The 75+ Most Breathtaking National Park Waterfalls (by State)

By Joshua Davis •  Updated: 10/27/22 •  44 min read

So, you want a list of the best national parks with waterfalls?

Oooooo, boy.

Well, there are more than a few waterfalls scattered throughout this great nation. In fact, there are thousands. And, really, it all depends on what you’re looking for in a waterfall.

The Brink of Upper Yosemite Falls, California

Do you want one with a spectacular drop? How about the tallest waterfall in the United States? Maybe you want a series of waterfalls or even just a single, secluded waterfall off the beaten path.

Whatever your preference, we’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find 80 of the most popular waterfalls located on National Park Service lands organized by state.

Note: This list is by no means exhaustive … although compiling even this much was exhausting. This is the result of our own waterfall-hunting efforts and would like to share what we’ve found.

Use the QUICK LINKS to easily see which states have national parks with waterfalls and click away!

QUICK LINKS
  1. National Park Waterfall Highlights
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Hawaii
  8. Idaho
  9. Maine
  10. Maryland
  11. Michigan
  12. Minnesota
  13. Montana
  14. New Jersey
  15. North Carolina
  16. Ohio
  17. Oregon
  18. Tennessee
  19. Utah
  20. Virginia
  21. Washington
  22. Wyoming
  23. Have a Nice Trip. See You Next Waterfall.

National Park Waterfall Highlights

If you’re wanting to hit the jackpot when it comes to waterfall hunting, here are a few highlights to get you on your way:

  1. N.P. With the Greatest Number of Waterfalls: Yellowstone National Park has over 300 waterfalls!
  2. Largest N.P. Waterfall: Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park is a total of 2,425 feet tall, the tallest of all national park waterfalls.
  3. N.P. Waterfall with the Greatest Volume of Water: The 77-foot Great Falls of the Passaic River is the largest national park waterfall in terms of volume (2 billion gallons per day … still tiny compared to Niagara).
  4. Most-Photographed N.P. Waterfalls: Yosemite’s Yosemite Falls and Yellowstone’s Upper Falls are the most photographed national park falls.

Alaska

Beginning with our northernmost state, Alaska is unsurprisingly packed with natural wonders, including numerous national parks with panoramic scenery unmatched in the world.

Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska

The Katmai landscape is full of life and reawakens the wild-ness in the hearts of those who visit.

Katmai National Park & Preserve was established in 1918 to protect the region surrounding Novarupta and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, which had recently been devastated by a volcanic eruption.

Katmai National Park and Preserve protects not only 9,000 years of human history but also an important habitat for salmon and brown bears.

When planning your trip to Katmai, grab the National Geographic Katmai National Park Trail Map to get the most from your visit.

National Geographic Katmai National Park and Preserve Trail Map
  •  Provides valuable wilderness tips and Leave No Trace guidelines, along with updated trails, trailheads, points of interest, campgrounds and much more
  •  Printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material with a plastic coating that offers the durability needed for outdoor use
  •  Includes selected waypoints in both lat./lon. and UTM coordinate systems as well as GPS-compatible UTM grid lines for easy navigation
  •  Measures 9.25 x 4.25 in. folded and 37.75 x 25.5 in. fully opened; scale of 1:300,000 and 1:125,000
  •  National Geographic Maps; copyright 1996, revised 2001
Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Brooks Falls

Ever watch a massive brown bear snatch a salmon from a waterfall on the nature channel?

Ever want to see it in real life?

Brooks Falls, Alaska

Then you need to visit Brooks Falls Wildlife Viewing Platform at Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park. Not only are the falls beautiful, but there’s also an excellent chance of seeing a bear or two (or more!) catching some fish.

Plan your visit around the Bear Viewing Calendar to see the best of the bears!

Arizona

It may be mostly covered in arid desert; however, Arizona is home to a surprising number of waterfalls. So, if you’re looking to cool off (literally) while visiting the Grand Canyon State, be sure to check out some of these spectacular falls.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

How do describe the Grand Canyon?

Majestic. Stunning. Breathtaking …

Grand?

The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The mile-deep, 277-mile-long canyon is full of colorful rock formations, wildlife, and, of course, waterfalls!

Before exploring the vastness of the Grand Canyon, be sure to equip yourself with the National Geographic Grand Canyon National Park Map Pack to get the most from your visit.

National Geographic Grand Canyon National Park Topographic Map Pack
  • Coverage includes Lake Mead, Parashant National Monument, Glen and Paria Canyons, Grand Canyon National Park and its neighboring national forests and wilderness areas
  •  Easy-to-read, yet highly detailed map shows comprehensive trail and road networks, along with designated trails for hiking, horseback riding, biking and more
  •  Clearly marked navigational aids with UTM coordinate grids, scale bar and full legend, essential for safely navigating the backcountry with GPS or compass
  •  Features key points of interest such as scenic views, campgrounds, trailheads, boat launches and picnic sites
  •  Color-coded boundaries for public lands including national parks, national forests, national monuments, ranger districts, wilderness areas, state parks and wildlife refuges
  •  1:35,000 and 1:90,000 scale
  •  Printed in the USA on durable, lightweight, waterproof and tear-resistant material designed to withstand all weather conditions
  •  Folded dimensions: 4.25 x 9.25 in.; unfolded dimensions: 37.75 x 25.5 in.


Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

The Falls of the Havasupai Indian Reservation

Havasu Falls is the most popular of the blue-green Havasupai Waterfalls. The falls flow over deep-orange, travertine cliffs into a desert oasis below of unmatched beauty.

Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon

The desert landscape of the Havasu Canyon is dry and lifeless in comparison to the lush vegetation near the water, which is a contrast of harsh conditions and a luxurious, lush paradise.

The five waterfalls of the Havasupai include Fifty Foot Falls, Havasu Falls, Navajo Falls, Beaver Falls, and Mooney Falls.

Thunder River and Deer Creek Falls

Thunder River is the beginning of a sixteen-mile-long journey down the sheer walls of the Grand Canyon to its confluence with the Colorado River.

Deer Creek Falls is one of several waterfalls along this journey, and it’s also one of the most difficult day hikes in the park. The trail begins at Tapeats Creek and climbs 4,000 feet in just four miles to reach the falls.

The trail is extremely strenuous and not for the faint of heart, but the views of the canyon and the waterfall make it all worth it!

Cheyava Falls

Accessed via the Grand Canyon’s Clear Creek Trail, Cheyava Falls is the tallest waterfall in the park at an impressive 730 feet.

The trail to Cheyava Falls is long and difficult, but it’s also one of the most scenic hikes in the park with views of the Colorado River, Bright Angel Canyon, and several other waterfalls along the way.

If you’re up for the challenge, Cheyava Falls is definitely worth the effort!

Ribbon Falls

From the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, Ribbon Falls is about 8.4 miles from the North Kaibab Trailhead and 5.2 miles from Phantom Ranch.

As you journey on the trail and pass the Supai Tunnel, Roaring Springs, Manzanita Rest Area, and the Cottonwood Campground, you will lose 4,521 feet in elevation from the North Rim.

This makes for a very strenuous hike, but the views of Bright Angel Canyon and the Colorado River as well as the Ribbon Falls make it all worth it!

Elves Chasm

Elves Chasm is a gorgeous waterfall and grotto located on the challenging and beautiful Royal Arch Loop in Grand Canyon National Park.

