30 of the Most Beautiful Waterfalls in the US
We’ve been exploring waterfalls all over the world the last year here on KarsTravels. Now we’re turning our eyes to the waterfalls in the US. Some have already been mentioned in the most beautiful waterfalls in North America. This time we’re focusing on the best waterfalls in US only. Get ready for the tallest, largest and highest waterfalls in US.
Waterfalls in the US: North East
Niagara Falls, New York
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.
Niagara Falls is on the border of Canada and the USA. It consists of 3 waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The last two are on the American side, the first one in Canada.
90% of the water of the river Niagara passes through the Horseshoe Falls, 10% passes the American Falls. The Horseshoe Falls are 790 meters (2600 feet) wide, this and the amount of water passing through, is what makes the Niagara Falls so spectacular. The height is only 54 meters (177 feet). The American Falls are 290 meters (950 feet) wide and 34 meters (110 feet) high.
The Niagara Falls are truly beautiful to see up close and in person. Especially if there happens to be a rainbow. It’s part of our Toronto to Halifax Road Trip. There’s no entrance fee to see the falls, but if you want to see the falls up close or from the water, you do have to pay.
You can come really close to the American Falls on a boardwalk and stairs. The Cave of the Wind tour costs $19.00 US from 13 and up and $16.00 US for 6 to 12 years old. You can also come up close to the falls aboard the Maid of the Mist. Experience the falls and the mist of the Horseshoe Falls aboard the boats. It’s $22.25 US for 13+ and $13.00 US for 6-12 years.
Tahquamenon Falls, Michigan
Contributed by Rebecca from Veggies Abroad.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to over 300 waterfalls including one of the largest east of the Mississippi, the Tahquamenon Falls. The “Rootbeer Falls” as it is nicknamed by locals, is in the state’s second-largest park and is actually two powerful waterfalls—the Upper and Lower Falls. The nickname comes from the unusual brown tinge to the water thanks to cedar tannins that have made their way into the water. Nothing to be concerned about but it does create an interesting color that you won’t forget!
At the Upper Falls, there are multiple viewing decks to get Instagram-worthy shots of the powerful cascade. Just four miles downstream at the Lower Falls. You can get a little more up close and personal by renting a rowboat for $7 a person or $20 per boat.
If you’d rather stay on land there are a myriad of hiking and biking trails, from short ½ mile jaunts to the 13-mile Rivermouth Trail. Whatever your choice there is plenty of room to explore! And, if you want to stay a little longer, consider renting a rustic or modern campsite.
Entrance to the park is covered if you have a State of Michigan Recreation Passport. If not, entrance is $17 for Michigan residents (the pass is valid for all state parks for a year) and $9 for a daily pass for non-residents.
Rainbow Falls, New York
Contributed by Mark & Kristen from Where Are Those Morgans?
Watkins Glen State Park in New York’s highly regarded Finger Lakes region is home to nineteen plunging, cascading and stunning waterfalls. And the undoubted star attraction inside the narrow Glen Creek gorge is Rainbow Falls.
Rainbow Falls is not a tall, powerful or mighty waterfall. But it is one of the most extraordinary waterfall scenes in the entire US, regularly finding itself on magazine front covers.
Beautifully crafted stone staircases and walled walkways transport visitors up through the creek, with various picturesque waterfalls serving as a wonderful warm up act.
The crescendo is a postcard perfect series of plunging waterfalls to the right, a long but razor thin waterfall gracefully dancing over rocks to the left and a gorgeous arching stone bridge completing the genuinely jaw dropping scene in the background.
Entry to Watkins Glen State Park is free, but you will pay $8 for on-site parking. However, there are three ways you can avoid the fee. Either leave your car at your hotel and walk, take a risk on exploring the gorge in under 2 hours or park on a roadside in town.
Taughannock Falls, New York
Contributed by Maggie from Pink Caddy Travelogue.
One of the most beautiful waterfalls in the US is one that’s even taller than Niagara – Taughannock Falls.
New York’s Finger Lakes region is known for its plethora of waterfalls, but one stands above all the rest (literally). Tucked away in a gorge west of Seneca Lake. Taughannock Falls flows over a rock face in a single 215-ft drop. Thus making it the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains.
