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Top 10 Famous Waterfalls You Have to Visit in Your Lifetime

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Waterfalls are some of the most breathtaking natural beauties that Mother Nature has to offer. Stumbling upon one could be the grand finale following an arduous hike or a renowned spot that’s you meditate and take the opportunity to reconnect and reground.

With plenty to marvel at in the US, where do you even begin to make a list of the all-time top 10? What follows is a selection of famous waterfalls that are spread throughout the United States that you MUST see in your lifetime.



10. Waimoku Falls, Hawaii

Top 10 US Famous Waterfalls | Waimoku

Location: Haleakala National Park Kipahulu District (Maui Island)

Accessibility: A moderate day hike.

Waimoku Falls is a 400-foot waterfall situated at the end of the Pipiwai Trail in the Haleakala National Park, Hawaii. Beside the beautiful waterfalls, there are three key points of interest on the trail leading up to this waterfall, an enormous banyan tree, the Makahiku Falls, and a picturesque bamboo forest. Although a tall waterfall, it flows year round. There is no swimming hole here, but several other waterfalls and swimming holes can be found further downstream, in a spot informally known as the “Seven Sacred Pools.”



9. Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Top 10 US Famous Waterfalls | Multnomah

Location: Between Corbett and Dodson, Oregon

Accessibility: Roadside/Short Walk

Located between the communities of Corbett and Dodson, along the Historic Columbia River Highway, Multnomah Falls is a waterfall on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon and, according to the United States Forest Service, is the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States, although some dispute this assessment. The waterfall was formed at the end of a hanging valley created by the Missoula Floods at the end of the last ice age. A paved foot trail leads to Benson Footbridge, a 45-foot-long footbridge that is a favorite for photographers and wedding couples. The footbridge allows visitors to cross 105 feet above the lower cascade, which allows for spectacular views of the waterfall.



8. Vernal Falls, California

Top 10 US Famous Waterfalls | Vernal

Location: Devil’s Postpile National Monument, California

Accessibility: A moderate day hike

Located on the Merced River in the Devil’s Postpile National Monument, Vernal Falls is a 317-foot waterfall and is one of the country’s most beautiful. Located just downstream from another well-known waterfall, the Nevada Fall, in Yosemite National Park, California, Vernal Falls flows year-round, although in the summer months its volume and power is substantially reduced, and it splits into multiple strands, rather than in a solid curtain of water at other times. Like its upstream neighbor, Vernal Falls is clearly visible at a distance, from Glacier Point, as well as close up, along Yosemite’s signature trial, the Mist Trail, which is simply one of the most beautiful trials in Yosemite.

For stamp collectors, Vernal Falls has an interesting history as it was erroneously depicted as Pagsanjan Falls in the Philippines on a 1932 Philippines stamp, even though the two waterfalls are quite dissimilar.



7. Shoshone Falls, Idaho

Top 10 US Famous Waterfalls | shoshone falls

Location: Shoshone Falls Park, Idaho

Accessibility: Short walk

Easily accessible via a short, roadside walk, this 1,000-foot wide and 212-foot tall waterfall is actually higher than Niagara Falls and it has been dubbed the “Niagara of the West.” It is one of the most powerful waterfalls in the country. Nestled on the Snake River, it is surrounded by other good waterfalls as well. Located approximately three miles northeast of Twin Falls, the city owns and operates a park overlooking the waterfall where visitors can camp. It is best visited in the spring, as the diversion of the Snake River often significantly diminishes water levels in the late summer and fall.



6. McWay Falls, California

Top 10 US Famous Waterfalls | McWay

Location: Julia Pfiefer Burns State Park, California

Accessibility: A short walk

Located in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, about 37 miles south of Carmel, California, McWay Falls is an 80 foot waterfall that flows year-round from McWay Creek and cascades directly into the Pacific ocean, one of only two such waterfalls in California. Parking is available along Highway 1 and the surrounding Big Sur area contains some of the most scenic trails in North America.



5. Twin Falls or Triple Falls (depending on the weather), Arkansas

Top 10 US Famous Waterfalls | triple falls

Location: Boy Scouts of America (Camp Orr), Arkansas

Accessibility: A short walk

Located a third-of-a-mile from Jasper, Arkansas, in the Camp Orr Boy Scout Camp, Twin Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the Ozarks. It is sometimes dubbed “Triple Falls” because, during rainy seasons, three plunges often appear rather than normal two. Besides its stunning scenic beauty, it is also one of the easiest waterfalls to access. The trail leading from the waterfalls offer a number of activity options and they are accessible year-round.



4. Cumberland Falls, Kentucky

Top 10 US Famous Waterfalls | Cumberland
Location: Cumberland Falls State Park, Kentucky

Accessibility: Short walk

Often dubbed “Little Niagara”, the “Niagara of the South”, or the “Great Falls”, Cumberland Falls spans the river at the border of McCreary and Whitley counties in southeastern Kentucky. The 68-foot waterfall is the central feature of the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, which is one of the most popular state parks on the east coast. On a clear night, during a full moon, the elusive lunar rainbow, or “moonbow” as it is sometimes known, can be seen in the mist emanating from the falls. This ghostly arch of white light that runs from the Falls’ base and continues downstream has been drawing visitors for generations.



3. Bridalveil Falls, California

Top 10 US Famous Waterfalls | Bridalveil

Location, Yosemite National Park, California

Accessibility: Roadside/Short walk

Located inside Yosemite National Park, Bridalveil Falls is one of the most prominent waterfalls in the Yosemite Valley and it draws over a million tourists a year. The waterfall is over 617 feet high and flows year round. Although believed to be the home to an American Indian vengeful spirit named Pohono, there is a superstition that inhaling the mist of Bridalveil Falls improves one’s chances of marriage. When visiting, arrive early, as there are limited parking spots. February is a particularly interesting month to visit as the inclement weather brings lightning storms that make the falls look like they are alight.



2. Yosemite Falls, California

Top 10 US Famous Waterfalls | YOSEMITE

Location, Yosemite National Park, California

Accessibility: Roadside/Hiking trail

At a height is a 2,425 feet, Yosemite Falls is one the highest waterfalls in North America. If Niagara doesn’t hold the title of the most famous waterfall in the USA, then this one surely does. Yosemite Falls is one of the main attractions of the Yosemite National Park and the best time to see it is in spring, when the snowmelt occurs. Peak runoff typically occurs in May or June, with the Falls often drying out completely by August. A range of lodging options are available, from simple tent cabins at the High Sierra Camp Ground to deluxe rooms at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel.

Traversing Yosemite Falls is quite a hike, but it comes with a one-of-a-kind payoff – panoramic views of Yosemite Valley (the only place outside Sentinel Dome where all of Yosemite Falls is visible), as well as the chance to wander through the spray running off upper Yosemite Falls.



1. Niagara Falls, New York

Top 10 US Famous Waterfalls | NIAGRA

Location: Border of Ontario, Canada, and New York, United States

Accessibility: Short walk

Arguably, the most famous waterfall in North America, Niagara Falls is located on the Niagara River, which flows from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. Niagara Falls is actually three waterfalls in one; Horseshoe Falls, The American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. Straddling the Canadian and US border, Horseshoe Falls is technically on the Canadian side, while the other two are on the American side. The combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world that has a vertical drop of more than 165 feet and it is known the world over as a honeymoon destination as well as a place where daredevils have attempted to conquer, many at their own peril.


How many of these have you visited? Tell us in the comments below!

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