Do your homework before even attempting this remote stretch of the canyon.

You’ll be grateful you took this trip if you have the experience and equipment to do so.

If you don’t have the experience and equipment … put it on your bucket list for later.

California

Ah, the Golden State. There’s so much to see and do in California, from the towering redwoods of the north to the sunny beaches of the south.

And, of course, there are waterfalls! Here are just a few of the many amazing waterfalls in California’s treasured lands:

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Valley is more than just a great valley– it’s a testimony to human tenacity, the power of nature, and the serenity of the High Sierra.

Yosemite National Park is a world-renowned nature preserve located in California. Originally protected in 1864, the park features stunning waterfalls, towering sequoias, sprawling meadows and much more across its 1,200+ square miles.

With so much to do and see in Yosemite, be sure to grab a National Geographic Yosemite National Map Pack.

National Geographic Yosemite National Park Topographic Map Pack
  • Maps offer enlarged, detailed views of each area of the park, from Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows to Ansel Adams Wilderness and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
  •  Each trail and road has been carefully researched with the help of the National Park and other public land management agencies
  •  Easy-to-read, yet highly detailed map shows comprehensive trail and road networks, along with designated trails for hiking, horseback riding, biking and more
  •  Clearly marked navigational aids with UTM coordinate grids, scale bar and full legend, essential for safely navigating the backcountry with GPS or compass
  •  Features key points of interest such as scenic views, campgrounds, trailheads, boat launches and picnic sites
  •  Color-coded boundaries for public lands including national parks, national forests, national monuments, ranger districts, wilderness areas, state parks and wildlife refuges
  •  1:40,000 scale
  •  Printed in the USA on durable, lightweight, waterproof and tear-resistant material designed to withstand all weather conditions
  •  Folded dimensions: 4 x 7.5 in.; unfolded dimensions: 36 x 22 in.
Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Yosemite Falls

Ranked as the 5th tallest waterfall on the planet, Yosemite Falls is an iconic and popular destination in Yosemite National Park and is a must for any Yosemite National Park itinerary.

The falls consist of an upper fall, middle cascades, and a lower fall, with a total height of 2,425 feet!

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, Yosemite

That’s almost as tall as the Burj Khalifa!

To feel the full grandeur of this thunderous cascade, climb to the top following one of Yosemite’s oldest trails, Yosemite Falls Trail (blazed in 1873) … and get ready to feel your thighs like never before.

Bridalveil Falls

Bridalveil Fall is one of the tallest waterfalls in Yosemite Valley, towering at 620 feet (189 meters). When you first enter the valley, it’s probably one of the first falls you’ll see.

In spring, it unleashes a thunderous cascade; during the rest of the year, it looks like, well … a thin, swaying bridal veil.

Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite

An easy, paved trail meanders from the parking area to this waterfall, which is magnificent year-round.

Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls

Yosemite’s Mist Trail (aka, Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall Trails) is so named for the drenching spray you’ll experience as you hike to the top of these iconic waterfalls. 

Nevada Falls, Yosemite

The Vernal Fall Footbridge provides hikers with a front-row seat to this 317-foot waterfall, and if you continue on to Nevada Falls, you’ll be rewarded with views of another 594-foot waterfall.

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls

Also known as the Firefall, Horsetail Falls is a seasonal waterfall that only flows in February.

The falls get their name from the way they appear to glow like a flaming horsetail as the sun sets behind them.

Horsetail Falls (Fire Falls), Yosemite

This is an incredibly popular event, so make sure to get there early if you want to snag a good spot!

Devils Postpile National Monument, California

The lesser known of the National Park Service charges, Devil’s Postpile National Monument is nonetheless a must-see destination in California.

Tom Harrison Cartography Devil's Postpile Trail Map
  • Includes Devil's Postpile, Minarets-Agnew Meadows, and Thousand Island Lake
  • Features color-coded symbols and trails, mileages between trail junctions, latitude/longitude, contour lines, UTMs, and up-to-date elevations
  •  Measures 18 x 26-1/2 inches single-sided; folds to 4-1/2 x 6-3/4 inches
  •  1:39,600 scale; 1 inch represents 5/8 mile


Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

This unique geological formation (a massive deposit of columnar basalt) was created by a lava flow over 100,000 years ago and consists of hundreds of columns of basalt that have been carefully carved by the elements.

The best time to see Devil’s Postpile is in early summer when the runoff from melting snow creates a spectacular, gushing waterfall.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is the highest waterfall on the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River, situated just 2.5 miles away from the nearest ranger station.

The falls derives its name from the frequent rainbows that appear in its mist on sunny days, given its height of 101 feet.

Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Point Reyes is truly a nature lover’s paradise, with its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands, expansive sand beaches, open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges.

Over 1500 species of plants and animals can be found here, making it the perfect place to get away from it all and connect with nature.

The Seashore has been home to several cultures over thousands of years, each leaving its own stories and interactions behind.

Map Adventures Point Reyes Waterproof Hiking & Biking Map
  • 2-sided waterproof map depicts nearly 100 hiking trails through out Point Reyes National Seashore
  •  Includes information on camping, kayaking, boat-in camping for Tomales Bay, and exploring sections of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  •  Also includes shaded areas depicting state parks as well as useful information on parking, easy-to-use mileage points and points of interest
Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Alamere Falls

Alamere Falls is a breathtaking waterfall hidden away in the Phillip Burton Wilderness.

As water gushes over a 40-foot tall cliff at Wildcat Beach, the falls create an unforgettable scene.

Alamere Falls, Point Reyes

Although it requires a minimum 13-mile round-trip hike, this picturesque location is often referred to as overcrowded by those who come to visit.

Kings Canyon National Park, California

Kings Canyon National Park is in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Fresno, California. The park was established in 1940 and covers 461,901 acres. It incorporated General Grant National Park, established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove of giant sequoias.

The park is adjacent to Sequoia National Park and managed by the National Park Service.

Kings Canyon is known for its deep canyons, carved by rivers over millions of years.

The General Grant Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park contains some of the largest trees on Earth. The General Grant tree, also known as the “Nation’s Christmas Tree”, is over 270 feet tall and 107 feet in circumference.

The Kings Canyon area is also home to several waterfalls, including Roaring River Falls, Redwood Mountain Grove, and Zumwalt Meadow.

Be sure to grab the Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks – Guidebook and Trail Map Bundle before planning your itinerary!

FalconGuides and National Geographic: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Guidebook and Trail Map Bundle
  •  Bundle includes guidebook and National Geographic Trails Illustrated map
  •  Includes casual hikes for families and beginners and longer hikes for more experienced hikers
Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Mist Falls and Roaring River Falls

Both of these spectacular waterfalls can be accessed via trailheads located in Kings Canyon’s Cedar Grove.

Mist Falls is one of Sequoia and Kings Canyon’s largest waterfalls and is requires an 8-mile round trip hike with a 600-foot elevation gain.

Roaring River falls, on the other hand, is located just off Generals Highway.

This smaller yet powerful waterfall can be reached on a paved 0.3-mile round-trip hike.

A visit to Roaring River Falls is a great way to spend a short amount of time and it’s definitely worth the stop if you’re driving into Kings Canyon.

Sequoia National Park, California

Less than 30 miles from King’s Canyon as-the-bird-flies (108 miles by car), Sequoia National Park is home to the world’s largest tree, General Sherman.

