The 50 Most Stunning Waterfalls in the US for an Epic Outdoor Getaway

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Looking to get outside and spend some time appreciating the great outdoors? You can go on a scenic drive, visit a beautiful lighthouse, or hit the road and see some of the best waterfalls in the US! Here are fifty great American waterfalls to choose from. 

 

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Best Waterfalls in the US-2

 

 

The Best Waterfalls in the US

I have these grouped by region so that you can plan to see a few in a row or simply find one close to you.

 

The Best Waterfalls in New England

The Northeast is famous for road trips through gorgeous fall foliage, but autumn isn’t the only time to take a trip on one of these roads! Here are the best waterfalls to visit in the Northeast.

 

 

Arethusa Falls (New Hampshire)

 

USA - New Hampshire - Arethusa Falls

 

Located in the Crawford Notch State Park in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, these falls are about one-hundred and forty feet tall. The way to get to the falls is to take the Franklin Cliff Trail. Getting here requires you to traverse a fairly difficult five-mile loop on foot, but it’s worth it to see these beautiful falls! 

 

Bear’s Den Waterfall (Massachusetts)

 

USA - Bear's Den Waterfall (Massachusetts)

 

Bear’s Den Falls is a cascade falls on the Swift River in New Salem, Massachusetts. The walk here is short and easy. You can learn about the role this waterfall played in Native American raids on the encroaching White Settlers who claimed their land. 

 

 

Bash Bish Falls (Massachusetts)

 

USA - Bash Bish Falls (Massachusetts)

 

My absolute favorite waterfall in the United States is Bash Bish Falls in southwestern Massachusetts. It’s part of a state park by the same name. Luckily, it’s completely free to visit, but keep in mind that the beautiful waterfall is a bit of a short hike to get to. Strangely enough, this waterfall can be reached from either New York or Massachusetts, depending on which parking lot you go to.
 
From the Massachusetts side, it’s about 1/3 of a mile hike, and on the New York side, it’s about a 3/4 mile hike. I suggest parking in the New York parking lot, because it’s a hike up from that lot, while it’s actually a steep hike down from the Massachusetts parking lot. Please keep in mind that unfortunately, you can’t swim in the water near this waterfall, because it’s actually one of the biggest waterfalls in Massachusetts! It could be quite dangerous to swim in.
 
There’s also a lot of outdoor activities nearby, as you can go and visit either Taconic State Park in New York or Mt. Washington State Park in Massachusetts! 
 
Contributed by Krystianna from Volumes & Voyages
 
 

Moss Glenn Falls (Vermont)

 

USA - Moss Glenn Falls (Vermont)

 

Located on a four-mile hike near Stowe, Vermont, Moss Glen Falls is a great destination for new hikers since the trail is great for hikers of all skill levels. If you don’t want to do the entire trail, the falls themselves are located less than a quarter-mile from the trailhead. If you want the best viewpoint of the falls, there is a steeper climb to reach this Instagram spot. 

 

This is a horsetail falls, dropping into a pool that is twenty-five feet across at its widest point. In spring, there is a second waterfall, called the Little Moss Glen Falls, which is sometimes visible and something to look out for.

 

 

The Best Waterfalls in the Mid-Atlantic

While the Northeast might be the more famous region for fall foliage, it’s not the only part of the country to enjoy stunning mountain views and hidden waterfalls. In fact, some of my favorite waterfalls are in the Mid-Atlantic! 

 

Buttermilk Falls (Pennsylvania)

 

USA - Pennsylvania - Buttermilk Falls Indiana County Parks and Trails Pennsylvania

 

One of our favorite waterfalls in the US is the lesser-known Buttermilk Falls in Western Pennsylvania. This hidden gem in Indiana County is a great stop, whether you’re looking for things to do in Indiana, PA or for a day trip from Pittsburgh.

 

To get to the 45-foot waterfall, you take a short, easy hike from the parking lot to a triangle-shaped bridge that leads you to the falls. There are steps to get down to the waterfall, and in 2017 a structure was built that actually allows you to safely walk behind Buttermilk Falls.  It’s one of the few waterfalls I’ve seen with this feature, and it definitely adds to the experience.

 

Buttermilk Falls is free to get into and there’s ample parking available, as well as picnic tables and public restrooms. While you’re visiting Buttermilk Falls, be sure to also walk the McFeely trail for another easy hike.

 

The land that the trails and waterfall are located on was actually owned by Fred Rogers’s grandfather, Fred McFeely. (Yes, that’s *the* Mister Rogers.)

 

Note: There are other waterfalls in Pennsylvania and New York with a similar name. This waterfall is located in New Florence, PA.

 

Contributed by Amanda Emmerling from Toddling Traveler

 

 

Cucumber Falls (Pennsylvania)

 

USA - Cucumber Falls (Pennsylvania)

 

Located in Pennsylvania’s Ohiopyle State Park, these are great falls to enjoy when the weather has been bet so there’s more water flowing over them. Getting here is easy as the parking is well-marked and located just above the falls.

 

To get the falls’ base, take the staircase into the gorge. If you are an avid photographer, you can also enjoy the overlook positioned above the falls for great views.

 

 

Great Falls (Virginia)

 

USA - Great Falls (Virginia)

 

At Great Falls Park, the Potomac River drops over a jumble of rocks then squeezes through a narrow gorge, creating a  dramatic landscape of waterfalls and cascades. This scenic beauty is managed by the National Park Service, which maintains overlooks, trails, and facilities that offer outdoor fun for residents and visitors to the Washington DC region. The park is just 15 miles from DC and is one of the most popular day trip destinations in the area.
 
Stop in the Visitor Center to learn about the history and geology of the park, then view the falls from three overlooks, two of which are wheelchair accessible. If time allows, hike at least part of the River Trail to enjoy beautiful views of Mather Gorge.
 

