East of Paradise , the road passes 100-foot-high Martha Falls and cuts across the slopes of Stevens Canyon as it follows Stevens Creek downhill. At Box Canyon a short trail leads to a footbridge spanning the deep but narrow gorge created by the Muddy Fork of the Cowlitz River. By the time you reach the junction with Highway 123, the road is deep within old-growth forests of Douglas fir and western hemlock at an elevation of just 2,200 feet.
The Ohanapecosh Visitor Center (360/569-2211, ext. 2352) is open daily 9 a.m.–6 p.m. late June through September, and daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m. late May to mid-June and in early October. It is closed mid-October to late May. Rangers lead two-hour walks several times a week during the summer months.
The Grove of the Patriarchs Trail starts just west of the Stevens Canyon entrance station and covers 1.5 miles of virgin forest terrain. This easy loop trail circles an island in the crystalline Ohanapecosh (oh-HAH-na-pee-kahsh) River, passing thousand-year-old Douglas firs, western hemlocks, and western red cedars that tower over a verdant fern-filled understory.
A longer hike, the Silver Falls Trail, follows the river in a three-mile loop that takes you to the 75-foot cataract of Silver Falls, passing a side trail to the site of Ohanapecosh Hot Springs Resort along the way. The resort was a popular Roaring ’20s vacation place, but the badly dilapidated building was closed in the 1960s and torn down by the Park Service. It’s illegal to enter the shallow springs here, and there are no pools anyway. The trail begins at the Ohanapecosh Campground.
The Shriner Peak Trail starts from Highway 123, 3.5 miles north of the Stevens Canyon entrance; park on the west side of the road about a half mile from the Panther Creek bridge. This eight-mile hike—about five hours round-trip—is almost completely devoid of shade and ends up at a lookout/ranger station at Shriner Peak (5,846 feet).