This behemoth of a tree stands at 275 feet tall and is estimated to be over 2,000 years old!

General Sherman, Sequoia

In addition to General Sherman, Sequoia National Park is also home to many other large sequoias, including the President (the second largest tree in the world), Lincoln, and Washington.

The park also features several gorgeous waterfalls, however, we make mention of only one here.

Tokopah Falls

This impressive 1,200-foot thunderous cascade puts on its best performance in early summer.

The trail to Tokopah Falls is an easy 1.7 miles and provides stunning views of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias as well as the waterfall itself.

Colorado

The mountains of Colorado boast some of the most beautiful and varied scenery in the country.

From snow-capped peaks to alpine meadows, and rushing rivers to serene lakes, there is truly something for everyone in this Rocky Mountain state.

And with dozens of state and national parks, not to mention countless hiking trails, the options for outdoor adventure are endless.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park covers a vast 265,807 acres and boasts a stunning array of mountainous terrains.

Discover towering mountain peaks, glistening alpine lakes, and meadows teeming with life – all within the same region.

With over 300 miles of hiking trails, this is the perfect place to explore and view amazing wildlife and some of the most stunning vistas on the North American continent.

Plan your trip with the National Geographic Rocky Mountain National Park Map Bundle.

National Geographic Rocky Mountain National Park Topographic Map Pack
  •  Both maps include detailed road and trail networks with trail mileage and multiple points of interest
  •  Longs Peak map also includes the famous Keyhole route that leads you to the top of the 14,000 ft. summit
  •  Easy-to-read, yet highly detailed maps show comprehensive trail and road networks, along with designated trails for hiking, horseback riding, biking and more
  •  Clearly marked navigational aids with UTM coordinate grids, scale bar and full legend, essential for safely navigating the backcountry with GPS or compass
  •  Key points of interest include scenic views, campgrounds, trailheads, boat launches and picnic sites
  •  Color-coded boundaries for public lands including national parks, national forests, national monuments, ranger districts, wilderness areas, state parks and wildlife refuges
  •  Printed in the USA on durable, lightweight, waterproof and tear-resistant material designed to withstand all weather conditions
  •  Folded dimensions: 4.25 x 9.25 in.; unfolded dimensions: 37.75 x 25.5 in.
  •  1:50,000 and 1:25,000 scale


Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Alberta Falls

There’s a good reason why Alberta Falls is one of the most popular short-destination hikes in the park. Glacier Creek’s roaring falls make it a top pick for hikers in the park.

Alberta Falls, Rocky Mountain N.P.

If you’re short on time but still want to experience the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park, this is the hike for you.

Chasm Falls

Chasm Falls roars through a gap in Fall River’s rock walls where the river narrows into a gorge.

Although It’s located only 100 yards off of Old Fall River Road, parking near the waterfall regularly fills due to its popularity.

Hawaii

Talofa tele tagata fa’atauva’a!

You’ve just been greeted and complimented in Samoan. Cool, huh?

White sands. Palm Trees. Coconuts. Perfect beachin’ temperatures year round. Is there anything not to love about Hawaii?

And if you’re looking for an amazing outdoor adventure, well, let’s just say that Hawaii has that covered too.

Halekala National Park, Hawaii

This place is sacred to Hawaiians and tells the stories of their culture, both ancient and modern. It also protects the natural relationship between the Hawaiian people and their land.

The park is also responsible for taking care of endangered species, some of which can’t be found in any other location.

This special place is the perfect way to renew your spirit. With stark volcanic landscapes and sub-tropical rain forests, you can go on an unforgettable hike through the backcountry.

National Geographic Haleakala National Park Trails Map
$14.95
  • Waterproof, tear-resistant, and nearly indestructible
  • Includes the entire national park area, including the summit area, the wilderness area, and the Kipahulu area
  • Features key points of interest including Red Hill, Magnetic Peak, Pa Ka oao, Halali'i, Ka Moa O Pele, Pu'u Naue, Pu'u Mamane, the Kahikinui Forest Reserve, Kipahulu Forest Reserve, Hana Forest Reserve, Ka'apahu, and much more
  • Includes contour lines, shaded relief, and elevations for summits. Recreation features are clearly marked, including ranger stations, campgrounds, picnic areas, rental cabins, and points of interest
  • Detailed topography
  • GPS compatible with full UTM grid


Buy Now on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/27/2022 06:36 pm GMT

Waimoku Falls and Makahiku Falls

The narrow 400-foot Waimoku Falls and 200-foot Makahiku Falls are located in the Kīpahulu District of Halekala.

Waimoku Falls, Halekala

Both of these spectacular waterfalls can be accessed via the Pīpīwai Trail. Although only 4 miles roundtrip, there’s so much to see on the way that it’s easy to spend half a day taking in the near-perfect tropical paradise that surrounds you.

Makahiku Falls, Halekala

Idaho

Who doesn’t love potatoes? Fried, mashed, stewed … anything but raw.

Idaho is famous for its spuds, but there’s so much more to this great state.

From pristine wilderness areas to quaint small towns, Idaho has something for everyone.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho

(See the section on Wyoming)

Maine

Maine is a state full of surprises.

From its rocky coastline and quaint lobster shacks to its beautiful forests and majestic mountains, Maine has something for everyone.

And with over 3,000 miles of hiking trails, there’s no shortage of outdoor adventure to be had in this stunning state.

Acadia National Park, Maine

The Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast, there is no doubt that Acadia National Park contains some of the most beautiful scenery in all of America. With its abundance of habitats and rich cultural heritage, the park provides a unique experience for everyone who visits.

Out of the top 10 most-visited national parks in the United States, 4 million people visit this one annually.

Visitors can enjoy exploring 27 miles of historic motor roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads. While not particularly known for its waterfalls, there are two worth visiting if you happen to be in the area.

National Geographic Acadia National Park Trail Map
  • Lists wilderness tips and Leave No Trace guidelines, along with trails, trailheads, points of interest, campgrounds, geologic history and much more
  •  Printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material with a plastic coating that offers supreme durability for your next outdoor adventure
  •  Includes selected waypoints in both lat./lon. and UTM coordinate systems as well as GPS-compatible UTM grid lines for easy navigation
  •  Measures 9.25 x 4.25 in. folded and 37.75 x 25.5 in. fully opened; scale of 1:35,000 and 1:100,000
Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Hadlock Falls

The Hadlock Brook Loop Trail is a short 1.8-mile loop traversing old carriage roads and bridges built in the ’20s. Viewing the falls through Waterfall Bridge’s skewed archway frames it up for a perfect photo op.

Time your visit during the spring melt or after a rain storm to experience the falls at their fullest.

Maryland

Chasm Brook Falls

Chasm Brook in Acadia NP is not typically a notable hiking destination, nor is the falls that bear its name. However, if a good amount of rainfall primes the brook enough, and if you time your visit perfectly, you’ll be treated to a sight that few visitors get to see: Chasm Brook Falls actually falling!

Michigan

The Great Lakes State has a lot to offer its visitors.

With its abundance of freshwater lakes, forests, and beaches, Michigan is the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy the great outdoors.