In warmer months you may see expert kayakers shooting the falls. You can combine your visit to Great Falls with a scenic drive on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which links the park to natural and historic sites like Arlington National Cemetery and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.  

Admission to Great Falls Park is $20 per vehicle for a 7-day pass. Arrive early on busy weekends or you may encounter entry lines of an hour or more.

 
Contributed by Julie McCool from Fun in Fairfax VA.

 

 

Kaaterskill Falls (New York)

 

USA - New York - Kaaterskill falls waterfall in the New York Catskill mountains

 

Kaaterskill Falls is a multi-tiered waterfall located in Upstate New York in the Catskill Mountains. It is a very popular place for people all over New York to visit, and also attracts large crowds from people living in NYC.

 

There are a few different opportunities to see the waterfalls, one being from above at a few viewing platforms, or you can choose to hike down to the bottom for an up-close view. If you choose to see from the viewing platforms it is just a short walk from a parking lot, and the walk is stroller and wheelchair friendly.

 

While this view is pretty amazing, it gets even better if you venture down to the bottom. The Kaaterskill Falls hike to the bottom can be accessed from Laurel House Road and consists of a 1.5 out and back hike to the bottom. The hike starts as a stroll through the woods, but as you approach the falls you will have to walk up and down about 200 steep steps.

 

Kaaterskill Falls is centrally located in the Catskill Mountains, about 2 hours north of New York City. There are tons of other fun things to do in the area such as more hiking, ski resorts, an indoor water park, a casino, and some beautiful scenic drives.

 
Contributed by Amanda Patsey from Patsey Family Travels
 

 

Kilgore Falls (Maryland)

 

USA - Kilgore Falls (Maryland)

 

If you’ve ever watched the movie Tuck Everlasting, you’ve glimpsed the Kilgore Falls. Having a 17-foot high drop, this waterfall is Maryland’s second-highest vertical waterfall and is a great option for a day trip with friends or family.
 
Depending on what time of year you decide to visit, you might need to get a parking pass (usually for visits on weekends and holidays between Memorial Day and Labour Day). Passes are free but you do have to register beforehand each week to secure one.
 

They are used to help limit the number of visitors to the park and protect the environment. Once you get to the parking lot, it’s a short hike to get to the actual waterfall. Swimming is allowed but you will do so at your own risk. The water is shallow so I encourage at least getting your feet wet.

 

Because of its location in the Falling Branch area of the Rocks State Park, Kilgore Falls is also known as Falling Branch Falls. However, it is actually located on a separate 67-acre-plot of land about five miles north of the main Rocks State Park. If you find yourself in Maryland, I certainly recommend a stop to the Kilgore Falls and feel free to check out the main area of the state park or any of the nearby wineries.

 
 
Contributed by Juleen from Juleen Meets World

 

 

Niagara Falls (New York)

 

Canada - Niagara Falls - American Falls

 

Niagara Falls is actually comprised of three separate waterfalls, Canadian Falls (Horseshoe Falls) on the Canada side, and American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls which are both located over the border in New York state.

 

American Falls is impressive to visit, but it would be even more so if it wasn’t overshadowed by Canadian Falls in the same panoramic view. When you visit, you can plan a one-day itinerary or spend a few days at the falls.

 

 

Taughannock Falls (New York)

 

USA - Taughannock Falls (New York)

 

The Finger Lakes region of New York state is famous for its breathtaking beauty, lakes, wineries, and waterfalls. Overlooking the Cayuga Lake is Taughannock Falls in New York, which is even taller than Niagara Falls.
 
The majestic falls can be viewed from the Overlook point that can be easily reached by driving to the point. There is free parking for one hour at the Taughannock Overlook visitor Center.
 
But the best way is to hike to experience the mighty falls up-close at the Taughannock Falls State Park. There are many trails you can use to hike to the base of the falls or along the rim. The easiest is the Gorge Trail that takes you to the base of the waterfalls.
 
This one-mile-long flat trail can be easily done with kids and lush green trees shade the entire trail. The other trails with moderate difficulty are the North Rim Trail and the South Rim Trail that follows the gorge all the way up with some wonderful views of the gorge. 
 
If hiking is not your cup of tea, then you can take advantage of the park’s picnic areas, pavilions, and even campsites near Cayuga Lake. There is a kids’ play area, barbecue grills, and many activities like kayaking, boating, swimming, or fishing that can be enjoyed at Cayuga Lake. 
 

Taughannock Falls are about ten miles north of Ithaca, making them one of the best waterfalls in the Finger Lakes region.

Contributed by Neha Kulshrestha from Travelmelodies 

 

 

The Best Waterfalls in the South

The best Southern waterfalls are spread out across the region, so if you are in the South there is probably one nearby!

 

Burgess Falls (Tennessee)

 

USA - Tennessee - Burgess Falls, frozen with ice.

 

Located on the Falling Water River, there are actually four waterfalls here that fall over 130 feet into the river below. You can reach Burgess Fall State Park easily as a day trip from Nashville since the drive is just about ninety minutes. 

 

 

Catawba Falls (North Carolina)

 

USA - Catawba Falls (North Carolina)

 

Part of the Pisgah National Forest, Catawba Falls is known for being one of the most popular waterfalls close to Asheville. Located in Old Fort, North Carolina, it takes an easy, quiet drive to get there and the facilities include a very large, dirt parking lot and a pit toilet. There is only one trail with a clearly marked map and visitors will hike a little under 3 miles roundtrip to the waterfall.
 
The trail closely follows a large creek so hikers listen to gurgling water sounds as they cross streams and walk on the dirt path. There is a slight incline and the path isn’t accessible for strollers or wheelchairs, but most people 4 years and older will have no problem with this trail. The waterfall itself is beautiful! Its waters run wide and tall, with shallow pools at the base that are perfect for splashing and lounging.
 
