Best Waterfall Hikes In USA - Treks That Take You To Another World

Waterfalls are gorgeous to look at. Period. There is something so bewitching and poetic about looking at gallons and gallons of water gushing down at top speed and emptying into a basin underneath that it should come as no surprise the number of songs and poems that have been composed to capture the beauty of these magnificent gifts of Nature. If you thought it can’t get more beautiful, try trekking a rugged path through the wilderness and hostile conditions to reach a waterfall, and you will know what paradise looks like! Stop being a tourist, and start being a traveler. 
Here is a list of some of the best waterfall hikes in the USA that will surely make you speed up on your travel plans!

California

1. Yosemite Falls

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Though the Yosemite National Park in California is home to a number of astounding waterfalls, the star attraction of the park undoubtedly has to be the 5th highest waterfall in the world, the Yosemite Falls. The 7-mile roundtrip trek to the top is one of the oldest and hardest, but seeing the waterfall in its full splendor is totally worth the sweat!
 
Difficulty level: Hard
Best time to visit: May to June
Waterfall Height: 2,425 feet

2. Nevada Fall

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

To reach the very top of the Nevada Fall, one has to be prepared to tame the incredibly challenging Mist Trail that requires a lot of walking, hiking and steep climbing. On the way, dazzling views and another very popular waterfall The Vernal Fall also can be seen, but no other attraction can truly beat what awaits climbers at the top! Jaw dropping views of the Nevada Fall and the whole Yosemite Valley can be captured from this point and will surely make up for every sore bone in the body.
 
Difficulty level: Medium-Hard
Best time to visit: May to June
Waterfall Height: 595 feet

3. Alamere Falls

Image Source: Akos Kokal/Flickr  

Though not the grandest of all waterfalls, the Alamere Falls, definitely stands out as a unique one. It is actually a tidefall, that is, a waterfall that empties straight into the ocean and thus a feature that makes it very special. The roundtrip to the waterfall is just a little over 7 miles, but this length can be increased by taking different routes and making small detours. The real beauty of this hike simply lies in its route and the various whale spotting opportunities, exquisite wildflowers and serene lakes present.
 
Difficulty level: Easy-Medium
Best time to visit: January to March
Waterfall Height: 40 feet
 
 

4. Feather Falls

Image Source: NAParish/flickr.com

The path that leads to the Feather Falls in the Pumas National Forest offers such mesmerizing sights to the hikers that it comes as no big surprise that they are attracted over and over to this wonderful 8 to 9-mile trail. Also, this is one of those trails where your furry four-legged friends can also accompany you till the very end, but of course on a leash. On the whole route, you will be constantly greeted to panoramic landscapes and exquisite wildlife that are sure to leave some long-lasting awesome memories!
 
Difficulty level: Easy-Medium
Best time to visit: March to November
Waterfall Height: 410 feet

5. Bridalveil Fall

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons  

Another one of Yosemite National Park’s gems, the Bridalveil Fall is a very well known and much popular waterfall in the whole of California. Every year, some millions of tourists line up to get a good look at the majestic beauty of this imposing waterfall. A major reason for its popularity is its extremely scenic and easy-to-do trekking path that is not very lengthy and can be easily covered by kids, adults and the aged alike.
 
Difficulty level: Easy
Best time to visit: May to June
Waterfall Height: 617 feet

Washington

6. Comet Falls

Image Source: brewbooks/flickr.com

The hike to Comet Falls and back is just a few yards short of 4 miles, but don’t let the short distance fool you. The only thing that surpasses the beauty of this path is its treacherously difficult terrain, which at times can lead to slips and falls. But if the weather conditions are fine, then a little bit of precaution will easily avoid any unwanted accidents. Apart from the Comet Falls, several other wonderful waterfalls, sparkling tributaries and majestic peaks are visible on the path. 
 
Difficulty level: Medium-Hard
Best time to visit: Mid-July to Mid-October
Waterfall Height: 320 feet

7. Palouse Falls

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The trail path leading to the Palouse Falls is known for its tricky nature and difficult-to-navigate patches. The only reason for calling it moderately tough is its short length of 2 miles, otherwise, the trek is quite challenging indeed. The Palouse Falls are called Washington’s most beautiful waterfalls and for a good reason. The sight of water gushing out at full velocity and plunging into the depths is a powerful and poetic sight which is sure to give you some goose bumps!
 