Waterfalls of Michigan: A Guide to More Than 130 Waterfalls in the Great Lakes State
$11.40

Entries include:

  • Directions to the trailhead
  • Hiking distance
  • Hike difficulty
  • Details about each waterfall, such as height, width, and the best time of year to visit
  • Incomparable photography makes this guidebook worthy of any coffee table.
Buy Now on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/27/2022 06:36 pm GMT

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

The natural beauty of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, with its sandstone cliffs, beaches, waterfalls, sand dunes, and more waiting to be explored.

Every ecosystem in the Park is influenced by Lake Superior, creating a one-of-a-kind landscape for visitors.

Countless outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and sightseeing await you.

Munising Falls

Accessible year-round, this 50-foot-tall waterfall is a must-see! Take the 800-foot, paved trail up a shaded canyon to Munising Falls.

Munising Falls, Pictured Rocks

There are two sets of stairs leading to platforms with even better views over a sandstone cliff.

Spray Falls

Spray Falls is the most removed and likely the most striking of waterfalls located in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

The waterfall looks as if it’s from a postcard; It’s seventy feet fall over the cliffs at Pictured Rocks end in Lake Superior.

Spray Falls, Pictured Rocks

To see the falls, you have to be on the water since they are at the edge of a cliff and there is no viewing area. There is no way to get close to the base of the falls without a watercraft because the cliffs are sheer for miles in both directions.

And don’t try swimming. Seriously, Lake Superior is too dang cold!

Miners Falls

This 50-footer is one of the most popular waterfalls in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Out of all the waterfalls located at Pictured Rocks, this is the second most accessible one after Munising Falls. It’s easy to get to and very impressive.

Miners Falls, Pictured Rocks

The viewpoint from the Miner’s Fall viewing area is a bit disappointing and getting down into the gorge for a better perspective is a challenge.

Bridalveil Falls

Sharing the moniker with Yosemite Valley’s famous water feature, Bridalveil Falls is one of the most popular falls in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Unfortunately, the best views of Bridalveil Falls are from the water, but it can also be seen in the distance from the lower Miners Castle overlook or west end of Miners Beach. You can’t see the waterfall from the top or from the North Country Trail.

Bridalveil Falls is a seasonal waterfall that typically dries up by midsummer. It’s a popular spot for photographers and postcards, especially in the autumn months.

Chapel Falls

This 60-foot fall cascades into Chapel Lake and is accessible by a 1.2-mile hike.

The falls are located in the Chapel Basin/Mosquito Area which provides miles of hiking opportunities. Click the link for more info.

Minnesota

Home to six national monuments, trails, and natural areas, as well as sixty-six state parks and recreation areas, Minnesota is a nature lover’s paradise.

Pipestone National Monument, Minnesota

This site has been used by American Indians for countless generations to quarry the red pipestone.

For countless centuries, these grounds have been sacred to indigenous peoples because the pipestone found here is carved into ceremonial pipes used for prayer.

The tradition of smoking pipes originated with the belief that the smoke carried one’s prayers to the Great Spirit. This tradition continues here today, with people still quarrying and making pipes.

Hiking Minnesota: A Guide to the State's Greatest Hiking Adventures
$24.95
  • View the spectacular waterfalls, gorges, and canyons of the nationally known Superior Hiking Trail
  • Step back into Native American history alongside the quarries of Pipestone National Monument
  • See bald eagles and other wildlife in Bear Head Lake State Park.
  • Highlighting the history and geography of each route, this book introduces more than forty of the finest trails the Gopher State has to offer.
Buy Now on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/27/2022 07:16 pm GMT

Winnewissa Falls

By no means grand when compared to some others on this list, Winnewissa Falls is humble, yet picturesque in its own rite.

A sacred bathing spot for Native Americans, the waters of the Pipestone are also highly contaminated with animal waste.

Ew.

I would find another spot to scrub my sacred nethers.

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Minnesota

This 72-mile river park situated in the heart of a booming metropolis provides many opportunities for outdoor activities, including fishing, boating and canoeing, birdwatching, cycling, and hiking.

The Mississippi River is not only a captivating natural wonder, but it also has a long and storied human history. There are plenty of visitor centers and trails that highlight this fascinating history.

Mississippi National River & Recreation Area Map & Illustrated Trails
$17.99
Buy Now on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/27/2022 07:16 pm GMT

St. Anthony Falls

This one has one doozie of a story that began 10,000 years ago.

The “offspring” of a once massive waterfall that eroded its way upstream and split into two waterfalls at the junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, St. Anthony is only 50 feet tall, but a whopping 56 feet wide!

Montana

Big Sky Country is known for its awe-inspiring landscape, and its waterfalls are no exception.

From Glacier National Park to the Flathead National Forest, there are plenty of places to explore.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, nicknamed “The Crown of the Continent,” is home to picturesque scenery, including glaciers, alpine meadows, valley carving, and gorgeous lakes.

If you’re looking for an intense history lesson while also getting your fill of breathtaking scenery, a trip to Glacier is perfect for you. With over 700 miles of trails, this park has something for everyone.

National Geographic Glacier & Waterton Lakes National Parks Topographic Map Pack
  •  2 of the maps cover Glacier National Park, while the third map covers Water Lakes National Park; all 3 maps show the dramatic landscapes of glacial carved valleys and peaks
  •  Maps include snow and water hazards, along with a complete trail network with backcountry campsites clearly shown
  •  Easy-to-read, yet highly detailed map shows comprehensive trail and road networks, along with designated trails for hiking, horseback riding, biking and more
  •  Clearly marked navigational aids with UTM coordinate grids, scale bar and full legend, essential for safely navigating the backcountry with GPS or compass
  •  Features key points of interest such as scenic views, campgrounds, trailheads, boat launches and picnic sites
  •  Color-coded boundaries for public lands including national parks, national forests, national monuments, ranger districts, wilderness areas, state parks and wildlife refuges
  •  1:50,000 scale
  •  Printed in the USA on durable, lightweight, waterproof and tear-resistant material designed to withstand all weather conditions
  •  Folded dimensions: 4 x 7.5 in.; unfolded dimensions: 37.75 x 25.5 in.
Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Saint Mary Falls, Baring Falls, Florence Falls, and Virginia Falls

These four waterfalls are some of the few natural wonders that make spending a few days exploring Saint Mary Valley worthwhile.

These waterfalls, although not record-setters, are still rewarding as are the hikes to get to them. Enjoy this during the warmer months when the rushing water forces a cool breeze through the narrow gorge.

It feels like you’re standing in front of an air conditioner!

Twin Falls, Appistoki Falls, Rockwell Falls, and Running Eagle Falls

The Twin Falls are two moderately-magnificent waterfalls tumbling over the rocks of Pumpelly Pillar’s eastern mountainside. The two falls are about 50 feet apart, coming back together again near the hiking trail.

Access this waterfall via the North Shore Trailhead or South Shore Trailhead of Two Medicine Valley.

Running Eagle Falls, Glacier

The other falls in this valley are all accessible via a 3.5-mile or less hike (easy to moderate difficulty) from their respective trailheads (see link).

McDonald Falls

Located on the northern tip of Lake McDonald, this waterfall is best accessed via the easy 1.9-mile John’s Lake Loop.

It’s not easy to get a full view of the falls from any of the popular viewpoints due to the surrounding pines; so, you may have to get creative with your approach.

Bird Woman Falls

Near Logan Pass on Glacier’s Going-to-the-Sun Road, this almost 500-foot thread-of-a-fall plummets down the precipice between Mount Oberlin and Mount Cannon.