Fallen logs and large rocks at the base of the falls are fun for climbing; be sure to keep an eye out for salamanders and other wildlife. See other nearby waterfall options in this list of Asheville hikes!

 

Contributed by Stephanie from Explore More Clean Less

 

Cumberland Falls (Kentucky)

 

USA - Cumberland Falls (Kentucky)

 

Sometimes referred to as Litlle Niagara and the Niagara of the South, Cumberland Falls is located on the Cumberland River in southeastern Kentucky. Fun fact: it’s the only place in the entire western hemisphere where you can regularly see a moonbow!

 

 

Mirror Lake Waterfall (Arkansas)

 

USA - Mirror Lake Waterfall (Arkansas)

 

One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Arkansas, Mirror Lake Waterfall is found in the Blanchard Springs Recreation Area near Mountain View, Arkansas. Mirror Lake Trail is a loop trail that can be enjoyed by the entire family. The trail leads to the aptly named Mirror Lake and its magnificent waterfall.

 

This is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state, and with such an easy hike to get there, Mirror Lake Waterfall makes for the perfect day trip.

 

Watch the crystal clear water flow and enjoy a moment of serenity. After your serene above-ground experience, you can check out the Blanchard Springs Caverns, or get some history in by visiting the Old Mill.

 

 

Ruby Falls (Tennessee)

 

USA - Tennessee - The ruby falls, an underground falls in the caverns of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee - Image

 

As America’s highest underground waterfall, it measures 145 ft and is located 1120 ft below ground. This is one of the top travel destinations of Tennessee! 

 

Getting there is easy, as it is located just a few minutes from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Parking is free! 

 

You will need to book the tickets online, and you have a choice of the Classic tour, or depending on the season, a special event. The tickets include entry to the falls as well as a guide who will share its history and how it came to be a tourist attraction.

 

It’s a short walk from the basement elevator, and you will be under the cover of the mountains above your heads. Expect a surreal experience, as the underground cavern is lighted up in hues of purple, pink, and orange. You would wish that time stopped still there and then. 

 

When the tour is over, consider going to the 100+ years old Incline Railway for beautiful views of the city and its surroundings. After returning to Chattanooga, check out the Aquarium, Walnut Street Bridge, and be sure to stroll along the Tennessee Riverwalk. 

 

The tour costs $22.95 for adults and $12.95 for children between 3-12 years old. It lasts about seventy-five minutes.

 

Contributed by Shang from Zip Up and Go! 

 

 

The Best Waterfalls in the Midwest

When you think about the Midwest, you probably start to think about America’s amber waves of grain. However, there’s more to the Midwest than wide-open prairie. Here are the best waterfalls in the Midwest. 

 

Caribou Falls (Minnesota)

 

USA - Caribou Falls (Minnesota)

 

I’ve been a rebel nearly all my life and ignoring TLC’s advice of “don’t go chasing waterfalls.” Thankfully, I have one of the best waterfalls in the U.S. right in my backyard. Pack your bags and head to Northern Minnesota to seek out Caribou Falls. 

 

One of Minnesota North Shore’s hidden gems is Caribou Falls. Unlike the other state parks that dot Minnesota’s North Shore, Caribou Falls is secluded and protected from tourist traffic. The falls are a favorite among locals and off-the-beaten-path enthusiasts. Located on the Lake Superior Hiking Trail, the hike out to Caribou Falls is ideal for nature enthusiasts who enjoy a quieter scene.

 

The hike to the falls is less than a mile roundtrip and well marked. In recent years, the state has made the turnoff for Caribou Falls a wayside rest area, which has updated the trail significantly. The falls are also completely free to view — win! 

 

What’s unique about Caribou Falls is that you are able to swim in the waterfall’s cool spray relatively uninterrupted. I make it a habit to visit the falls twice a year. Every trip I make to the falls, there is maybe one other group admiring the falls with me. Usually, I have the place all to myself. 

 

The Caribou Falls are hugged by the Superior Forests’ dense foliage and is an ideal way to cool off on a hot day or after a long hike. It’s a spot on Minnesota’s North Shore you won’t want to miss.

 

Contributed by Martha from Quirky Globetrotter 

 

 

Hocking Hills (Ohio)

 

USA - Hocking Hills (Ohio)

 

When you think of waterfalls, Ohio does not immediately come to mind! However, my home state has the most stunning waterfalls to rival any others. One of the best Ohio waterfalls and one of the most well-known places to see stunning waterfalls in the USA is Hocking Hills State Park in southeastern Ohio. 
 
And arguably a popular trio of waterfalls can be seen in one easy hike. A wonderful way to spend a morning or afternoon and get out into nature.
 
There never seems to be enough parking at any of the trailheads leading to the popular waterfalls. So plan your day exploring these Ohio waterfalls to arrive very early in the morning or later on in the afternoon. Cars are often ticketed or towed away. There is no fee to park or enter the state park.
 
Upper Falls signifies the beginning of the Old Man’s Cave area of Old Man’s Creek. 
 
Hiking Old Man’s Cave Trail down into the gorge is accessible by traversing many sets of stairways. If you want to see the entire gorge, one-half mile, begin at the Upper Falls. 
 
Along the Old Man’s Cave trail, you will find the seasonal Middle Falls. Depending on the time of year you are searching for waterfalls in Ohio, will determine the strength of the flow.
 
Be sure to stop and look at the cave that gives this scenic area its name, Old Man’s Cave.
 
Admittedly Upper Falls is the more photographed and popular waterfall in the area. But continuing to hike to get downstream to the Lower Falls is definitely worth your time and effort.
 
It is certainly as popular as its sister falls, but way less crowded. Lower Falls is a stunning drop waterfall of 25 feet to the creek below it. 
 
