comfort food in a relaxed setting. If you’re up for a short drive, the Herbfarm is a five-diamond, farm to table restaurant unique to this region. Experience their seasonal menu with a paired glass of wine for a sustainable and delicious dining experience.

Day 2 – Olympic National Park

The Sol Duc River is an important waterway for coho salmon. They travel through its rocky and narrow waters into lakes in the surrounding mountains.
The Sol Duc River is an important waterway for coho salmon. They travel through its rocky and narrow waters into lakes in the surrounding mountains.
Formally known as Tree Root Cave, the
Formally known as Tree Root Cave, the "Tree of Life" stands proud near Kalaloch, despite seemingly having no roots to hold it in place.
Olympic National Park is as grand in beauty as it is in size. Sprawling across nearly a million acres, this park hosts a variety of landscapes, including rainforests, coastal rock formations, dramatic peaks and, of course, waterfalls. To soak in the canopies of green, get an early morning start on the Lovers Lane Trail. This trail is a little over 6-miles, follows the Sol Duc River, and features Sol Duc Falls.

Where to Eat & Stay in Olympic National Park

When it comes to accommodation, there’s no better place than Kalaloch Lodge. Ocean-front with a cozy cabin atmosphere, this lodge brings the coastal adventure of Olympic National Park to your front door. And it’s pet-friendly!

Enjoy locally sourced seafood from on-site Creekside Restaurant. Finish the day with a sunset trek from Kalaloch to Browns Point Trail to experience this region’s own Tree of Life.

Day 3 – Olympic to Mount Rainier

Myrtle Falls can be seen a short 0.9 miles from the Paradise parking lot.
Myrtle Falls can be seen a short 0.9 miles from the Paradise parking lot.

Start your morning in Olympic National Park on the Madison Falls Trail for a quick, 0.2-mile stroll to Madison Falls. It’s around 4 hours to Mount Rainier National Park, so you’ll want to get on the road as early as possible. We highly suggest taking the 101 E route for a more scenic drive! Take a moment to stop in Sequim, WA at one of the flourishing lavender farms.

Where to Eat & Stay in Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier has options for any preferred style or budget. The Paradise Inn is considered one of the “Great Lodges of the West” and is steps away from hiking trails. Its charm lies in its location and history. If you’re looking for unique and lower-priced accommodations, the Hobo Inn is a caboose hotel a short drive from the park’s entrance.

Our go-to in the area is Wild Berry Restaurant. They serve a special menu featuring Sherpa-Himalayan cuisine of Nepal (we highly recommend the channa thali). Additionally, the Summit House Restaurant has a view too good to miss. Their farm-to-mountain dinner series ensures you’re eating well while supporting local communities.

Day 4 – Mount Rainier National Park

Narada Falls drops a total of 188 feet in two tiers, crossing the Mount Rainier Highway in the process.
Narada Falls drops a total of 188 feet in two tiers, crossing the Mount Rainier Highway in the process.
Looking for wildflowers? You'll find them along the Skyline Trail. Peak season comes later than most destinations in Mount Rainier, around mid-August.
Looking for wildflowers? You'll find them along the Skyline Trail. Peak season comes later than most destinations in Mount Rainier, around mid-August.

It often feels like there’s so much to do, so little time in Mount Rainier National Park—especially when chasing waterfalls. Plan for a moderately strenuous, yet wildly rewarding hike while exploring this park.  The Wonderland Trail to Carter Falls and Narada Falls is a great option for low mileage and stunning views throughout. If you’re a more experienced adventurer, we highly recommend the Skyline Trail Loop, a 6.2-mile trail that features the iconic Myrtle Falls.