Red Rock Falls

Redrock Falls is better described as a series of cascades and is one of Glacier National Park’s more impressive ones, in my estimation.

The hike to Redrock Falls is one for the books thanks to its stunning scenery and family-friendly terrain.

Begin at Swiftcurrent Pass Trailhead in Many Glacier Valley. Check the map for other waterfalls in this area like Apikuni, Morning Eagles, and Ptarmigan Falls. that can be accessed via short day hikes.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho

(See the section on Wyoming)

New Jersey

The Garden State is home to over 50 waterfalls, many of which are easily accessible and located near popular tourist attractions.

Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, New Jersey

Reported to be America’s first planned industrial city, Paterson, NJ was established in 1792 around the Passaic River where it drops 77 feet over the Great Falls.

Alexander Hamilton’s choice of The Great Falls Historic District in Paterson, New Jersey was based on his desire to turn America into a powerhouse economy that wasn’t reliant upon other countries.

His goal was to create an economic system where people were free from slavery and could pursue their own American Dream.

In 1976, President Ford announced that the area surrounding the factory was to be designated a National Historic Landmark. He stated that it symbolizes the industrial might which helps make America one of the most powerful nations.

Great Falls of the Passaic River

This prominent 77-foot waterfall is, by geologists’ estimate, about 13,000 years old and has been carving and reshaping the surrounding basalt landscape since.

Great Falls, Paterson

The falls is a prime example of a hanging valley waterfall. Learn more about it’s geological and industrial history in the park’s variety of guided tours.

North Carolina

Transylvania County in North Carolina boasts one of the highest annual rainfalls (over 90 inches per year). Because of this, the county has been dubbed “The Land of Waterfalls.”

Many of North Carolina’s waterfalls dwell within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains, several of which are covered in our section on Tennessee.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, and North Carolina

(See the section on Tennessee)

Ohio

Now, on to the only state that is high in the middle and round on the ends.

You’ll get it in a sec.

Anyway, Ohio has a few great waterfalls worth checking out, especially in Cuyahoga (“crooked river”) Valley National Park.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Although it is close to the cities of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park feels like another universe.

The park provides a safe haven for native plants and animals, as well as opportunities for visitors to explore.

The Cuyahoga River winds through deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands and boasts its fair share of waterfalls.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Map & Illustrated Trails: Guide to Camping, Walking, Running, and Exploring Cuyahoga Valley
$12.99
Buy Now on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/27/2022 07:16 pm GMT

Brandywine Falls

Cuyahoga’s most popular destination, the 60-foot Brandywine Falls is best visited during the shoulder season.

Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga

Just over 1 mile long, the Brandywine Gorge Loop hike is an opportunity to explore beyond the waterfall. This scenic trail starts at the bed & breakfast and leads you along the edge of a gorge until you reach creek level.

Blue Hen Falls

Considered by more than a few to be the best waterfall in Cuyahoga, the scenic overlook at Blue Hen Falls is a popular hiking destination in the Boston area.

The 15-foot waterfall is picturesque all year round, situated 3 miles from the Boston Mill Visitor Center on the difficult Buckeye Trail.

There is a 580-foot change in elevation making the short hike pretty steep.

Buttermilk Falls

Downstream from Blue Hen Falls lies the 30-foot cascade of the Buttermilk. There actually isn’t an NPS-blazed trail to this waterfall since it is technically on the property of the Boston Mills Ski Resort; but, enough hikers have frequented the area that a well-worn trail exists nonetheless.

Or, just keep on the Blue Hens Falls Trail and the 3-mile round trip will take you by Buttermilk eventually.

Linda Falls

Visit Linda after heavy rainfall. Otherwise, there’s not much to see. Still, it’s a nice hike.

Begin on Cuyahoga’s All Purpose Trail and the junction with the state-wide Buckeye Trail to the falls (see the upper left-hand corner of the linked NPS map).

Oregon

Oregon is overflowing with waterfalls … 238 documented to be specific.

And with 75-90 inches of annual rainfall, it’s one of the few states where you can find them in every season. Take your wet-weather gear!

So, whether you’re looking to beat the heat or escape the cold, here are some of Oregon’s best waterfalls to add to your list.

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Have you ever seen a pristine lake nestled in the caldera of a sleeping volcano?

Goosebumps on goosebumps.

Crater Lake

Crater Lake (located in Umpqua National Forrest) is an astonishing place that will leave you in awe. About 7,700 years ago, Native Americans witnessed a violent eruption that caused a tall peak to collapse.

Pure-fed by rain and snow, America’s deepest lake is also one of the world’s most pristine.

The blue water and picturesque setting of Crater Lake atop the Cascade Mountain Range draw in artists, photographers, and tourists.

National Geographic Crater Lake National Park Map
  • Coverage includes Sky Lakes, Mt. Thielson Wilderness and the Pacific Crest Trail
  •  Lists wilderness tips and Leave No Trace guidelines, along with trails, trailheads, points of interest, campgrounds, geologic history and much more
  •  Printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material with a plastic coating that offers supreme durability for your next outdoor adventure
  •  Includes selected waypoints in both Lat./Lon. and UTM coordinate systems as well as GPS-compatible UTM grid lines for easy navigation
  •  Measures 9.25 x 4.25 in. folded and 37.5 x 25.5 in. fully opened; scale of 1:40,680
Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Watson Falls

The 293-foot free-falling Watson Falls is the tallest in the Umpqua National Forest and one of Oregon’s most popular and highest waterfalls.

Watson Falls, Crater Lake

The Watson Falls Trailhead begins a short 0.4-mile hike to the falls. Something to be enjoyed by almost anyone.

National Creek Falls

This is an ideal hike for the whole family.

From the National Creek Falls Trailhead, hike through a forest of tall trees and shrubs, the trail leads to National Creek Falls at the bottom.

Fed by springs from Mt. Mazama, National Creek never dries up – even during droughts. The falls provide a refreshing escape from the summer heat.

Vidae Falls

Located right on the roadside, 115-foot Vidae Falls is probably the easiest waterfall to access in Crater Lake NP.

Vidae is located along the 33-mile Scenic Rim Drive along the Southern Rim 6 miles East of Rim Village. Look for signs for the roadside pullout.

Plaikni Falls

The aptly-named Plaikni (a Native American title translated as “from the high country” ) flows from its source at 7,000 feet high on the slopes of the volcano.

Plaikni Falls, Crater Lake

The two-mile trail to Plaikni is remote: however, it is a hard-packed trail that can be traversed by virtually anyone (wheelchair accessible) making it a popular detination. Expect crowds.

Toketee Falls

If you’re visiting Crater Lake, Toketee Falls should definitely be on your list of waterfalls to see.

This waterfall is located on the North Umpqua River where it converges with the Clearwater River.

Toketee Falls, Crater Lake

The word Toketee, derived from Chinook jargon, means “pretty” or “graceful.” And so it is, made up of a 113-foot drop from its uppermost tier to the first pool and an 85-foot plunge from there into a second, larger one, is located near Crater Lake.

Toketee is a popular Oregonian waterfall, prevalently renowned for its columnar basalt structures.

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

Passing through 16 states, The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail traverses through the homelands of over 60 Native American tribes, covering approximately 4,900 miles.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1803-1806 left from Pittsburgh, and this journey follows the same path all the way out to the Pacific Ocean.