The waterfall itself is stunningly picturesque, but it’s not the only reason to visit this small state park. The 2-mile round trip trail to the waterfall follows a stream at the bottom of the gorge. Sheer rock cliffs tower over both sides of the trail and the stream tumbles over a series of rapids and smaller waterfalls. The trail is completely level and almost never crowded, making for an extremely pleasant walk in the park.
The Finger Lakes region is also known for its many, many wineries, so after visiting Taughannock, hop on over to one of the Finger Lakes wineries for a tasting!
There is no entrance fee into Taughannock Falls State Park. However if you have a car, there is a $9 fee to park.
Big Manitou Falls, Wisconsin
Contributed by Paulina from Paulina On The Road.
Big Manitou Falls is situated in Wisconsin’s Douglas County, which is about 13 miles south of Superior. Big Manitou Falls has a 6.4 km loop trail in Pattison State Park. The special thing about the waterfall is that it is the fourth largest waterfall east of the Rockies and the highest in Wisconsin. It is 50.2 km tall flowing into the Black River. Travelers can easily reach there by car and it is very close to the parking lot.
Along the trail, there are multiple spots from where you can have a wonderful view of the waterfall. The trail then follows the river to Little Manitou Falls.
When you enter the park, the big Manitou Fall greets you with its beauty. It justifies the ‘big’ in its name as it has the same height as other popular falls like Niagara Falls.
It is important to know for first-time visitors that the waterfalls are not visible right from the entrance of the park. The minute you enter, you will see everything grassy. But you can hear the rumbling of the falls and after a few minutes of walking, you start to get the splashes of water. The falls are hidden behind the trees and that is why many people call it a hidden gem.
You can also opt for the Big Manitou Falls trail, which is a must-have experience. You can see about 200 different species of birds and animals. It is one of the adventurous waterfalls in Northern Wisconsin with a lot to explore.
The vehicles entering the Pattison park have to have a vehicle sticker. The cost of the sticker may vary based on its validity and the type of vehicle.
Flume Gorge, New Hampshire
Contributed by Keri from Bon Voyage with Kids.
One of the most fantastic waterfalls in the US can be found at Flume Gorge, in Lincoln, New Hampshire. Our family loved our outing to this incredible site. Which is a great stop if you are headed to North Conway, New Hampshire. It is also only about a two-hour drive from Boston, MA. This natural gorge of about 800 feet at the bottom of Mount Liberty is an awe-inspiring experience that showcases the beautiful creation of nature. Families can walk the Flume Trail, which is about a two-mile loop, that includes walking up a manmade staircase alongside the waterfall, uphill, but it is well worth it. You get an up-close and personal look at the Conway granite, the foliage, and the falls.
From the base of the Flume, you can see the Avalanche Falls, which is a 45-foot waterfall that cascades down to the Flume Brook. One of the highlights on the way to the waterfall includes a beautiful covered bridge, and there is also a covered footbridge on the loop around Flume Trail. It is a magnificent natural site in a New Hampshire state park, which is well worth a visit. It is also a great place for photos, so bring a camera, good walking shoes, and water and snacks. There is a snack bar on-site, but best to check in advance before you come. The Flume Gorge is definitely one of the best waterfalls in the US for families. There is a fee to enter. Which is Free for kids under 5 years old, $16 for kids ages 6 to 12, and $18 for anyone over age 13.
Grand Portage Falls, Minnesota
Contributed by Tom from MNTrips.
The High Falls of the Pigeon River is the main attraction of Grand Portage State Park on the border between Minnesota and Ontario. These falls, the highest in Minnesota, drop 120 feet (37 meters) down the black basalt face. The falls are an easy half-mile (800 meter) walk along an asphalt paved trail from the parking lot. One viewing platform is accessible to wheelchairs, a rarity in the state parks.
The Grand Portage falls are also the northernmost in a series of Minnesota waterfalls that empty all the rivers of northern Minnesota into Lake Superior.
The Grand Portage State Park is odd among the Minnesota State Parks for a couple of reasons: there are no camping facilities, and it’s the only one of the state parks that doesn’t require a permit to enter.
