Once you’ve seen one great waterfall, you have to see them all. These cascading beauties come in all varieties: tall, skinny, massive, and wonderfully picturesque; and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to visit all of them. Whether you plan on taking a dip or simply taking in the view, these impressive waterfalls in the U.S. are waiting to wow you.
Located on the border of the U.S. and Canada, Niagara Falls is known as the most powerful waterfall in North America. In truth, however, it’s actually made up of three waterfalls: Bridal Veil Falls, American Falls, and Horseshoe Falls. If you’re willing to get wet for a close-up view, board the famous Maid of the Mist boat tour. If you’d prefer to stay dry, bring your passport to check out the better view of the falls on the Canadian side.
Havasu Falls, Arizona
Hard to reach but too beautiful to miss, Havasu Falls is hidden between the red cliffs and caverns of the Havasupai Tribe Reservation in a remote part of the Grand Canyon. From 90 feet up, the falls plummet into the blue-green water of Havasu Creek, dazzling visitors who make the long journey to see the amazing sight for themselves. The falls are a 10-mile hike or horseback ride from Hualalapai Hilltpop. There’s a campground in the canyon, and rooms for rent at Havasupai Lodge near Supai Village.
Palouse Falls, Washington
Washington’s Palouse River flows southwest until it drops down into a canyon, creating the impressive spectacle known as Palouse Falls. The waterfall is located in the 105-acre Palouse Falls State Park, with campgrounds, trails, picnic tables, and wheelchair-accessible paths. Plan to visit the falls at sunset to witness the spectacle of light and shadow reflected on the canyon walls.
Yosemite Falls, California
Throughout Yosemite National Park you’ll find waterfalls trickling through creeks and echoing through the valley, but at 2,425 feet, none is more impressive than Yosemite Falls. One of the world’s tallest, this waterfall is made up of the Upper Falls, Lower Falls, and the Middle Cascades. The falls are visible from various trails in the park, but the best time to see them is in the spring when the snowmelt from the mountains bolsters the flow of the falls, resulting in a thundering display of pounding water.
Ramona Falls, Oregon
Follow the Ramona Falls trail in Oregon’s Mount Hood Forest to discover this glittering waterfall. At 120-feet tall, Ramona Falls is not the tallest, widest, or most powerful—but there is something special about it. Surrounded by a thick mossy forest, the mist from the falls seems to glow as dappled sunlight reflects off the shining cascades.
Ruby Falls, Tennessee
Deep inside a cave in Chattanooga is Ruby Falls, a 145-foot subterranean waterfall. Named for the wife of the man who discovered it, Ruby Falls has been dazzling visitors for over a century. Today the waterfall’s beauty is enhanced by colorful rays that not only illuminate the falls, but light the way for visitors on cave tours.
Alamere Falls, California
Flowing right into the Pacific Ocean in Point Reyes National Seashore, north of San Francisco, Alamere Falls is a unique sight known as a “tidefall,” or coastal waterfall. To reach the falls from the trailhead, it’s an eight-mile hike filled with scenic coastal views. The payoff is worth the effort, though: You’ll find this picturesque waterfall surrounded by an untouched beach landscape.
Snoqualmie Falls, Washington
Snoqualmie Falls is one of Washington State’s most popular attractions, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors each year. The falls were a traditional burial site for the Snoqualmie people and still hold sacred meaning to the community. There are plenty of hiking trails, an observation deck, and the Salish Lodge, located right at the top of the falls.
Grand Falls, Arizona
Though this waterfall is a little-known attraction in Arizona’s Navajo Nation, it’s a pretty big deal. Taller than Niagara Falls, the Grand Falls is an expansive stretch of water flowing into the Colorado River. It’s often referred to as the Chocolate Falls because of its brownish color. Grand Falls can only be reached by obtaining a hiking permit from the Navajo Nation.
Multnomah Falls, Oregon
We have the state of Oregon to thank for Multnomah Falls’ easy visitor access, which includes a footbridge that allows visitors to cross the waterfall above the lower cascade. At 611 feet, it’s the tallest waterfall in Oregon and is incredibly easy to get to. Just a thirty-minute drive from Portland and a five-minute walk from the parking lot, you have no excuse to skip this beauty.
Akaka Falls, Hawaii
The half-mile loop trail on Hawaii’s Big Island yields plenty of beautiful sights, but none are as dramatic as the view of 420-foot Akaka Falls. Flowing year round, it appears to be totally secluded in a thick rainforest, yet it’s easily accessible from a paved path leading to a picture-perfect vantage point.
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Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer who is always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2016. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.
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