This expedition has a complex legacy, and you can learn more about it by following the trail. You’ll find people, places, and stories that paint a picture of what happened.

FalconGuide's Traveling the Lewis and Clark Trail
$24.95 $23.12

This guide is an in-depth look at how to get the most out of a visit to the historic Lewis and Clark Trail.


The best sites to see and activities to do along the way are given, as well as maps, itineraries, and local resources for lodging and dining.

Buy Now on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/27/2022 07:16 pm GMT

Youngs River Falls

Situated only ten miles from Astoria, Oregon, Youngs River Falls is a fantastic place to take a swim and relax during the summer months.

The Youngs River’s warm waters crash down 54 feet onto rocks below, forming a pool that is five to seven feet at its deepest point. This area is dense with forest growth.

A 0.25-mile trail starting from the parking lot leads to the base of the waterfall, which is also visible from the parking lot.

Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park spans North Carolina and Tennessee, with dense forests cloaking the mountains.

America’s most visited national park is widely known for its plentiful plant and animal wildlife, stunning ancient mountain views, and great examples of Southern Appalachian culture.

And with 86 different trails leading to 100 different waterfalls, it has its fair cut.

To get the most out of your trip, we recommend equipping yourself with National Geographic’s Great Smoky Mountain National Park Trail Map when planning your waterfall hunting!

National Geographic Great Smoky Mountains National Park Trail Map
  • Provides valuable wilderness tips and Leave No Trace guidelines, along with updated trails, trailheads, points of interest, campgrounds and much more
  •  Printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material with a plastic coating that offers the durability needed for outdoor use
  •  Includes selected waypoints in both lat./lon. and UTM coordinate systems as well as GPS-compatible UTM grid lines for easy navigation
Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Read on to learn about just a few of the best waterfalls scattered throughout the Smokies.

Ramsey Cascades

Ramsey Cascades is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tucked away in a forest of hardwoods and situated among rocky boulders that span over 100 feet, it’s no wonder this spot is considered one of the gems of the park.

The stunning 4-mile hike (8 miles round trip) to the waterfall is moderately strenuous, with a 2,000′ elevation gain. Much of the tough terrain is found in the final mile which is filled with rocks and tree roots.

Base of Ramsey Falls, Great Smoky Mountains

If you love spending time outdoors and aren’t afraid of a little bit (or a lot) of hiking, this is one Smoky Mountain National Park hike that definitely needs to be on your bucket list.

Those who embark on this journey will be lucky enough to witness sprawling forests and a burbling creek and culminate their adventure at a breathtaking waterfall.

Rainbow Falls

This 80-foot waterfall constantly emits a mist that forms rainbows on sunny days, hence its name.

Reach the Rainbow Falls cascade by taking the 5.4-mile (round-trip) Rainbow Falls Trail from the trailhead near Roaring Fork. The falls are a delicate sheet of water pouring off a rocky cliff.

Laurel Falls

A frequently-visited 80-foot waterfall, Laurel Falls generates some serious crowds since it is located in the most-visited area of the park. Plan your visit during the shoulder season or early in the morning.

Laurel Falls, Great Smoky Mountains

If you’re headed to Cades Cove from the Sugarlands Visitor Center, the trailhead is 3.8 miles west.

Grotto Falls

The Trillium Gap Trail weaves in and out of an old-growth hemlock forest, and at one point the trail runs right behind the 25-foot-tall Grotto waterfall.

The environment near the falls, with its cool moisture, is perfect for salamanders and summer hikers.

This 3-mile hike (6 miles total) is of moderate difficulty.

Mingo Falls

Mingo Falls, located just outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Southern Appalachians and quite a sight to behold.

Although it’s a moderately difficult (albeit short) 0.4-mile hike, the reward is definitely worth it. You’ll get to enjoy stunning views of this 120-foot cascading waterfall.

If you’re in good physical condition, this hike should take approximately 30 minutes. If not, give yourself an hour.

Abrams Falls

Although Abrams Falls is only 20-25 feet tall, it’s still a beautiful waterfall compared to many others in the area. 

While not especially notable for its size, it’s the sheer volume of water flowing over it that draws hikers from all around. Abrams Falls has more water flowing over it than any other waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This not only enhances its majesty; but, it also makes this waterfall dangerous. People who have attempted to swim in the picturesque pool at its base have been caught in the powerful undertow and drowned.

Don’t be one of them.

Utah

Although renowned for its snow skiing opportunities, our search for the best waterfalls in this beautiful state will take us to its arid desert regions.

Weird, right?

Zion National Park, Utah

One of the most-visited parks in the U.S., Zion National Park, is home to some of the most stunning waterfalls and hikes in the country.

Perhaps what makes these falls so enchanting is their contrast with the surrounding red-rock, desert landscape. Whatever the reason, a visit to Zion National Park should definitely include a hike to one (or all) of these lovely falls.

Grab your own National Geographic Zion National Park Trails Map when planning your itinerary for Zion!

National Geographic Zion National Park Map
  •  Provides valuable wilderness tips and Leave No Trace guidelines, along with updated trails, trailheads, points of interest, campgrounds and much more
  •  Printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material with a plastic coating that offers the durability needed for outdoor use
  •  Includes selected waypoints in both lat./lon. and UTM coordinate systems as well as GPS-compatible UTM grid lines for easy navigation
  •  Measures 9.25 x 4 in. folded and 37.75 x 25.5 in. fully opened; scale of 1:37,700
Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Falls Along the Emerald Pools Trail

If one visits Zion, one must visit the Emerald Pools.

The Emerald Pools Trail is a moderate and picturesque hike in Zion Canyon.

The Zion Lodge (Shuttle Stop #5) is the starting point for this group of trails that cross the Virgin River. Hikers who take these paths will find themselves in a large stone amphitheater before coming to an oasis amid dusty desert surroundings.

There are three zones in Emerald Pools: the lower, middle, and upper. The most picturesque waterfalls drop from the middle to lower pools over towering cliffs.

Falls from Lower Emerald Pools, Zion

Many people visit this hike because it is easy and conveniently located near the Zion Lodge. It’s especially popular during summertime.

Mystery Falls in the Zion Narrows

The Zion Narrows is one of the most iconic hikes in the continental U.S.

This world-famous slot canyon is carved by the Virgin River and is a 16-mile round-trip hike that can take anywhere from 4-12 hours to complete, depending on how fast you hike and how often you stop to swim and explore side canyons.

But, you don’t have to hike the whole thing to witness some beautiful waterfalls back-dropped by a uniquely beautiful setting.

After entering the Narrows from the Temple of Sinawava (Shuttle Stop #9), Mystery Falls is only 0.5 miles in.

Day hikers typically turn back once they reach this landmark. The more adventurous press on.

Labyrinth Falls of Parunuweap Canyon

Many people believe that Parunuweap Canyon Trail, which protects the East Fork of the Virgin River, is even more amazing than Zion Narrows and marks the end of a section of the canyon referred to as “The Barracks.

Just south of the Mount Carmel Junction, a rocky gulch 16 miles long grows wider until it reaches and empties into the Virgin River.

The Paiute word “Parunuweap” translates to “roaring water canyon.” This area is especially narrow as it carves its way deeper into the sandstone.