Contributed by Linda Malys Yore from Linda On The Run

 

 

Illgen Falls (Minnesota)

 

USA - Illgen falls (Minnesota)

 

Located in Tettegouche State Park, Illgen Falls is a forty-foot high fall on the Baptism River. You can’t actually reach it from the trails in the park trails, so you will need to navigate your own way there, though it’s easy enough. It’s a popular spot for photography and adrenaline junkies can enjoy cliff jumping here.

 

 

Manitou Falls (Wisconsin)

 

USA - Manitou Falls (Wisconsin)

 

One of the prettiest waterfalls in Wisconsin is without any doubt the great Manitou Falls in Northern Wisconsin. You can distinguish between the Big Manitou Falls and the Manitou Falls. Both are located in the Pattison State Park just south of Superior, Wisconsin.
 
Did you know that the Big Manitou Falls is Wisconsin’s highest waterfall with 165 feet tall? This natural attraction is absolutely jaw-dropping and makes a great destination for a hike.
 
Once you are at the entrance gate of the park, it’s only a short walk to reach this natural gem. Indeed, the Manitou Falls Trail is a 4-mile loop trail located near the town of Superior. If you want to continue hiking, you’ll be spoilt with options since there are plenty of hiking trails in the Pattison State Park awaiting you. 
 
If you plan to stay longer, make sure to stay in a lake cabin or in one of the best resorts in Northern Wisconsin.

 

Contributed by Paulina from Paulina on the Road.

 

 

Wildcat Canyon (Illinois)

 

USA - Wildcat Canyon (Illinois)

 

Situated in Starved Rock State Park, Wildcat Canyon Falls is seventy-five feet high. Keep in mind that this is a seasonal waterfall that is only visible during certain times of the year, so check ahead of your trip if the falls are going.

 

 

The Best Waterfalls in the Southwest

The American Southwest is practically dripping with gorgeous national parks and monuments, so of course, it also has some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the USA. Here are the best waterfalls in the Southwest. 

 

Grand Falls (Arizona)

 

USA - Grand Falls (Arizona)

 

Nicknamed the Chocolate Falls for its brown, Willy Wonka factory hugh, Grand Falls is almost two hundred feet high. Located in Navajo Nation, this is another seasonal waterfall that appears during monsoon season. If you want to see it in all its glory, use this information from Navajo Nation to determine the best time to travel.

 

 

Gorman Falls (Texas)

 

USA - Gorman Falls (Texas)

 

One of Texas’s few cascading waterfalls, Gorman Falls is an important ecological site since it produces travertine. To get here you will need to hike a little under three miles, but it’s one of the most stunning spots in all of Texas and well worth it.

 

 

Havasu Falls (Arizona)

 

USA - Havasu Falls (Arizona)

 

With surging turquoise blue water contrasted against stunning red sandstone, Havasu Falls is home to 5 stunning waterfalls. When you see these bright blue waterfalls in pictures, they almost don’t look real, but I can assure you that they are equally breathtaking in person and are definitely my favorite waterfalls in the US. While getting to Havasu Falls requires a 10-mile hike, it is totally worth it to be rewarded with the spectacular scenery of this desert oasis.

 

Located in Arizona, Havasu Falls is on Havasupai territory in the Grand Canyon. In order to visit, a permit and a 3-night camping reservation are required, and the price of the reservations currently costs between $100-$125/night per person. Despite the high price, getting a Havasu Falls permit is extremely competitive, and a limited number of permits are awarded through a lottery system each year.

 

Camping for three nights at Havasu Falls gives you plenty of time to wander around the area and explore all 5 of the amazing waterfalls. You can swim in the aquamarine water and scramble the sandstone cliffs. After basking in the splendor of this surreal place, you won’t want to leave!

 

Contributed by Allison Boyle from She Dreams of Alpine.

 

 

Nambe Falls (New Mexico)

 

USA - New Mexico - Nambe falls on the Nambe Indian Reservation in New Mexico

 

Located in Nambe Pueblo, this beautiful waterfall is just a short hike from the recreation area. You can also enjoy time at Nambe Lake while your here. Visitors can buy a day pass or choose to camp overnight.

 

 

Turner Falls (Oklahoma)

 

USA - Oklahoma - Level view of Turner Falls waterfall and lake in Davis, Oklahoma

 

The pretties of Oklahoma’s waterfalls, Turner Falls is also the tallest waterfall in Oklahoma at 77 feet. It is part of the Turner Falls Park in Davis, OK. It was named after a Scottish immigrant by the name of Mazeppa Thomas Turner who discovered the falls in 1878.

 

There’s a pool at the bottom of the falls, and this is a popular spot for families to go swimming during the summer.

 

The park itself covers 1,500 acres, and there are many things to see and do. In addition to the falls, there are also caves and nature trails. It even has a walk-in castle which can be fun for the kids.

 

 

The Best Waterfalls in the Mountain West

Famous for incredible scenery and national parks like Yellowstone and Mesa Verde, the Mountain West has..mountains. And where there are mountains, there is falling water! Here are the best Mountain West waterfalls to find.

 

Kanarra Creek Waterfall (Utah)

 
USA - Kanarra Creek Waterfall (Utah)
 
Kanarra Creek Falls is a stunning waterfall in Utah located about an hour outside of Zion National Park in Kanarraville.  This hike is maintained by the city and you need to pay a $12 permit fee which is limited to 150 hikers per day.  There are also bathrooms at the trailhead that you can use.
 
The hike to the main waterfall is about 1.5 miles in one way.  There is a second waterfall further in but the main waterfall is the top attraction.  Kanarra Falls is in a slot canyon, so the first part of the trail is dirt but then once you get into the canyon the trail is covered in a couple of inches of water.
 
There is no water available for hikers along the way so make sure you bring a reusable water bottle full of water.  As you gain about 500 feet in elevation on this hike it is important to stay hydrated.  Also, remember to leave no trace and bring whatever you took into the canyon back out with you again.
 
Contributed by Nicole from American SW Obsessed.
 
