The Cataracts are the waterfalls that make the River Silver's descent from middle Rathillien down to the bottom of the Escarpment. The area was the scene of the Battle of the Cataracts, where the forces of the Kencyrath and their Karkinoran allies turned aside the much larger Waster Horde.
The falls are split into two halves by Eldest Island. The narrower western channel descends in two falls, the first of about a hundred feet and the second about twice that into a cauldron of seething water. The wider eastern channel descends in one fall of approximately three hundred feet. The Mendelin Steps descend alongside the western channel in two flights.
- Hurlen, the island city just upstream, including Grand Hurlen, its largest island
- The boat-guard, a chain stretched across the river just downstream of Hurlen that stops boats from going over the Cataracts
- The Upper Hurdles and Lower Hurdles, natural stone ledges or steps separating the meadows of the Silver's western bank at different levels
- The Upper Meadow, Middle Meadow and Lower Meadow
- The Heart of the Woods, a natural amphitheater deep in the woods near the Lower Meadow