Difficulty level: Medium
Best time to visit: Mid-May to September
Waterfall Height: 198 feet 

8. Wallace Falls

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Wallace Falls are one of the major attractions in Washington that are extremely popular amongst tourists all round the year and see a number of them turn up to just get a glance at the regal sight of the thundering water rush down the hilly terrain. The trail is particularly known for its relative difficulty and is also pet-friendly, but because of accident chances, has made leashes absolutely compulsory. The falls are a gorgeous sight and drop down in 3 different segments. Visitors can also enjoy the natural beauty and tranquil peace of this wonderful park during their visit.
 
Difficulty level: Medium
Best time to visit: April to June
Waterfall Height: 367 feet

Oregon

9. Multnomah Falls

Image Source: Oregon Department of Transportation/Flickr

The Multnomah Falls are one of Oregon’s very famous and most visited tourist destinations all through the year. Factors like year-round water availability, unique bridge to view the falls and the most gorgeous backdrop ever, make Multnomah a must visit attraction while vacationing in Oregon. No wonder then, that the bridge is busy with tourists throughout the year, who travel thousands of miles to just take a look at this wondrous gift of Mother Nature.
 
Difficulty level: Easy
Best time to visit: July to September
Waterfall Height: 620 feet

10. South Falls

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The South Falls are one of the many waterfalls that are located in the Silver Falls State Park and are probably the grandest amongst them all. The path which leads to the fall itself is quite easy to tackle and allows hikers to explore the natural beauty around them with apparent ease and in full detail. The thing that sets the South Falls apart from the rest is not only its height but also that one can go behind the waterfall and have a good look at it from here. 
 
Difficulty level: Easy
Best time to visit: March to May
Waterfall Height: 177 feet
 
 

Tennessee

11. Ruby Falls

Image Source: Matthew Macpherson/Flickr

Ruby Falls is a delightful underground waterfall that definitely has to be visited while on a visit to the state of Tennessee. The property is privately owned and has its charges but the trek is not too strenuous or technical. The path can be easily traversed and the waterfall is simply too beautiful to be just put into mere words. Usually, early mornings are preferred by visitors because of less number of people on the track and good lighting ensures great pictures!
 
Difficulty level: Easy
Best time to visit: May to September
Waterfall Height: 145 feet

12. Burgess Falls

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Burgess Falls are beautiful cascading waterfalls located in the state of Tennessee. The water from the falls empties into a huge limestone gorge that is covered from all sides and makes the waterfall look even more surreal. In all, there are 4 waterfalls on the 3 miles to and fro trip, and apart from these, there are also magnificent viewing points, exotic birds and surreal landscapes. The difficulty level is also not too high but also not simple, so for adventure lovers, it makes up for a great excursion.
 
Difficulty Level: Medium
Best time to visit: March to May
Waterfall Height: 136 feet

Arizona 

13. Havasu Falls

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Though the Grand Canyon National Park hardly requires any more excuses to plan a visit, the Havasu Falls are one such attraction that will surely make you start planning for a visit as soon as possible! The water in the falls has a sort of turquoise color and gives Havasu an unearthly look. One has to walk distances of 8 10 miles one way to reach the Havasu and Mooney Falls, but other alternatives like helicopter also exist for people not willing to walk all the way back again. The availability of campgrounds makes this trek all the more adventurous and full of delights, thus being considered one of the best waterfall hikes in the country!
 
Difficulty level: Medium-Hard 
Best time to visit: March to May
Waterfall Height: 100 feet

Wyoming

14. Lower Yellowstone Falls

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The path leading to the Lower Falls at Yellowstone National Park might not be the toughest or the lengthiest one in the Park, but in terms of terrific views and jaw-dropping landscapes it surely takes the crown. The trail is very short, just short of 1 mile in fact, and the path leading to the waterfall offers four brilliant points for a splendid view.
 
