Christine Falls Bridge – Mount Rainier’s Most Photographed Span

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

Driving through the park on the road between the Nisqually Entrance and Paradise, you’ll come upon a couple of small parking areas near a nondescript bridge deck on either side of the curve in Paradise Valley Road. It will be worth your time to stop at either parking area. From the east parking area, though, a trail beckons that will lead you to a point where you can see the reinforced concrete arch bridge and behind it, Christine Falls.

In truth, it’s only the lower half of Christine Falls, but if you cross the highway at the parking lot level, you can explore the other side of the bridge from where you can also see the upper level of the falls. As I noted, you really don’t want to miss this stop.

Just before you start down the trail to view the entire falls (don’t worry, it’s not a long walk at all), you’ll get a view of the opposite side of the arch.

Hikers may also want to travel west along Paradise Valley Road for a short distance from the bridge. The Comet Falls Trail out-and-back trail ends with a view of Comet Falls. That’s a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) trail that is quite dangerous in the winter, so the best family hiking is from July to October according to All-Trails.


Be careful crossing the highway near that curve in the road, especially if youngsters are with you. The traffic in this area can be pretty busy with vehicles coming around the curve from both directions. Drivers coming from either direction may not realize that there is a parking area on both sides of the curve and that there might be pedestrians crossing the street at any point along the bridge’s span. The deck width is about 26 feet (8 m), and there is a walkway on both sides of the roadway with only a short stone pedestrian guardrail on either side of the bridge.

The Christine Falls Bridge, completed in 1928, has a 56-foot (17 m) span that crosses Van Trump Creek. A sister bridge built by the same contractor crosses the Paradise River near Narada Falls and is located about 3.5 miles (5.6 km) east on the Paradise Valley Road close to the Narada Falls Comfort Station.

John Steiner


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