Parunuweap is a haven for canyoneers and hikers who appreciate its natural beauty, tranquility, and the exhilarating challenge of completing a long, difficult hike through one of Zion’s amazing narrow canyons.

Nestled in the depths of the canyon, Labyrinth Falls is approximately a half-mile downstream from Powell Plaque.

Although it may be a serious challenge, you can reach the top of the waterfall. Once there, you cannot continue your journey downstream.

Virginia

If you’re looking for a less crowded waterfall experience and are willing to travel a little bit off the beaten path, then Virginia may be the state for you.

There are many hidden gems in this state, especially if you know where to look. So, without further ado, here are our top picks for the best waterfalls in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Just a short drive from the nation’s capital, Shenandoah National Park is teeming with natural beauty, including waterfalls, picturesque views, fields of wildflowers, and quiet forests.

Come explore over 200,000 acres of protected land that provides a home to deer, songbirds, and black bears.

And with such a vast area to explore, we recommend taking along the Falcon Guides Guidebook and Trail Map Bundle as a companion.

FalconGuides and National Geographic: Shenandoah National Park: Trail Map Bundle
  • Bundle includes FalconGuides guidebook and National Geographic Trails Illustrated map
  •  Guidebook contains information on trail surfaces, miles and directions, GPS coordinates, and detailed trail maps
Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Pro Tip: Waterfalls in Shenandoah are at their most impressive during the Spring runoff (March-April). Plan accordingly.

Dark Hollow Falls

Shenandoah National Park’s Dark Hollow Trail, though a bit of a steep grade in some areas, is a must-do for all visitors. The 1.4-mile loop to Dark Hollow Falls affords hikers gorgeous views and an invigorating workout.

The main path is kept in good condition and leads visitors along the edge of the main ridge, following the stream.

At the peak of the spring runoff (March-April), these falls are an amazing sight as water tumbles 70 feet down the side of the mountain.

Doyles River Falls

This Doyles River Trail is one of the most popular in the southern section of Shenandoah National Park.

Several smaller falls are located along Jones Run, and two large waterfalls can be found on Doyles River. Both have several swimming holes nearby.

However, if you want to swim, remember that the water is still mountain-cold, even in late summer!

Overall Run Falls

The hike to the falls, which is about 6.4 miles roundtrip, includes stunning views of not only the fall itself—which is 93 feet tall—but also of the Shenandoah Valley and Massanutten Mountain to the west.

The best time to see the waterfall is not during the summer; however, after heavy rain or in spring or fall when the water is running higher.

Whiteoak Canyon Falls

Whiteoak Canyon, which has six waterfalls with heights ranging from 35 to 86 feet, is one of Shenandoah National Park’s most sought-after destinations.

Although there are swimming holes at the bottom of each waterfall, know that these areas lack privacy because many people visit them.

The lower trailhead is in Madison County, where you’ll find a parking lot near the first of Lower Falls–it’s only a mile up the trail from there.

If you’re feeling up to it, hike all the way uphill to Upper Falls – which is also the highest (elevation-wise) waterfall in the park. Skyline Drive will be your reward!

South River Falls

One of Shenandoah’s more humble waterfalls, Soth River Falls, and the scenic hike that takes you there is very worthwhile, especially for those who love bird watching, butterflies, and larger wildlife (deer, bobcats, and bears … oh, my!)

Please note that this hike is moderately strenuous, as there is a 900′ elevation change up to the observation point at the falls. For those hiking the full 3.3 miles roundtrip, be aware that there is also a 1,200′ elevation change included in that journey.

Rose River Falls

A 67-foot waterfall complete with an idyllic swimming hole …

Yeah … on a hot summer day, it don’t get no better. (southern redneck grammar intended).

The Rose River Loop is a popular hike in Shenandoah National Park for its stunning waterfalls and crystal-clear streams. The 3.7-mile hike will follow the Rose River, Hog Camp Branch, and end at the Rose River fire road.

Washington

The only U.S. state named for a president, Washington is an ethnically and geographically diverse part of the U.S. and Pacific Northwest.

From the Pacific Ocean to spectacular mountain ranges, to its fertile agricultural lands in the east, Washington is known for far more than you may think.

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier is an iconic 14,410-foot mountain in Washington.

Mount Rainier is an active volcano and the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning five major rivers.

National Geographic Mount Rainier National Park Trail Map
  •  Lists valuable wilderness tips and Leave No Trace guidelines, along with updated trails, trailheads, points of interest, campgrounds and much more
  •  Printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material with a plastic coating that offers supreme durability for your next outdoor adventure
  •  Includes selected waypoints in both lat./lon. and UTM coordinate systems as well as GPS-compatible UTM grid lines for easy navigation
  •  Measures 9.25 x 4.25 in. folded and 37.75 x 25.5 in. fully opened; scale of 1:55,000 and 1:27,500
Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Mountains + Glaciers = Rivers and …

… Rivers + Mountainside Cliffs = Waterfalls.

Lots of waterfalls … like, 150 of them … and many over 300 feet high!

And no, I didn’t include all of them. I want to finish this post before I die.

Narada Falls

Narada Falls is approximately 50 feet wide, and the Paradise River feeding it falls 168 feet over an andesite rock face.

Although the most popular trail to the viewing area is only 0.2 miles, it is steep and shrouded in mist making things slick.

Narada Falls, Mount Rainier

The trail drops 200 feet at a constant rate, and there is a railing along the first section where ferns and blueberries may come from the uphill side.

After rounding the switchback, continue 400 more feet to reach the viewpoint. The falls appear most beautiful after mid-morning when they’re basked in sunlight.

Christine Falls

The Christine Falls is a 60-foot plunging waterfall located in front of a historic arched bridge.

Christine Falls, Mount Rainier

The Christine Falls bridge elegantly reaches across the Van Trump Creek canyon, situated between Rampart Ridge to the west and Cushman Crest towards the east.

Van Trump Creek flows north to south through the site, eventually meeting the Nisqually River at the falls.

Myrtle Falls

A wheelchair-accessible trail (Skyline Trail or Golden Gate Trail) provides easy access to this beautiful waterfall.

Myrtle Falls, Mount Rainier

From the mountainous backdrop and graceful 72-foot falls to the elegant footbridge crossing the creek, this is an ideal spot for a marriage proposal photo op.

It’s also a popular spot for photo bombers. Beware!

Spray Falls

Spray Creek falls 354 feet over a lava cliff in a magnificent, veil-like waterfall. The Flett Glacier remains to act as a dependable water source for this gorgeous waterfall.

For a journey that boasts peaceful and nature-filled scenery, follow the Spray Park Trail east for two miles. The forested terrain is perfect for an outdoor adventure, as the trail weaves up and down, crosses Lee Creek, and eventually reaches a spur trail leading to a viewing of Spray Falls.

Fairy Falls

Nearly 600 feet tall, this 3-tiered waterfall cascades down a headwall of Stevens Canyon.

Due to the climate crisis, the glaciers that used to provide water for the falls have melted away.

The falls, which were once a striking year-round feature, now only exist as a trickle by late summer due to the annual melting of the snowpack.

So, if you still doubt global warming … here’s one more pleading nudge in the other direction.

This waterfall is virtually inaccessible and can only be viewed from a great distance. Grab your binoculars and head toward the Snow Lake Trailhead for an eye-popping perspective.