The High Falls, and many other waterfalls and rapids along the last stretch of the Pigeon River, are what gave the site its Grand Portage name. Early traders had to carry their cargoes overland for the last 8.5 miles to the Superior shore because the river could not be navigated by canoe. The actual end point of the Grand Portage was at the trading post at what is now the Grand Portage National Monument, which is six miles (10 km) south on Highway 61.
Brandywine Falls, Ohio
Contributed by Linda from Midwest Explored.
Ohio is not usually thought of for having beautiful waterfalls in the USA. And that is a shame because this Midwest state is home to the spectacular Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It is one of the most popular attractions at Ohio’s only national park.
Fed upstream from Brandywine Creek, this spectacular bridal veil waterfall boasts a 60 foot drop down to the water below!
No matter what time of year you plan to visit, you will always be in awe of these falls and the nature surrounding them. In the fall the brilliant autumnal colors of the surrounding trees are on full display. During winter the icy formations of the falls are very popular to view. And in the spring the increased water volume rushing over the falls provides quite the display of Mother Nature at her finest!
There are several locations to view Brandywine Falls via the accessible boardwalk, which allows for strollers and wheelchairs. The upper observation deck gives a fantastic bird’s eye view of the falls. There are steps that lead down to another lower deck to see them from a unique vantage point.
There are several popular hikes that take you from street level down into the gorge to view the falls at the creek level below. Be sure to wear supportive shoes as the boardwalk, steps, and trails near the falls can be slippery.
You can visit Brandywine Falls every day from dawn to dusk. As this is one of the most popular waterfalls in Ohio, plan your visit for early in the morning, or later on in the afternoon. Also, there is free parking, however, the lot fills quickly.
Waterfalls in US: South East
Ozone Falls, Tennessee
Contributed by Candice from CS Ginger.
Ozone Falls State Natural Area is home to a 110-foot-tall waterfall in eastern Tennessee. It is about two hours east of Nashville. The falls natural area is near Interstate 40 near Rockwood, TN.
Ozone Falls sits along Fall Creek. The rim of the waterfall slopes inward from the top, creating a half-dome shape along the top. A short walk from the parking lot will take you to this overhang and the top of the falls. The walk takes about 15 minutes.
You can hike down to the bottom of the waterfall as well. The hike is about 0.3 miles but is considered a moderate hike because of the elevation gain and the very rocky trail. The trail is not very wide and there are lots of big rocks you have to scamper over. As long as you are in moderately good physical condition, you should be able to make the trek down to the waterfall.
Once at the bottom, you can swim in the pool and explore the creek. Swimming in the natural water pool is difficult because of the cold water and waterfall currents. The downstream creek has milder water and is easier to swim and explore.
Ozone Falls is open from sunrise to sunset and there are no parking fees. There are no restrooms or amenities at the waterfall.
Dill Falls, North Carolina
Contributed by MacKenzie from Rainbow Travel Life.
Brevard, NC and the surrounding county is known colloquially as “The Land of Waterfalls,” and for good reason. There are over 250 in the area, but some of the most popular and breathtaking reside along Forest Heritage Scenic Byway, which makes a great day trip from Asheville. Even better, they are all completely free to visit.
Dill Falls is a special 50 foot waterfall along the byway that’s relatively easy to get to, but also wonderfully remote. It’s technically in Nantahala National Forest, but it’s less than two miles off the Byway down a dirt and gravel road. Another special aspect of Dill Falls is the two vantage points – at the end of the gravel road, there are two short trails to either view the falls from the top or the bottom. Note: the road may be closed depending on weather between December and March.
Other waterfalls around Dill Falls include Courthouse Falls, Mill Shoals, and French Broad Falls.
These are all towards the end of Forest Heritage Scenic Byway, but the beginning of the Byway holds one of the most famous waterfalls in the area, Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest. It’s 60 feet tall and gushes water – what’s really special about Looking Glass Falls is the easy access and view from the road (not to mention how cool it looks in the winter when it’s frozen)! Other waterfalls close to Looking Glass include Moore Cove Falls (you can walk behind this one) and Sliding Rock (you can slide down this one).
Catawba Falls, North Carolina
Contributed by Stephanie from Explore More Clean Less.
Catawba Falls is one the of most popular, and closest, waterfalls to the Asheville, North Carolina metro area. Located in one section of Pisgah National Forest near Old Fort, this beautiful waterfall is only a half hour from downtown!