Difficulty level: Easy
Best time to visit: April to October
Waterfall Height: 308 feet

Idaho

15. Shoshone Falls

  

Image Souce: Wikimedia Commons
 
To term the Shoshone Falls as simply big would be an understatement. With an elevation of 212 feet and width of 925 feet, it is in fact MASSIVE! The best visual spectacle is in the high water level months when the whole breadth of the fall appears like a single block of water falling together. The trail, though fairly simple, has ample views of the whole valley, streams and lustrous vegetation and makes the perfect backdrop for some remarkable pictures.
 
Difficulty level: Easy
Best time to visit: March to May
Waterfall Height: 212 feet

Georgia

16. Amicalola Falls

Image Source: Ryan McKee/flickr.com

Georgia’s very own pride the cascading Amicalola Falls are a sight so spectacular that one can expect large numbers of people almost all months of the year flocking to the park just to catch the waterfall in all of its glory. The trek is a short 4 miles to and fro, but don’t let the distance fool you. The path tends to be very strenuous at times, and has quite a number of steps to be climbed to reach the higher viewing points. In the autumn months, the view of the waterfall with the peak leafs in the backdrop is probably every photography enthusiasts dream come true!
 
Difficulty level: Medium
Best time to visit: September and October
Waterfall Height: 729 feet

New Hampshire

17. Arethusa Falls

  

Image Souce: Wikimedia Commons
 
The hike to Arethusa Falls is fun no matter what time of the year it is. These 140 feet gorgeous waterfall are as splendid a sight in the spring and summers, when the water is gushing down, as they are, frozen in the winters. A fun thing to do in the park in winters is to see ice climbers attempting to scale the waterfalls. The trail to the Arethusa Falls is challenging but also great fun and if you add other attractions like the Frankenstein Cliff and the Ripley Falls it becomes all the more enjoyable.
 
Difficulty level: Medium-Hard 
Best time to visit: April to August
Waterfall Height: 140 feet

Hawaii

18. Waimoku Falls

Image Source: Rick McCharles/flickr.com

Sunny beaches, chilled cocktails and ultimate luxuries are the thoughts that pop into the mind when one thinks about Hawaii. But one of the lesser-known gems of a Hawaiian vacation  is its fabulous natural beauty. And the best way to soak in all of this tropical delight is by taking a walk through the wonderful trekking paths spread over the island. The Pipiwai Trail is one such route that is used to reach the Waimoku Falls. It is a very well maintained path and has a number of beautiful attractions on the way including another prominent waterfall named Makahiku Falls. Undoubtedly one of the best waterfall hikes in the USA!
 
Difficulty level: Easy-Medium 
Best time to visit: January to March
Waterfall Height: 400 feet

Utah 

19. Calf Creek Falls

  

 
It is always an amazing sight to see a full-fledged waterfall in the middle of a hot, expansive desert and the Calf Creek Falls in Utah are exactly like a dream come true! Decked with sparkling water and a deep swimming pool hole, reaching the waterfall after a long hike, becomes totally worth all the effort. There are basically 2 waterfalls Lower and Upper. Lower Fall is the nearer one of the two while Upper is a further tough-to-traverse 1 mile away.
 
Difficulty level: Medium
Best time to visit: May to March
Waterfall Height: 214 feet

New York

20. Taughannock Falls

Image Source: Philip Cohen/flickr.com

The incredible Taughannock Falls in New York State is the highest single drop waterfall lying in the east direction of Rocky Mountains. It is a plunge waterfall and is, in fact, taller than the Niagara Falls too! There are two famous trails to reach the waterfall. The Gorge Trail is a very simple, year-round open and enjoyable trek while the Rim Trail is the more adventurous and daunting option. The Rim trail is closed in the winters, though. Swimming is prohibited in the waters throughout the year for a few safety issues.
 
Difficulty level: Easy (Gorge Trail)/Medium Hard (Rim Trail)
Best time to visit: March to August
Waterfall Height: 215 feet
 
So feel like planning an excursion to any of the above-given trails? Have you hiked anywhere that you feel should be on this list of the best waterfall hikes in the country? Do tell us by writing in the comments section below!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ROHIN RAJ ROHIN RAJ

Little by little, one travels far... - J. R. R. Tolkien | | These magical words brought out the traveler within me, and prompted this 'Engineer by mistake', 'Fauji Brat by birth' and 'Ninja by fantasy', to start compiling all of those miles traveled into beautiful words!

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