Bucket List October 31, 2022
14 Wondrous Waterfalls Across America That Rival Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is, hands down, the most famous waterfall in the country. The first state park designated in the United States, Niagara Falls State Park attracts some 30 million visitors each year and is a true American icon. Draining Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the falls — technically a set of three cascades — are one of the most powerful on the continent, with six million cubic feet of water flowing every minute. Niagara is a magnificent spectacle to see in person and a humbling reminder of Mother Nature’s prowess. It’s glorious and epic, yes, but there are wondrous waterfalls across the country that easily rival Niagara Falls. These are grand, towering falls located in the most spectacular settings. These are natural wonders that are a bucket-list experience all on their own. These are places sure to stoke and satisfy even the most insatiable waterfall-chasing wanderlust.
Palouse Falls - Washington
Quite possibly the most extraordinary waterfall in the country,
looks like something out of a fantasy. This waterfall is really a package deal; located in Palouse Falls State Park in southeastern Washington, the eponymous cascade thunders over a chiseled, 200-foot basalt gorge, sending a spectacular stream of spray to all in its wake. It's an immensely grand scene that's worthy of the falls' title as the official state waterfall of Washington, and a thrilling experience for waterfall chasers.
Palouse Falls, Washington 99143, USA
Multnomah Falls - Oregon
Hailed as The Crown Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia River Gorge is home to over 90 waterfalls (
on the Oregon side alone
) and is the largest natural scenic area in the United States. Within this waterfall wonderland,
is the star. The PNW’s most iconic cascade, Multnomah Falls is a 620-foot-tall roaring waterfall that draws more than 2 million visitors per year to witness its power and beauty. Fed by underground springs from nearby Larch Mountain, as well as snowmelt and rainwater, this iconic cascade flows year round; however, the flow is strongest in spring and winter. The most popular way to experience Multnomah is from the Benson Bridge, which traverses Multnomah Creek between the two cascades of the falls and can be reached via a paved, five-minute hike. More experienced hikers can trek an additional 2.4 miles to the top of the falls and back, or continue on Larch Mountain Trail for six miles to get an amazing view of the Columbia River Gorge in all its glory.
Multnomah Falls, Oregon 97014, USA
Shoshone Falls - Idaho
is Idaho's most iconic waterfall, boasting falls that are higher than Niagara's. The sight of this cascade is downright awe-inspiring, and a favorite among ardent waterfall chasers. The best place to view the falls is from the overlook in the eponymous Shoshone Falls Park during the spring; however, Shoshone Falls truly is a sublime sight any time of the year, with the falls often freezing during winter cold snaps. Regardless of
you visit Shoshone Falls, it's an epic scene known for leaving spectators speechless.
Shoshone Falls, Idaho 83341, USA
Lower Falls - Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park
is an American treasure and a waterfall chaser's paradise. The national park is home to upwards of 45 glorious cascades, the tallest and most visited of which is Lower Falls. This waterfall is a dazzling vision; it cascades down from a height of 308 feet and is nearly
twice as high
as Niagara Falls. What's more, Lower Falls also has something Niagara doesn't: a scenic location at the head of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. This prime location sets the stage for a bold and breathtaking view that's truly bucket-list worthy.
Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River, Wyoming 82190, USA
Yosemite Falls - California
The tallest waterfall in North America,
is a major attraction within Yosemite National Park and it's considered one of the most stunning waterfalls in the world. The breathtaking falls drop a total of 2,425 feet from the top of the upper fall to the base of the lower falls. Consisting of three sections, Yosemite Falls is truly a one-of-a-kind natural wonder. Like all of Yosemite National Park, the falls are brilliant to behold year-round, but are especially popular during late spring when water flow is at its peak. (The falls typically cease flowing in late summer or fall.) Getting a view of Lower Yosemite Fall is easiest; the 320-foot drop is easily observed via a popular viewing area in the park. Wherever and whenever you visit Yosemite Falls, know this: seeing this awe-inspiring cascade is an experience that most definitely belongs on your bucket list.
Yosemite Falls, California, USA
Havasu Falls - Arizona
Located in the arid Arizona desert, within the red, rocky walls of the Grand Canyon, you'll find a magical mirage -- a pristine oasis with clear, azure waters and an abundant, rushing waterfall. While the Grand Canyon gets all the credit in terms of Arizona's most spectacular natural wonders,
is a showstopper. Right next to Grand Canyon National Park, the falls are located at the base of Havasu Canyon on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. Havasu Falls is just under 100 feet tall and its powerful cascade spills into its iconic aquamarine waters -- caused by a series of chemical reactions -- below. It's one of the most startlingly sublime natural spectacles in the country; an experience to which pictures simply cannot do justice.
Havasu Falls, Arizona 86435, USA
Hamilton Pool Preserve - Texas
Hamilton Pool Preserve
isn't as much a single waterfall as it is an entire waterfall
. The limestone grotto formed thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to erosion. Beneath its expanse, a 50-foot waterfall flows into the pool, creating a sublime, total sensory experience. Between the turquoise waters, mossy overhangs, caverns, and trickling falls (or
), Hamilton Pool Preserve is easily one of the most enchanting waterfalls in the country.