Hike roughly 2.7 miles roundtrip on intermediate-level terrain, rock-hopping across streams and walking over roots while listening to the creek that burbles alongside the majority of the trail. The main waterfall is over 100 feet tall, with water rushing over moss-covered rocks for a fairy-tale feel. There is a small swimming hole at the base of the main lower falls as well as a few other swimming spots in the creek running down from the waterfall.
There is a large parking lot at the trailhead as well as pit toilets and trash cans, but no on-site rangers. There’s no admission fee to enter. However be sure to gas up and bring snacks and water, there aren’t any offices or gift shops nearby. Dogs are welcome but must remain leashed! Combine Catawba Falls with more local easy hikes near Asheville and make it a full day of nature exploring.
Waterfalls in the USA: Hawaii
Waimea Falls, Oahu
Contributed by Sydney from A World in Reach.
Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Waimea Falls is among the prettiest waterfalls on the island and deserves a spot on your Oahu bucket list.
Waimea Falls is located in the scenic Waimea Valley, home to a lush botanical garden and attractions spotlighting the history of the area.
Admission to Waimea Valley is $20, with discounts available for seniors, students, and Hawaii locals. You can opt to take the ¾ mile walk through the botanic garden to get to the falls, or pay extra for a ticket on the shuttle bus.
The walk to the waterfall is a relatively easy stroll and most of the trail is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. Once you get to the falls, you can cool off with a swim in the waterfall or simply admire its beauty. Swimming is included in the price of admission – lifejackets are required and are provided on-site.
In addition to the waterfall, you can also check out Waimea Valley’s luau, take a tour of the botanical garden, or go on a walking tour to learn more about the history of the valley.
Waimoka Falls, Maui
Contributed by Karee from Our Woven Journey.
Waimoku Falls is a stunning waterfall in the Haleakala National Forest on the island of Maui. Its 400 ft. drop makes it the tallest waterfall in Maui. Since it is only accessible by hiking the Pipiwai Trail, this hike is one of the most popular things to do in Maui.
Pipiwai Trail isn’t particularly hard, however it isn’t easy, either. The first part of the trail has several sets of steep steps and the trail is often quite muddy. Once you get through that part, you’ll find a wooden boardwalk and a trek through a beautiful bamboo forest on the way to the falls.
Although you’ll pass other waterfalls along the way, you’ll need to plan a four-mile round trip hike up a 600 ft incline to get to Waimoku Falls and back. This takes most people 2-3 hours. Mosquitoes can be fierce along the trail, so bring bug spray and plan on spraying yourself in the parking lot before you begin the hike.
Waimoku Falls is located at mile marker 41 along the famous Road to Hana, one of the famous road trips in the world. Because it’s part of the National Forest, there is a $30 entrance fee per vehicle.
Waterfalls in US: North West
Shoshone Falls, Idaho
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.
The Shoshone Falls, Northeast of the city of Twin Falls, are nicknamed the “Niagara of the West”. The waterfall is on the Snake River in South-Central Idaho. The Shoshone Falls are 65 meters (212 feet) in height and 300 meters (1000 feet) in width. They’re 14 meters (45 feet) higher than Niagara Falls.
It’s a cataract waterfall and the tallest of several on the Snake River. Right before Shoshone Falls. The Snake River rushes over a series of rapids and then plunges over a vertical, horseshoe shaped cliff. Thus providing the dramatic view of the falls. In Spring time the falls look to be a single block. Later in the year in Summer and Fall, it’s four or more separate drops.
The falls are located in the Shoshone Falls State Park. You can access the south bank of the Snake River at the park. There’s a $5.00 vehicle fee from April till September. In the park you can view the falls from an overlook or on the trail system along the south rim of the Snake River Canyon.
St. Mary Falls & Virginia Falls, Montana
Contributed by Alex from Wander With Alex.
Glacier National Park should be on every waterfall lover’s bucket list. Glacier National Park is located in northwestern Montana and is home to over 200 gorgeous waterfalls! St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls are two highly recommended hikes that end with strikingly beautiful views of waterfalls. These hikes are considered moderate and great for families looking to experience one of nature’s most stunning gifts!
