Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Paradise River: Washington Cascades

1/3 mi

Stream: The Washington Cascades on the Paradise River are short, but sweet.  Located within Mt Rainier national park, they can be tacked on after an Ohanapecosh trip or if driving through to see the park.  Park at the Ruby Falls Bridge over the Paradise River, and walk 50 yards downstream on river left to scout along a convenient trail.    Safety is easy to set, and the trail on the left allows for laps to be had. 

After the initial set of slides is a double drop before the river turns right, then left again down some small slides that were run center-ish with the main current.  There are a few take out options, so poke around a bit to determine what your plan of action will be.  It is possible to hop out on either side after the double drop or on the left where the bedrock ends and boulders begin to hike back up for another lap, or continue through some class III to a predetermined take out on the right where the road gets close to the creek.  DO make sure you have a pre-determined take out, as going too far would result in an un-survivable trip over Narada Falls.

Transition from bedrock to boulders.

Flows:  We thought flows were perfect the day we were there for the first two drops, the rest of the section would have been better with a little more water.  I'd do it again at the same flow or with more water.  The run is at 4700' and is fed from snowmelt, and snow is often present along the banks when there is enough water to float the creek.  When we were there patches of snow needed to be negotiated along the trail, but were not prohibitive to paddling this section.

We paddled this section June 16, 2019

Just downstream from Ruby Falls were a couple little pinches.  We used the one shown below as a reference.  It would be nice if the rock with the circle had some water spilling over it.

Access:  This section is located within Mt Rainier National Park, there is an entrance fee of $30 as of 2019.  We did it after a day on the Ohanapecosh River.  From secret camp just head upstream about 3 miles and turn left into the park entrance.  19 miles later you cross a small bridge (46.778404, -121.739020) just before a "T" in the road, park next to this bridge.  The drop under the bridge (Ruby Falls) did not look runnable to me, the slides start about 50 yards below the bridge, there is a trail to scout on river left.  

Ruby Falls the day we ran the Washington Cascades

 You can either hike back out from the bottom along the trail, or find a spot downstream to take out on river right next to the road.  A lack of diligence runs the risk of going too far and not being able to stop above the un-survivable Narada Falls.  

Refer to the map below for orientation.


The Ohanapecosh River is a favorite of mine, I try to make a trip up there each year.  It's fun doing laps on the classic section, but I try to mix it up each year and do something new on top of the classic section.  That has typically meant just heading upstream on the Ohanapecosh itself, but this year Priscilla and I spent a day checking out Mt. Rainier National Park.  I had seen photos of a group running the Washington Cascades years ago (I believe it was Luke Spencer, Chuck Taylor and friends) so we decided to see if it had water while we were up there.

It looked like it had just enough water, so we continued wondering around the park and decided to come back Sunday after spending Saturday on the Ohane.  My dad was with us that weekend and had his IK, we thought the foam floor might be nice to pad out the low-volume slides.  When Sunday rolled around we headed back up to the Paradise River and had a nice afternoon sliding down the cascades in the IK.   The run is similar in style and every bit as fun as Sweet Creek, Henline Creek, or the Lake Creek slides.

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