Wilson Glacier Falls

Emerging from directly beneath the Wilson Glacier, this 300-foot waterfall is viewed from a distance from several viewpoints: Nisqually Vista, Glacier Vista, and the 5.5-mile Skyline Trail.

Wilson Glacier Falls, Mount Rainier

Comet Falls

This multi-tiered plunging fall drops over 300 feet and is one of Rainier’s most spectacular.

But, you’ll have to work for it. While the Comet Falls Trail is only 1.9 miles to get there, it gains 1,200 feet in elevation en route.

See, never skip Leg Day!

For a more exhaustive list of waterfalls in Mount Rainier National Park, visit the NPS website.

Olympic National Park, Washington

One of the things that makes Olympic National Park so special is its incredible range of precipitation and elevation. This diversity is what sets it apart from other parks.

Stretching over a million acres, the park safeguards an extensive wilderness, thousands of years of human history, and several different ecosystems, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rainforests, and over 70 miles of untamed coastline.

And waterfalls … this park has them in spades!

FalconGuides and National Geographic: Olympic National Park Trail Map Bundle
  •  Includes the 4th Edition of Best Easy Day Hikes: Olympic National Park, and a waterproof, tear-resistant topographic map by National Geographic
  •  Hiking guidebook includes 31 trail descriptions for manageable hikes with easy-to-follow maps
  •  Hikes are ranked from easiest to most challenging
  •  Provides GPS coordinates
Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

For a truly mystifying experience, plan a trip along the Olympic Peninsula’s Waterfall Trail during the spring runoff for some thunderous flows or during the snowy months for something utterly unique.

With seven unique waterfall areas, this is a nature lover’s paradise. You will find waterfalls that are both easily accessible by car or a short hike, as well as those that require more effort to reach.

For a true waterfall lover’s adventure, gear up for a backcountry exploration through Enchanted Valley, known locally as the “Valley of 10,000 Waterfalls.” For the best experience, visit during the spring snowmelt on a day hike or take on the 13-mile one-way trek through the valley.

Olympic National Park is a great place to find family-friendly hiking trails to waterfalls, such as the signature 60-foot Sol Duc Falls or 70-foot Spoon Creek Falls, and even the 229-foot Rocky Brook Falls.

Sol Duc Falls, Olympic Peninsula

The Olympic Peninsula is a true waterfall paradise!

Wyoming

Each year, millions of people travel to Wyoming to see its seven national parks, including Yellowstone. This park is home to the well-known Old Faithful geyser and the biggest hot spring in America.

Not only do people travel to see the breathtaking rock formation known as Devil’s Tower, but it is also a sacred site for the Plains Tribes. In fact, Theodore Roosevelt declared it the first national monument back in 1906.

Saddle up and ride for the Cowboy State. Let’s wrangle up some waterfalls.

Yeah, sorry. That was cheesy.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho

Yellowstone became the first national park on March 1, 1872, for everyone to appreciate its one-of-a-kind hydrothermal and geologic qualities.

Yellowstone National Park contains 2.2 million acres of pristine wilderness, home to a plethora of wildlife and unmatched opportunities to explore geothermal areas containing half the world’s active geysers.

And although Yellowstone is famous for its geysers and for the massive super-volcano lurking underneath its surface, what most people don’t know is that it also is home to over 300 waterfalls … some over 300 feet tall!

Start your day early to see as many of these as you can before the crowds and traffic hit!

National Geographic Yellowstone National Park Trail Map
  •  Lists wilderness tips and Leave No Trace guidelines, along with trails, trailheads, points of interest, campgrounds, geologic history and much more
  •  Printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material with a plastic coating that offers supreme durability for your next outdoor adventure
  •  Includes selected waypoints in both lat./lon. and UTM coordinate systems as well as GPS-compatible UTM grid lines for easy navigation
  •  Measures 9.25 x 4.25 in. folded and 37.75 x 25.5 in. fully opened; scale of 1:126,720
Buy Now on REI Co-op
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Also, consider the Falcon Guides: Hiking Yellowstone National Park to get the most out of your planning!

Upper and Lower Yellowstone River Falls

Indeed, the Upper and Lower Yellowstone River Falls are noteworthy tourist attractions in Yellowstone.

The brink of the Upper Falls is a breathtaking 109-foot drop into the historic Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, located just off North Rim Drive and South Rim Drive.

Yellowstone River Falls, Yellowstone

The Lower Yellowstone River Falls is the most famous waterfall in Yellowstone National Park. They drop an impressive 308 feet, and there are several postcard-worthy vantage points.

Artist’s Point is a favorite destination for anyone traveling to or through Yellowstone. It offers an unforgettable, picturesque view of the falls that can be enjoyed without having to hike first.

Undine Falls

Nestled east of Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park, Undine Falls is a stunning natural wonder.

Perhaps one of the easiest waterfalls to experience in Yellowstone, it only requires a simple roadside stop.

However, for a more personal, up-close encounter, a short 0.9-mile (round trip) hike along the Lava Creek Trail will take you to the other side of the falls, just a little higher than its brink.

Fairy Falls

Yellowstone’s tallest front-country waterfall, Fairy Falls plummets 220 feet from the edge of the Madison plateau.

Fairy Falls, Yellowstone

Hiking the Fairy Falls Trail will also treat you to spectacular views of the Spray and Imperial Geysers and some scenery that is just ridiculously beautiful.

Union Falls

Deep in the Bechler backcountry, 250-foot Union Falls can easily be designated as Yellowstone’s most beautiful waterfall. Two creeks come together to plummet over an arrangement of rock that causes the falls to fan out on its way down.

A hike to this waterfall is even better if you continue on to Ousel Pool for a relaxing swim in a geothermally heated waterfall and basin.

Tower Falls

The brink of this 132-foot plunge fall is flanked by multiple towering natural stone obelisks that stretch to the sky.

Tower Falls, Yellowstone

To reach the trailhead: Drive 2.4 miles south of Tower Junction on Grand Loop Road until you reach the large parking area for Tower Fall, which will be on your right (east) side 1.6 miles past Calcite Springs Overlook.

Mystic Falls

The hike to 70-foot Mystic Falls follows a pleasant stream to where Little Firehole River plummets over the edge of the Madison Plateau.

Mystic Falls, Yellowstone

The 2.4-mile hike to and from Mystic Falls is even better if you add the additional 1.5 miles to climb past the falls to the overlook at Upper Geyser Basin.

There are TONS and TONS of other waterfalls that are more than worthy of a spot in this post … but, suffice it to say, if you’re looking for a national park with waterfalls, Yellowstone will be your next Mecca.

Have a Nice Trip. See You Next Waterfall.

Few natural wonders in this world are as mystifying as waterfalls. There is something about their raw power and natural beauty that elicits a sense of awe and wonder in all who see them.

Thanks to the National Park Service and the many state and local parks across the country, we have the opportunity to experience these natural wonders up close and personal.

If you’re looking for a national park with waterfalls, Yellowstone should be at the top of your list. With over 300 waterfalls, some over 300 feet tall, there is no shortage of beauty to behold in this park.

Now, get out there!

Joshua Davis

Being outdoors is freedom! Being outdoors with my wife and two boys is LIVING! Whether in my backyard or getting lost in a National Park, there’s nothing I’d rather do than explore, discover, and experience the paradise that surrounds us. Give me my family, a backpack, and a trail and my life is full!