 

Lower Calf Creek (Utah)

 

USA - Lower Calf Creek Falls (Utah)

 

The Lower Calf Creek Falls trail is one of the most popular waterfall hikes in Utah for good reason.  It’s a towering 126-foot high waterfall in the middle of the desert, after all.  You can find the trailhead at the Calf Creek Campground in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, which most people pass through on a road trip through here anyway. 
 
The hike is six miles round-trip and totally worth it.  It’s an easy hike thanks to a lack of elevation change.  The hardest part is that a lot of the hike is in deep sand, so your legs will probably get tired.  There is a $5 day-use fee.
 
If you want to spend a little more time in the area, do the 100 Hands Pictograph hike, the Escalante River Trail (or at least part of it to see some rock art), or the Upper Calf Creek Falls Trail.  There are tons of places to explore in the area, like Hole in the Rock Road and all of its slot canyons, Devil’s Garden, and Coyote Gulch.  
 
 
Contributed by Megan from Red Around the World.

 

 

Lower Falls (Wyoming)

 

USA - Lower Falls (Wyoming)

 

Visiting Wyoming’s Lower Falls is one of the most popular things to do in Yellowstone National Park. To visit Lower Falls, you must first pay admission to enter Yellowstone. Admission to the national park is $25 per vehicle and also includes admission to neighboring Grand Teton National Park. 

 

Lower Falls plunges 308 feet into the Yellowstone River and is the tallest waterfall in Yellowstone. This majestic and mighty waterfall is nearly twice the height of Niagara Falls, and at its peak, more than 63,000 gallons of water rush over the falls per second.

 

Lower Falls can be viewed from several lookout points, although moderate hiking is required to get to all of them. The most picturesque view of the falls is known as the Grand View. From this lookout point, you get a direct view looking through the canyon at this awesome waterfall. The hike down to the viewpoint includes a series of switchbacks, steps, and some uneven terrain.

 

You can also hike down to the brink of Lower Falls for another popular lookout spot. From the viewing platform, you can look directly over the edge of the waterfall, which gives you a great perspective of the sheer power of Lower Falls. Both of these hikes can be challenging, particularly on the way back up, but the chance to see this beautiful sight is well worth the effort!

 

Contributed by Melissa from Parenthood and Passports.

 

 

Nevada Falls (Nevada)

 

USA - Nevada Falls (Nevada)

 

There is no shortage of beautiful waterfalls in the United States, but what made Nevada Fall unique is the magical ambiance with a lot of mist and jaw-dropping view at the top of the falls. Nevada Fall is 3 miles away from the Yosemite Valley and just 1.5 miles from Vernal Fall.

 

So, basically you can visit two falls while hiking the Mist Trail. The hike is moderate with a total elevation gain of 1900 feet. Depending on your capability, this 7.2-mile round trip can take around 6-7 hours to complete.

The mist trail is very popular and mostly crowded up to Vernal Fall. The trail is mostly paved and pretty much uphill the whole way even though it’s not a long hike, it’s pretty tough. Vernal Fall is 317 feet and it offers a breathtaking view from a distance.

 

The part from Vernal Fall to Nevada Fall is not the same. Continue along the Mist Trail for another one and half miles to arrive at the top of Nevada Fall at 594 feet high. The crowd is very less here, so you can enjoy the beauty of this impressive fall without any chaos. The hike is strenuous but the view from the top of Nevada falls is really rewarding.

 

Pro Tips: Start early and be very careful as the hike is very steep. Wear hiking shoes and carry extra water and food.

 

Contributed by Trijit Mallick from BudgetTravelBuff.

 

 

Rifle Falls (Colorado)

 

USA - Rifle Falls (Colorado)

 

Rifle Falls is one of our favorite waterfalls in the States. We discovered it during a pit stop on our USA road trip but could have easily spent many days exploring the state park and camping nearby. 

 

Rifles Falls in Colorado is located just west of Glenwood Springs before Grand Junction. Located in its namesake state park, the 70 foot (21 meter) waterfall is split into three separate falls which cascade over the limestone cliff with ease. 

 

It is not hard to reach Rifle Falls either. It is a short 15-minute walk from the parking lot over a paved walkway. There are great picnic facilities if you want to stop for lunch as we did as well as interpretive signage nearby.

 

If it is a hot day don’t miss swimming in the creek. There is no beach but if you can lounge on rocks near the water. Otherwise, there are some great trails which criss-cross the park.

 

Contributed by Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel.

 

 

Shoshone Falls (Idaho)

 

USA - Shoshone Falls (Idaho)

 

With its greenish water and countless cascades when in full flow, there is a reason why Shoshone is called the Niagra of the West. This breathtaking waterfall is in Twin Falls, Idaho.

 

It’s part of the Shoshone Falls Park, with a lot of recreational facilities such as a boat ramp, a swimming area, playgrounds, and picnic areas. You can walk out on the Perrine bridge to get some great pictures.

 

I have been to this waterfall more than a few times, and every time I loved it even more. If you’re coming from the east, you’ll need to get off the Highway 30 and take the right turn for Champlin Road. That road will take you to Shoshone Falls.

 

There is no hiking involved. Walking from the parking spot to the main observation deck takes only a couple of minutes or so. Late spring is absolutely the best time to visit, after the snow melts.

 

From March 1 and September 30, there is an entrance fee of $5 per car. If you arrive during the off-season, there is no entry fee.

 
 
Contributed by Deb from  The Visa Project.

 

 

The Best Waterfalls on the West Coast

America’s west coast is famous for beautiful lighthouses and rugged shoreline, but there are some fantastic waterfalls to explore here as well!

 

Burney Falls (California)

 

USA - Burney Falls (California)

 

This relatively short but mighty waterfall is a must if you’re cruising through California on a West Coast road trip. At only 129 feet, Burney Falls isn’t the tallest waterfall you’ll see in the state but wow, is it powerful!
 