St. Mary Falls is a 1.7-mile scenic hike that first begins downhill through a scorched forest. In 2015, a fire referred to as the Reynolds Creek fire destroyed the area. Although burned, the openness of the area gives way to magnificent views of several mountains. As you continue through the forest, you’ll begin to walk along the St. Mary River and journey past brilliantly blue waters. Continue on, and you’ll soon see a bridge in the distance. You’re close! As you approach, you’ll begin to hear the crashing sounds of a waterfall! Cross the bridge and you’ll be standing directly in front of a magnificent creation of nature.
Once you are finished visiting St. Mary Falls, you can continue to Virginia Falls. You’ll cross several creeks along the way and begin to walk uphill. Next, you’ll begin to witness small cascades as you navigate your way through narrower paths. You’ll then begin to hear the crashing sounds of Virginia Falls in the distance. Once you arrive, you will be stunned by the enormous waterfall that stands before you.
Hidden Falls, Wyoming
Contributed by Nick from The World Overload.
This is a great 100ft cascading waterfall. The natural beauty of the waterfall is only heightened by the surrounding green of the forest. It is pristine and you will feel yourself becoming even more attuned to the wildlife smells and sounds. It’s vivid and you’ll definitely want to get some pictures while you’re here. I highly recommend getting to the park early. As a popular destination don’t be surprised to see large crowds of avid hikers, tourists, and nature enthusiasts all day around Grand Tetons.
You’ll find this beautiful waterfall located in Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming. Clear skies, cool air, can’t lose (yes I know it’s a Friday Night Lights reference, but I find it really does apply here)
This waterfall is part of one of the most popular trails of Grand Tetons. It’s the only accessible waterfall in Grand Tetons and is easy to get to. The snowmelts from the mountaintop help feed the waterfall. Even in the summer it’s going to be cold so if you feel like splashing a bit at the edge of the bottom be prepared. It also includes spectacular views overlooking Jenny Lake and if you keep going up you can get a breathtaking view at inspiration point.
As a national park, all fees go towards upkeep and salary of the staff. It’s not much and the passes you purchase are good for 7 days. So, if you are possibly thinking of staying in the area for an extra day don’t worry about paying a second time to enjoy this beautiful area.
Grand Teton Entrance Fee – Private Vehicle – $35.00 – Motorcycle – $30.00 – Hiker/Biker – $20.00
Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Contributed by Debbie from World Adventurists.
Cascading down 635 feet, and over three drops, Multnomah Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls in Oregon. It is also one of the most iconic, largest, and easily recognizable natural wonders of Oregon. This waterfall is one you will not want to miss!
An easy waterfall to access, it is a short five-minute walk from the parking lot to the main viewing platform. Many visitors make a quick stop at the platform to take in the iconic view before carrying on to their next adventure. If you want a little more from your stop, a moderate 2.2-mile hike will take you to see the falls from different perspectives. You can even walk on the Benson Bridge, part of what makes the view of this waterfall extra special.
Since these falls are so easily accessible, during peak travel times it can get incredibly busy. These falls do not dry up during the summer months since they are fueled by rainwater, underground springs, and snowmelt. However, if you wish to see the falls at their strongest, visit in March when the snowmelt provides the extra force.
No fee or permit is required to visit Multnomah Falls. Parking is also free of charge, but you must not park outside of the designated parking area. Parking or stopping is not allowed on the historic highway.
Multnomah Falls is a short half-hour drive from Portland. Travel east on Interstate 84 and take exit #31 for Multnomah Falls.
Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, Wyoming
Contributed by Erica from Trip Scholars.
One of the most spectacular waterfalls in the United States is the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. It is the largest waterfall in Yellowstone National Park and is one of three major falls on the Yellowstone River within the park. It is part of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. A canyon that is stunning enough to warrant a national park of its own, if it was not already part of this first national park in the world.
The river drops a dramatic 308 feet and is bordered by colorful canyon walls creating one of the most photographed places in the park. The walls of the canyon are colored by thermal waters interacting with the rock. Lower Falls is available for all visitors of Yellowstone National Park to see and is subject to the entrance fees of the park.
