We love nature. And we love waterfalls so much! Okay, the same stands for mountains, alpine lakes, lush green forests or the ocean. But let’s stick to waterfalls for now. Because we want to share our favorites with you from the United States.
Because the US has a lot to offer in terms of waterfalls, too. A few of them are really famous (looking at you, Niagara) but we had a lot of surprises. So here comes a totally random list of our favorites – with the disclosure that we’re sure this list is very far from complete. Still we hope to whet your appetite for waterfall hunting!
Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California
So our favorite waterfall place in the world first: Yosemite National Park in California – especially Yosemite Valley that is home to 8 stunning waterfalls. One of them, Yosemite Falls is the 5th tallest in the world with its 2425 feet (739 m) height. It can be easily spotted from almost anywhere in Yosemite Valley and its roaring sound fills the place every spring. Actually, it consists of 3 falls: Lower Yosemite Fall, Upper Yosemite Fall and the middle cascades.
Vernal Fall, Yosemite National Park, California
We won’t list all the waterfalls of Yosemite here (promise!) but we can’t shut up about them just yet. Because another very special one is 317 feet (~96 m) tall Vernal Fall and what we like about it the most is its constant rainbow. Thanks to the mist coming from the waterfall you can always find a rainbow somewhere near in sunny weather. And you have very high chances of sunny weather in California.
Nevada Fall, Yosemite National Park, California
Hiking to the top of Nevada Fall (594 feet / 181 m) is a fabulous scenic hike that ends at the viewpoint right above the waterfall. Looking down to Nevada Fall from there is astonishing – you might see a rainbow in the mist down there, too. Besides, this viewpoint offers magical panoramic views over Yosemite.
Lower and Upper Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park is not particularly famous for waterfalls. Actually, its waterfalls have a very bad luck. If they would have been somewhere else, they probably would have been the stars of that park. Yellowstone is so full of unique natural wonders though that among bisons, geysers, colorful hot springs and other geothermal features, people often forget about its waterfalls. But it has quite a few and they are impressive! Our favorites were the Lower and Upper Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
The waterfalls of Watkins Glen State Park, New York
Watkins Glen is a small state park in New York that stole our hearts from the moment we arrived. Because of its waterfalls, of course. However, we can’t name any because the 2 miles long Gorge Trail runs in a glen that has 19 waterfalls on the way. None of them are huge but all of them are very pretty! And there’s one you can walk behind. And one that has a charming bridge over it in the narrow canyon. And one that… Okay, I stop rambling now and give you a tip instead: Watkins Glen is only 3 hours drive from world-famous Niagara Falls. 🙂
Taughannock Falls State Park, New York
Taughannock Falls State Park is also located in New York’s Finger Lakes area – just like Watkins Glen. We spent a beautiful afternoon in this park that’s home to a dramatic canyon and three impressive waterfalls.
Alamere Falls, Point Reyes National Seashore, California
Point Reyes National Seashore is one of the largest coastal parks in California and it’s our very favorite. One of its highlights is definitely Alamere Falls – a waterfall on a beach. When the tide is high it flows right into the ocean. Unlike the famous McWay Falls of Big Sur (that we won’t mention in the list because we’ve mentioned it already a hundred times on this blog) Alamere Falls is not very-well known.
Waterfalls of Mount Waialeale and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii
The island of Kauai is the land of waterfalls (and rainbows… and monk seals… and chickens… and so many other things…) and taking a helicopter ride above the island is one of our best travel experiences. We won’t ever forget the lush green valleys with hundreds of hidden waterfalls around Mount Waialeale. Or the random waterfalls of Waimea Canyon – some of them can even be accessed by car or seen from the road.
Hanakapiai Falls, Kauai, Hawaii
Hanakapiai Falls (300 feet/91 m) was the largest waterfall we got close to in Kauai. And when I say close I mean it. This enormous waterfall thundering above us was really an experience – Csaba even jumped in the pool for a swim (FYI: it’s very cold).
Wailua Falls, Kauai, Hawaii
Another gem from Kauai: Wailua Falls (83 feet/25 m) is the most easily accessible on the island. The viewpoint for the waterfall is actually the parking lot itself. If you are up to a bit more adventure though there is a steep and muddy trail leading down to the bottom of the falls. And yes, you can have a swim in the pool.
Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
Silver Falls State Park is a small one in Oregon and it attracted our attention with a trail named the ‘Trail Of Ten Falls’. It turned out to be as good as it sounds as we hiked from the southern entrance of the park to the northern one with all the lovely waterfalls on the way (and then back). The most spectacular ones are right by the two entrances, by the way: South Falls and North Falls. And there are several waterfalls you can walk behind – are we the only ones enjoying that so much?
Christine Falls, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
As Mount Rainier National Park was covered in dense fog for most of our visit, the most fabulous views we enjoyed in the park were the waterfalls. Christine Falls for one is right by Paradise Road – under the road, actually. There’s a little bridge over it and the whole scene looks like a postcard.
Narada Falls, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Narada Falls is also along Paradise Road – not far from Christine Falls. There’s a short, steep trail that gave us access to the best view of the falls!
Myrtle Falls, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Myrtle Falls is another pretty reward that’s easy to get: it’s just 0.4 mile walk on Skyline Trail starting from Paradise Inn. There were wildflowers all over the meadows on our way there and we could just imagine how beautiful the scenery around it could be in clear weather. We got our mystic foggy version though, that’s what.
Niagara Falls, New York
Finally, there’s Niagara Falls, of course. We left it to the end partly because everyone knows about it anyway. It’s probably the most famous waterfall in the world and it has the highest flow rate of all the waterfalls. It consists of three separate parts: the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls (or Canadian Falls).
On the other hand, you can actually get the best views of mighty Niagara Falls from the Canadian side. We are not saying that visiting the American side is not a special experience. In addition there are several lovely trails in the Niagara Falls State Park that’s worth exploring. But if you visit Niagara it’s worth crossing the border because the Canadian side has THE VIEWS. 🙂
Now what are some of your favorite waterfalls in the US?