After taking the short walk downhill, and reaching the base, you’ll be greeted with the roaring water of Burney. You will barely be able to talk because the falls are so loud and depending on how close you get and the wind pattern that day, you will be getting heavily misted too.
 
The waterfall was created over a million years ago and now flows at over 100 million gallons a day.
What makes Burney Falls so cool is the wideness of the cascade and the fact that it appears some of the water comes out of nowhere! You’ll see water pouring out from the top but also from the porous mossy volcanic rocks to the pool below.
 
– Burney Falls is a hot spot and it’s no secret, so I highly recommend coming in fall when the summer crowds have died down a bit.
– Bring cash as there is a parking fee.
– There is a small hike to get to and from Burney Falls. It’s only a mile but it’s a bit steep going down and coming back up. If you can’t do the hike, there is a viewing platform although the best views are from down below.
– Luckily this waterfall is gushing year round so it will be a great stop any time of year.
– Lots of misting here so bring extra lens cloths if you have a camera.
 
Contributed by Nina from Where in the World is Nina.
 
 

McWay Falls (California)

 

USA - McWay Falls (California)

 

McWay Falls is a gorgeous waterfall on the Big Sur Coast in California. The picture-perfect stream of water gushes out from the cliff and drops about 80 feet onto a pristine beach below, with the ocean waves presenting a pretty contrast. It’s definitely a scene for your Instagram account!

 

To get to McWay Falls, simply drive on Highway One to Big Sur! McWay Falls is actually one of the most beautiful places to stop on a Pacific Coast Highway road trip.

 

You can view McWay Falls right from Highway One. But there is no parking, and you may not be able to find a safe spot by the side of the road. Plus, the view is not completely clean from the road. On the plus side, this viewing point costs no money!

 

The safer and more comfortable way to see McWay Falls is to access the overlook in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. The overlook can be reached via a short hike, 0.6-mile round trip. It is an easy walk, and you might even see California condors as you walk. The parking fee is USD10. Check before you visit to find out whether the trail is open because the area is subject to mudslides in winter storms and trails can erode.

 

While in the park, you might want to hike one or two of the other trails, if you have the time. Or drive further up (or down) the Big Sur Coast: it is one of the most scenic parts of the USA!

 

Contributed by Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles.

 

 

Multnomah Falls (Oregon)

 

USA - Multnomah Falls (Oregon)

 

Located just outside Portland, Multnomah Falls is one of Oregon’s most spectacular waterfalls. The icy waters of the two-tier waterfall cascade 620 feet into the Multnomah Creek below and it is framed perfectly by the Benson Bridge which crosses between the two tiers of the Falls. The combination of the bridge and waterfall has made Multnomah Falls one of the most visited spots in Oregon and it is also one of the best things to do in Portland with kids.

 

Multnomah Falls is situated in the Columbia River Gorge, a canyon that cuts through the Cascades Mountain Range and has the highest concentration of waterfalls in the US. Most visitors to Multnomah Falls continue along the historic Columbia River Highway which runs alongside the gorge. Latourell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Wahkeena Falls are among the many beautiful waterfalls along the drive which is also home to the magnificent Portland Women’s Forum Scenic Viewpoint.

 

A 40-minute drive from Portland, Multnomah falls is most easily reached by rental car or tour from Portland. The base of the Falls is a short walk from the parking lot. It is also possible to hike to Benson Bridge and to the top of the Falls if you’re feeling adventurous!

 

Contributed by Elaine & David from Show Them the World.

 

 

Palouse Falls (Washington)

 

USA - Palouse Falls (Washington)

 
Palouse Falls is located in Palouse Falls State Park in the Palouse region of eastern Washington. An impressive drop of water at a height of 198 m surrounded by basalt cliffs makes this waterfall very special.

 

Palouse Falls Park offers a full experience for its visitors. Hiking, paragliding to camping, and mountain biking are just some of the activities.

 

And to be a nature lover without the excessive need for some activities, Palouse Falls is just the place for you. Cameras or accessories for painting are one of the possibilities for recreation and enjoyment. Most of them come to admire the impressive waterfall and its beauty.

 

They also offer organized boat rides, or you can easily rent and enjoy your privacy. Visitors will say that the best time to visit in the spring is when it is too warm, and nature is taken and takes your breath away. Everything is green, and wildflowers bloom indefinitely.

 

Contributed by Mark from Vogatech.

 

 

Proxy Falls (Oregon)

 

USA - Proxy Falls (Oregon)

 

There are some pretty crazy, beautiful, and amazing waterfalls around Oregon but one of the most popular and most photographed has to be Proxy Falls. Just a little over an hour outside of Bend, Oregon in the Willamette Forest, you’ll find the trailhead to get to Proxy.
 
This waterfall doesn’t take too much effort to get to which makes it accessible for almost everyone. You’ll meander through a forest filled with lava rocks for about a mile until you reach a viewpoint for the waterfall. You may sit here and enjoy the falls or continue down to the base of the falls for a closer look.
 
If you choose to climb down do note it gets a bit more dangerous because there are some downed trees to scramble over. To get even closer, you’ll need to scramble more trees and rocks that are getting sprayed from the falls, making them a bit slippery. 
 
If you’re a bit more adventurous, the extra efforts are worth it because when you look up from the base, you’ll feel the power of the falls. What makes Proxy Falls so cool is the way the water tumbles down. The waterfall is almost like a curtain dribbling down the verdant moss and jagged black lava rocks creating a cascading veil of water. This is one of the best waterfalls near Bend, so if you’re in the area, you should certainly visit.
 
– The hike is about 2 miles round trip and includes Upper Proxy Falls (the main star) and Lower Proxy Falls.
– Don’t forget to display your Northwest Forest pass or have a $5 bill on you to pay for the day pass.
– Photographers – bring ALL your lens cloths, the misting here will have you wiping very often.
– The road to get to Proxy Falls is open during summers but is closed in winters so before heading out make sure the road has been opened.
 