It is a not-to-miss site in Yellowstone, so be sure to visit the Canyon Village area on the east side of the park. Bring your camera because you will take photos you’ll want to frame once you are home! There are multiple vantage points along the canyon to take in the view, the most popular being Artist’s Point. Uncle Tom’s Trail offers repeated unparalleled views and is worth the hike. However you choose to see Lower Falls, you will be inspired!
Toketee Falls, Oregon
Contributed by Jessica from Uprooted Traveler.
Most people visit Umpqua National Forest in central Oregon for the beloved Umpqua Hot Springs, but may not know that, within just a few minutes’ drive from the hot springs’ trailhead, is the majestic Toketee Falls. Toketee Falls has quite a distinctive appearance. This is thanks to the angular columnar basalt formation perfectly framing the 113-foot falls, which rush down into the curving gorge carved by the North Umpqua River out of the lava that flowed in the area some 250,000 years ago.
To see the waterfalls, you’ll need to hike an easy 0.8-mile out-and-back trail along the North Umpqua River and through a lush wooded forest. You’ll eventually reach a wooden overlook that provides spectacular views of the two-tiered falls, rushing into a turquoise plunge pool below. Thanks, in part, to Oregon’s wet climate, the falls enjoy a consistent flow year round. So regardless of season you visit Toketee, you’ll get to see this beauty in all its glory!
Tower Fall, Wyoming
Contributed by James from Park Collecting.
Tower Fall is a 132-foot single drop waterfall in the northern part of Yellowstone National Park. Although not the biggest waterfall in Yellowstone, it is one of the most beautiful. The narrow fall is part of Tower Creek, just before it flows into Yellowstone River. The waterfall is easily accessible along a short trail from a large parking lot next to the Tower General Store. From the viewing area, you can see part of Tower Creek flowing through tower-like pinnacles. Formed by lava flow from an ancient volcanic eruption that has been eroded over the years, before it plunges over the steep drop.
Tower Fall has been painted by numerous artists over the years. In fact, a painting of Tower Fall by the artist Thomas Moran helped create sufficient interest in preserving the area that it inspired the creation of Yellowstone as a national park in 1872.
There is no entrance fee to the falls themselves. However they are inside Yellowstone National park and there is a $35/ vehicle entrance fee to the park.
Sol Duc Falls, Washington
Contributed by Lindsey from Have Clothes, Will Travel.
Sol Duc Falls in Washington State is dubbed the most beautiful falls in Olympic National Park, and it is not hard to see how it received that title! It’s a must for any Washington State road trip.
The falls are reached by an easy 1.6 mile, out and back hike (good for all skill levels). You’ll hear the thunderous roaring water of the falls before you reach it. The hike itself is also quite scenic as you walk through the lush rainforest landscape. You’ll then view Sol Duc Falls from above, on a picturesque bridge, as it falls nearly 50 feet into the slot canyon below.
There is an entrance fee to enter Olympic State Park. The rate varies depending on the type of vehicle you are arriving in. For example, a non-commercial vehicle is $30 that is a 15-person capacity or less, the pass is good for all of Olympic National Park for 7 days, and covers all the vehicle’s occupants. You can buy your pass online via the National Park Service website.
Waterfalls in the US: South West
Bridalveil Fall, California
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.
One of the first waterfalls people see upon entering Yosemite Valley. It has a characteristic light, swaying flow during most of the year. Except in the Spring, when it thunders. It’s a beautiful single drop waterfall, 188 meters (620 feet) high.
The other waterfalls at Yosemite Valley are tiered falls, but Bridalveil is unique in that it’s a plunge waterfall.
The base is reachable through a short, but steep trail. The fall is visible on Wawona Road near the tunnels and from Big Oak Flat Road. The iconic photo option is from a parking lot on your way into Yosemite Valley.
The waterfall itself is free of charge, but Yosemite National Park isn’t. The fall is located in the National Park. Entry costs $35.00 per vehicle and is valid for 7 days. You can also buy an America the Beautiful Pass of $80.00. Which is valid for a whole year and for all national parks in the US.
Grand Falls, Arizona
Contributed by Danielle from Danielle Outdoors.
Grand Falls is one of the most unique waterfalls in Arizona. It gets its nickname “Chocolate Falls” as the water flowing through our dusty environment creates a muddy appearance. How often do you get to feel like you’re part of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory?
