It is said that the Taidnapam Native American Tribe had a settlement along the river called "áw-xanapaykaš," meaning "standing on the edge." It's a fitting title, as the Ohanapecosh River cuts through the dense old-growth forests on Mount Rainier's southeast side, chiseling deep, impassable chasms and dropping countless cascades. The tallest of these cascades is Silver Falls, a 90-foot series of drops ending in a 40-foot plunge, all of which can be impressively violent after a long spell of rain.
One can view the falls and the Ohanapecosh River Gorge by accessing either the Eastside Trail from Stevens Canyon Road at the trailhead for Grove of the Patriarchs (1.4 miles total) or by departing from Ohanapecosh Campground (3.4 miles total). Either way, the hike through the dense Pacific Northwest conifer forest along the river is truly magical. If you depart from the campground you'll pass by Ohanapecosh Hot Springs, a modest thermal spring that creates a thick, mineral rich, grassy meadow.