 
Contributed by Nina and Garrett from Oregon is for Adventure.
 
 

Snoqualmie Falls (Washington)

 

USA - Snoqualmie Falls (Washington)

 

Snoqualmie Falls, located right outside of Seattle, Washington, is a wonderful site that will add an awesome experience to any Seattle adventure. The falls are a 270-foot drop that appears small from a distance due to the sheer size and power of the water flowing from the river into a deep pool below.

 

As you come closer to Snoqualmie Falls, it grows and grows until you get close enough to realize that this incredible waterfall is truly massive, and stunningly beautiful, making it one of the best waterfalls in the United States.

 

Snoqualmie Falls is a short drive from Seattle, just 30 minutes west. The downtown atmosphere quickly melts away as you move into the Cascade Range, a wilderness of tall trees and high peaks. From the Snoqualmie Falls trailhead, you will be able to see the waterfall in all its glory from above. Take the short trail (less than a mile) down to the base of the falls, where you will see the truly awesome power of this waterfall.

 

Once you’ve had your fill of the view at the base of the falls, take the short trek back up to the top. Take in the view at the top one more time, and then continue your Seattle adventure. Enjoy!

 

Contributed by Zach from Ruhls of the Road

 

 

Tumalo Falls (Oregon)

 

USA - Tumalo Falls (Oregon)

 

Central Oregon is home to dozens of beautiful waterfalls, some right off the road, and some that are quite a hike to get to. Tumalo Falls is a nice in-between of the two: you can hike there from a nearby trailhead (around seven miles roundtrip) or take the short less-than-0.5 mile walk from the parking lot.

 
Tumalo Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls outside of Bend, Oregon because of its accessibility and beauty. It is only around 14 miles from downtown Bend.
 
Tumalo Falls is a 97-foot tall waterfall, and the National Park Service has built a nice overlook above the falls to look down on it. Or, you can find the trail that will take you to the base of the falls and walk up to it or behind it. Tumalo Falls is a beautiful waterfall in the middle of the Deschutes National Forest and the scenery in the area is beautiful.
 
There are so many scenic places to visit in Central Oregon, but Tumalo Falls is a must-see for any visitors in the area.
 
Contributed by Jaclyn from Your Travel Spark.
 
 

Yosemite Falls (California)

 

USA - Yosemite Falls (California)

 

Yosemite NP has something for everyone. From incredible views, hiking opportunities, and wildlife spotting, it’s a great place to spend a few days getting back to nature.
 
And those chasing waterfalls won’t be disappointed, with the park boasting over 25 within its boundaries! Each can be reached with varying levels of difficulty but for those that like a little bit of a challenge, the Upper Yosemite Falls is well worth the effort.
 
It’s a 7.6-mile round-trip, with 3,000 feet of elevation gain thanks to countless switchbacks, and taking anywhere between 6-10 hours to complete the loop is certainly enough to get the heart pumping! But the reward is incredible when in the middle of your hike you find yourself standing above the valley peering over the edge of the roaring, majestic Yosemite Falls. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Yosemite for adventure lovers.
 
And for those not excited by a serious hike, getting to Lower Yosemite Falls can be reached from the meadow below by a 1-mile loop.
 
Contributed by Vicki of Make Time To See The World

 

 

The Best Waterfalls in Alaska 

America’s largest state isn’t just a dream for those looking for scenic cruises. If you want to road trip the forty-ninth state, you’re in for a real treat! Here are the best waterfalls in Alaska.

 

Bridal Veil Falls

 

USA - Bridal Veil Falls (Alaska)

 

The Bridal Veil Falls in Alaska are some of the easiest accessible waterfalls in the state. When driving to the small harbor town of Valdez you will pass them near Thompson Pass.
 
The water stream ends in the Lowe River. The waterfall is also particularly popular in winter for ice climbing. You can also hike the trail out there getting to a great viewpoint. 
 
Valdez is one of the major tourist towns in Alaska offering cruises, kayaking, hiking, and more outdoor activities

 

Contributed by Antonette Spaan from We12Travel.

 

 

Nugget Falls

 

USA - Nugget Falls (Alaska)

 

Located off Nugget Glacier, this waterfall also goes by the names Nugget Creek Falls and Mendenhall Glacier Falls. The falls are two tiers coming down almost four hundred feet in total. 

 

 

Thunder Bird Falls

 

USA - Thunder Bird Falls (Alaska)

 

A popular two-mile hike brings you to Thunder Bird Falls on the Eklutna River. In winter the falls freeze and produce beautiful ice sculptures. 

 

 

The Best Waterfalls in Hawaii

The islands of Hawaii are luscious and full of beautiful waterfalls to swim under (or nearby). Here are the best waterfalls in Hawaii.

 

Akaka Falls

 
USA - Akaka Falls (Hawaii)
 
One of the most beautiful waterfalls to visit and witness in Hawaii would be Akaka Falls on the Big Island. Akaka Falls is more than a waterfall but also a gorgeous botanical garden that you can visit on a scenic loop trail with beautiful tropical flowers, plants, giant bamboo, and stunning beauty all around in this lush tropical wonderland.
 
Akaka Falls is a state park located about 11 miles north of Hilo on the Hamakua coastline and drops over 4422 feet from the top to the valley floor. Akaka falls in Hawaiian means split or chink or separation, on the loop is also another waterfall – Kahuna falls which drops about 300 feet.
 
Both waterfalls in the state park through a deep gorge is a unique experience to see a tropical rain forest, beautiful tropical scenery, and two magnificent waterfalls to see and capture on photographs. 
 
The loop trail is all paved but you have to climb a small set of stairs and there are some uphill areas to walk through along with some downhill areas going into a small ravine area. The loop is less than .4 miles around and a beautiful experience to experience on the Hamakua coastline of the Big Island and definitely one of the top attractions to visit on the island.
 