This waterfall is fed by the Colorado River and flow changes based on the time of year. The best time to visit is after late summer Monsoon Rainfall or after snowmelt in early spring (yes it snows in Northern Arizona).
This beautiful feature is on Navajo Land, so please respect the surrounding environment. Before you go, you need to check whether Navajo recreation is open, as it closed frequently through the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no fee or permit required to get to this waterfall. To get there, you will travel east of Flagstaff, Arizona about 30 minutes. Most of the pathway is on a dirt road, so I suggest a high clearance vehicle. When you hit a large flowing body of water, you’ll know you’re at the top of the falls.
There are multiple photo opportunities here on top and at the bottom of the falls. If you decide to go to the bottom of the falls, be aware of surrounding weather- you do not want to be down there during a flash flood.
As this waterfall is more of a viewpoint than a hike, it is perfect for all members of the family! Happy traveling!
McWay Falls, California
Contributed by Dhara from Roadtripping California.
McWay Falls in Big Sur is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in California. The ribbon of water flows 80 feet down a cliff onto a lovely cove. During high tide, the waterfall flows straight into the Pacific Ocean.
One of the most-visited stops along the Big Sur Coast, McWay Falls is part of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. A short and easy trail leads to an overlook area, from where you can view and photograph the waterfall. There were two overlooks, but only the first one is currently open.
You can’t access the beach below the waterfall, or get close to the waterfall itself, as the cliffs around the falls are fragile. But the trail offers unobstructed views, albeit from a distance.
If you park in the parking lot inside the park, there is a $10.00 parking fee per vehicle. Which is also valid for entry to the other state parks in Big Sur on the same day. You can park along California Highway 1 and walk inside for free. However the road is narrow and parking spots are limited. It is much easier and safer to park inside.
A must-see stop on a California Road Trip.
Hamilton Pool Preserve, Texas
Contributed by Victoria from Texas Travel 365.
Hamilton Pool Preserve is one of the coolest waterfalls in the USA. It is located near Austin Texas and is very underrated when comparing it against other waterfalls in the USA! Hamilton Pool is a stunning natural pool in a cave with one of the best waterfalls in Texas flowing over the edge. The wide cave behind the 50 foot waterfall makes this stop so picturesque and perfect for Instagram photos.
While you used to be able to swim in the natural pool, it is now restricted for safety reasons as the cave is quite fragile. You can still visit though. In order to visit here, you must make a reservation on the park website. Entrance costs $12 for adults, free for children, and a variety of other pricing options for older and younger adults. It is truly a fantastic day trip from Austin and one of the best waterfalls to visit in the United States!
Yosemite Falls, California
Contributed by Rasika from Bae Area and Beyond.
At a height of 2,425 feet, Yosemite Falls is one of the biggest attractions to see at Yosemite National Park. Located in the Yosemite Valley, the Yosemite Falls is tiered with three waterfalls: Upper Yosemite Falls, Middle Cascades, and Lower Yosemite Falls. Even though this is one of the tallest waterfalls in North America, you can hike to the top of the falls! To hike to the top, take the Yosemite Falls Trail which is a 7.2-mile round trip hike that can take up to 8 hours. This is a strenuous hike so make sure you are prepared with the essentials. If you’re not prepared for that, hike the 3-mile round trip hike past Columbia Rock to get a beautiful view of Upper Yosemite Falls. Also, take the 1-mile round trip hike to Lower Yosemite Falls; it’s easy to do and you get a very close-up view.
There is a $35 entrance fee that’ll last up to seven days or you can get the $70 Yosemite Pass for free access to the park for a whole year. Another option is to get the $80 America the Beautiful—National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass that gives you access to all national parks and more for the year. The best time to visit the park to view the Yosemite Falls is in late spring when it’s flow is at its highest. During the summer, the falls dry up so make sure to visit during another season first before taking another trip in the summer.
Havasu Falls, Arizona
Contributed by Rachel & Dana from Traveling Found Love.
Havasu Falls is hands down one of the most alluring waterfalls in the United States. The waterfall is approximately 100 feet high and drops from the glowing red travertine terraces into a crystal clear turquoise pool of water. The clear blue-green water of Havasu Falls is rare because it has been stored underground in limestone caverns for thousands and thousands of years creating the beautiful colors you see. Seeing Havasu Falls will captivate you instantly and make you feel like you are in paradise. You can even take a cool dip in the pool to complete your perfect waterfall experience.