Hamilton Pool, Texas 78620, USA
High Falls - Minnesota
is an underrated treasure. Located on the Minnesota/Canada border, High Falls is 120 feet of pure power that will leave you completely spellbound. The 1.2-mile hike to access this waterfall is almost as swoon-worthy as the falls themselves, too. A well-marked trail that's perfect for all skill levels, the hike ends at a scenic overlook. Just prepare to be dazzled: there is no sight quite like the rushing waters of the High Falls as they roar over the cliff on their way to Lake Superior.
High Falls, Tettegouche State Park, 5702 MN-61, Silver Bay, MN 55614, USA
Tahquamenon Falls - Michigan
One of the most visually stunning waterfalls in the country, Tahquamenon Falls is actually
enchanting cascades, both located inside the eponymous Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Unlike other cerulean blue falls, Tahquamenon is marked by its signature coppery hue, which comes from tannins absorbed from cedar and hemlock swamps. While this chemical reaction can cloud the falls in the summer, during the winter months, the tannins infuse the frozen falls with a delightful -- and unexpected -- pop of color. With its coppery hue and lush surrounding,
is a #PureMichigan scene unlike any other.
Tahquamenon Falls, McMillan Township, MI 49768, USA
Ruby Falls - Tennessee
The tallest underground waterfall in the country,
is an absolutely awe-inspiring spectacle that will stop you in your tracks. Everything about Ruby Falls is unique, from its underground location
a mountain to its otherworldly caverns full of fascinating geologic formations and superlative stats. At 145 feet tall, Ruby Falls is an extraordinary spectacle, and there are many ways to experience the falls. The Lantern Tours are perhaps the most magical way to experience these underground falls; small groups are led through the caverns with hand-held lanterns as the only light source. Rock formations, pristine pools, and shadows dance before your eyes.
Ruby Falls truly is an experience for any self-described waterfall chaser.
Ruby Falls, Chattanooga, TN 37409, USA
Cumberland Falls - Kentucky
Hailed as Kentucky's "Niagara of the South," Cumberland Falls is a majestic, 68-foot waterfall located on the commanding Cumberland River. Not only is
an awe-inspiring force of nature, it's also the site of a natural phenomenon that's so rare, it's only experienced a few places in the entire world. Known as a "moonbow," this prismatic phenomenon is created when light refracts in the waterfall's spraying water droplets. The moonbow lingers above the falls for up to two days as long as the sky is clear, on either end of the full moon. One of the most spectacular and accessible waterfall trails in the country, the Moonbow Trail is a bucket-list must -- especially at night.
Cumberland Falls, Kentucky, USA
Great Falls - Virginia
A jaw-dropping natural wonder in Virginia, at
, the Potomac River drops 50 feet and flows into Mather Gorge, creating a vision so stunning you'll feel as though you've entered a land before time. The falls are located within the eponymous park, a scenic and rocky stretch of the Potomac that twists and turns for 800 amazing acres, resulting in Class V rapids and abundant cascades. During cold spells, the falls often freeze over, making for a winter wonderland you won't believe is just minutes from our nation's capital.
Letchworth State Park - New York
Known as the
Grand Canyon of the East
, Letchworth State Park is one of Upstate New York's most glorious wonders. Here, the Genesee River roars through the majestic gorge, over picture-perfect tiered waterfalls, between stately cliffs, and along the lush, fairy-tale wilderness. Letchworth State Park's panoramas are unreal, with the Genesee River thundering through the gorge and over three major waterfalls. The Upper Falls cascades 40 feet down the river and sit beneath a railroad bridge; Middle Falls is a staggering 107 feet in height, and the only waterfall visitors can actually stand right alongside its edge; and 127 steps and a stone bridge lead to the lovely Lower Falls. Being close to something so commanding is truly wondrous and life-affirming, and while a particularly epic, 176-foot waterfall often commands the New York spotlight, Letchworth State Park really is a waterfall chaser's dream.
Letchworth State Park, 1 Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427, USA
Wailua Falls - Hawaii
In a state with arguably the highest density of waterfalls in the U.S., the waterfalls found on Hawaii's Kauai island are truly second to none. From the stunning Jurassic Falls you can only witness via helicopter tour to the ethereal “weeping wall,” Kauai waterfalls are remarkable, but there is only one cascade magical enough to be called Hawaii’s Niagara Falls. Surrounded by lush foliage and pouring 80 feet into a dazzling pool,
is more beautiful than language can convey. Unlike many of Kauai’s waterfalls, Wailua Falls is wholly, wonderfully accessible -- no hiking necessary. But while you can leave the hiking boots at home, definitely bring your camera: when the sun hits at just the right angle, a beautiful rainbow extending from the base of the falls into the mist will appear. It's a spectacular sight to behold, and one you'll hold in your heart forever.
Wailua Falls, Hawaii 96746, USA
Now that you’ve experienced some of the wondrous U.S. waterfalls that rival Niagara Falls, why not plan to visit some
captivating canyons that challenge the Grand Canyon? Instagram Inspiration:
If you love waterfalls, Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park is a must-visit. Take a moderate, 7.2-mile loop trail (The Trail of Ten Falls) to see several spectacular waterfalls, rocky canyons, and winding creeks. You’ll even have the chance to walk behind a 177-foot waterfall! For more travel inspiration and to discover unique destinations across the USA, follow OnlyInYourState on
Instagram and Facebook.
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