Contributed by Noel from This Hawaii Life.
 
 

Hanakapiai Falls

 

USA - Hanakapiai Falls (Hawaii)

 

The Hanakapiai Falls Trail is one of the most popular hikes on Kauai. It leads you to the first part of the Kalalau Trail towards Hanakpiai Beach before heading inwards along the Hankapiai Stream towards the booming 300ft+ Hankapiai Waterfall in the depths of the jungle.

 

The Hanakpiai Falls Trail is 4 miles in and 4 miles out. However, many hikers stop at the beach and turn back, opting to hike only to the beach and not the falls. This makes the journey only 2 miles in and 2 miles out.

 

The trail begins with an incline and it never really lets you relax from that point onwards with slippery mud, boulders, and tree roots are just a few of the obstacles you will encounter on the winding path that switches back and forth as it leads you along the Na Pali coast. 

 

Hanakapiai Falls is a 300ft booming shower that seems to fall out of the sky into the emerald pool below. The water is usually freezing but many people still take a dip to cool off and enjoy the shade the amphitheater creates over the pool. This is a truly magical spot and one of the best waterfalls hikes on Kauai.

 
 
Contributed by Jackson Groves from Journey Era.

 

 

Manoa Falls

 

USA - Manoa Falls (Hawaii)

 

Manoa Falls is my favorite waterfall in the USA. I love the hike to get to the waterfall. The trail is stunning with lush green jungle vegetation. You walk through the beautiful rainforest, including eucalyptus trees and a bamboo forest before getting to the waterfall. 

 

Manoa Falls Trail is an easy hike and is great when traveling with baby and toddlers, children, and adults. It is a short 0.8 miles hike to the 150-foot tall waterfall, or 1.6 miles return. Although it is an easy dirt track, some parts can get muddy.

 

There are also stairs as you get closer to the waterfall, and it can be a little rocky and steep. The trail is mostly shady, which means the trail doesn’t get too hot. The best way to get to Manoa Falls is by car. The Oahu bus is also available. Entry to the falls if free.

 

There’s a lot to do near Manoa Falls, including shopping at the Ala Moana Center, relaxing at Waikiki Beach, hiking to the summit of Diamond Head Crater, or getting a bite to eat at The Cheesecake Factory. Manoa Falls is a fantastic waterfall to visit in the USA. 

 

Contributed by Clara from Petite Capsule.

 

 

Wailua Falls

 

USA - Wailua Falls (Hawaii)

 

Wailua Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Maui, and with good reason! Located near the end of the famous road to Hana drive, Wailua Falls towers nearly eighty feet in the air and emerges majestically right off the road.

 

The waterfall is viewable and easily accessible without even getting out of your car. But if you’d like to get up close and personal, the falls crash directly into a small pool of water that’s accessible via a short (but slippery!) hike.

 

Know that parking is limited at Wailua Falls, but you can often find a spot or two by continuing to drive up the road and pulling off to the side. Try to go earlier or later in the day to avoid the crowds.

 

While you’re there, check out the local vendor stalls off the side of the road. I found a local jewelry maker selling turquoise necklaces, but you don’t need to spend any money here. Because of this, Wailua Falls is one of my favorite free things to do in Maui

 

Check out the Seven Sacred Pools just 10 minutes up the road, or stop at Hamoa Beach back near Hana.

 

Contributed by Ale from Sea Salt & Fog.

 

Waimea Falls

 

USA - Waimea Falls (Hawaii)

 

One of my favorite waterfalls in Hawaii (and the entire USA) is Waimea Falls, located in Oahu’s beautiful Waimea Valley.

 

Admission to the valley is $20 for adults (discounts offered for seniors, students, Hawaii residents, and children). When you get to the valley, you can choose to either hike to the falls or take a shuttle for an additional fee. I recommend doing the hike – the trail is easy for hikers of all skill levels and is considered by many to be one of the best hikes in Oahu. The trail takes you through the beautiful botanical gardens before arriving at the star attraction: Waimea Falls.

 

When you arrive at the falls, you can choose to admire it from afar or get up-close-and-personal by taking a swim in the waterfall pool. Life jackets are required for swimming in the pool, which is included in the cost of your admission ticket to the valley. There are jagged rocks in the area, so if you wish to swim I recommend wearing water shoes.

 
In addition to the falls, Waimea Valley is home to a host of cultural attractions including a traditional Hawaiian luau, lei making classes, and hula lessons.
 
Contributed by Sydney from A World in Reach

 

 

The Best Waterfalls in Puerto Rico

This island is known for beautiful jungle and historic cities, but add a few waterfalls to your Puerto Rico itinerary while you’re here.

 

Cascada La Mina

 

USA - Cascada La Mina (Puerto Rico)

 

Located in El Yunque National Forest, Cascada La Mina is located on the La Mina Trail and can be reached with a short hike of less than a mile. Since this is the most popular hike in EYNF, expect to not be alone unless you go early or during the off-season.

 

 

Chorro de Doña Juana

 

USA - Chorro de Doña Juana (Puerto Rico)

 

Off the beaten path, Chorro de Doña Juana is located in Villaba. Comprised of three smaller shoots that converge into one larger waterfall, this is one of the most popular local Instagram spots, though it’s actually much more than that – you can even swim in the pool below the falls! 

 

 

More USA Trip Inspiration

 

USA - Texas - Port Aransas - Stephanie Selife

 

Are you still trying to figure out where to go in the US? Check out my guides on the best scenic drives in America, the best American small towns, and the best historic American cities. You can also check out the best East Coast lighthouses, the best West Coast lighthouses.

 

 

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!

Before you leave for your waterfalls road trip make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’ll be away for more than a few days. I

 

I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for two years, and I happily recommend them.  If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.

 

 

Pin this Guide to the Best American Waterfalls for Your Travels!

 

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