Unfortunately, reaching this jaw-dropping, one-of-a-kind waterfall is a little difficult and takes some effort. Havasu Falls is located on the remote Havasupai Indian Reservation in Arizona and requires a 10-mile hike into the Grand Canyon. But before you can even enter the Indian Reservation you will need to obtain a Havasu Falls permit. A permit provides access to all 5 of the Havasupai waterfalls and does come at a price. Permits are limited and sell out for the entire year within a few minutes.
Alberta Falls, Colorado
Contributed by Daria from The Discovery Nut.
One of the most popular spots at Rocky Mountain National Park, Alberta Falls is a short and easy 1.6-mile round-trip hike that starts at Glacier Gorge Trailhead on Bear Lake Road almost 8 miles from the turn-off at Highway 36.
The parking lot at the beginning of the trailhead fills out very fast even on weekdays, so if you can, try to arrive early to get a parking spot. You can also take a free shuttle bus during the peak season in summer when the Rocky Mountain National Park sees the most visitors.
Since the trail elevation is only 160 feet, it’s a prefect option for hikers of all levels. Still, make sure to bring plenty of water, especially if you are not used to hiking at higher altitudes. At the end of the hike you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the waterfalls.
If you want to continue your adventure, continue past Alberta Falls and hike 2.8 miles to beautiful Mills Lake inside Glacier Gorge.
To enter the Rocky Mountain National Park you will need to pay a fee at the park’s entrance. You can also purchase America The Beautiful National Park Pass for $80 that will give you access to all national parks for one year, perfect if you’re making an west coast national parks trip.
Gorman Falls, Texas
Contributed by Kate from Lone Star Travel Guide.
Soaring 70 feet into the air, the absolutely stunning Gorman Falls isn’t just one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Texas–it’s also so lush that many people visiting it remark that it doesn’t look like it belongs in Texas at all!
Gorman Falls is located inside Colorado Bend State Park, in the northern reaches of the Texas Hill Country.
You can access Gorman Falls via a 3-mile round trip hike that will take you through a very typical Central Texas landscape, all limestone, live oak trees, cedar trees, and cacti.
Once you reach the end of the trail, though, you’ll descend a stone staircase into the beautiful area for Gorman Falls.
After you finish admiring the falls, don’t miss the chance to turn left and check out a beautiful view of the Colorado River, either!
Prepare carefully for this hike, especially if you’re hiking during typical hot weather: even on short trails, the heat can be brutal! Water, a hat, sunscreen, and sturdy shoes are musts.
It’s worth the preparation, though, to experience one of the coolest waterfalls in the USA!
And that concludes this list of waterfalls in the US
Hope you enjoyed this list of mesmerizing waterfalls. It’s a complete bucket list on its own visiting them all. You can add these best cities to visit in the USA to your bucket list to make it a complete road trip.
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So many incredible waterfalls. We love waterfall chasing and love the inspiration here to plan more trips around it!
Rebecca Gade Sawicki
Oh wow! So many beautiful places to add to my “must visit” list!
What a great article! I loved reading about Multnomah Falls in Oregon and Hamilton Pool Preserve in Texas. We’d love to add them to our bucket list!
Those are some pretty epic waterfalls. I love waterfalls and this post gives me a few more that I need to add to. my must-see list.
What a fantastic collection of beautiful waterfalls! We are so lucky to live with this much natual beauty in the US. This post is great inspiriation for visitng more of them.
I love waterfalls! I’ve been to a few of these and they are spectacular. Now I have more to visit on the east coast. Thamks for all the great information and pics!
Thanks for sharing all the places to see such natural beauty!
Wow, I didn’t realize how many amazing waterfalls are right here in the US! I will defintiely need to check some of these beauties out.
It’s truly amazing how many gorgeous waterfalls there are in the world! This post shows that there are some within driving range from most people in the US. Thank you!!!
Rob + Ann @TravelLatte
What a fantastic list! We’ve seen some of these, but you can bet our Waterfall To Do list just got substantially longer! But that’s okay – totally worth it!
I love Multnomah Falls! Such a great list! We plan to go to Waimea Falls next year.