The Most Gorgeous Waterfall in Every State
Can a bucket list have 50 entries? Your’s may soon have a few more after you check out these top beauties all around the country.
Alabama: Caney Creek Falls
Located in Bankhead National Forest in northern Alabama, this waterfall gently cascades down into a picture-perfect swimming hole. The trail to reach it is a fairly easy 1.5-mile hike, but the passage down into the mossy canyon can be slippery, so hikers will need to use caution. The waterfall is beautiful year-round, but particularly during high water periods, when a second fall appears to the right of the main flow, adding to the spot’s beauty. Though you might imagine Caney Creek falls to be a standard example of a gushing, natural waterfall, these facts about the world’s most incredible waterfalls will explain why every fall is different.
Alaska: Nugget Falls
Juneau’s iconic waterfall cascades down the mountainside next to Mendenhall Glacier. Watching the rushing water merge into iceberg-filled Mendenhall Lake is a once-in-a-lifetime sight. Along the easy gravel trail from the visitor’s center, keep an eye out for wildlife including bears, mountain goats, beavers, and bald eagles. At the end of the trail, you can walk right up to the fall’s base and feel the mist on your face. Although this picture of Nugget Falls may seem unparalleled, each one of these breathtaking waterfall pictures and coastal views is even more spectacular than the last.
Arizona: Havasu Falls
One of the most beautiful natural pools in the world, the Grand Canyon’s Havasu Falls is also one of the hardest to get to. Located on land administered by the Havasupai Tribe (“people of the blue-green water”), who’ve lived there for over a thousand years, Havasu Falls requires a reservation, at least one overnight camping stay, and a 10-mile trek through the desert. But swimming in the turquoise pool at the bottom of the falls, which plunges nearly 100 feet, is worth the effort. Due to concerns over the condition of pack horses, you may want to carry your own gear.
Arkansas: Twin Falls
Deep in the heart of Ozark National Forest, the Richland Creek area boasts some of Arkansas’ best scenery, including numerous waterfalls. As the name suggests, Twin Falls is a two-for-one. Located at the juncture where Long Devil’s Fork and Big Devil’s Fork meet—after heavy rains, the 20-foot falls are most beautiful, and the clear pool begs to be waded in. Getting there requires a fairly difficult hike along a poorly marked trail, but the surrounding area offers numerous other water features, including Richland Falls and Falling Water Falls.
California: Yosemite Falls
Mike Ver Sprill/Shutterstock
Located in the spectacular Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Yosemite Falls is the highlight of all the waterfalls in the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains. This three-tiered, 2,425-foot national treasure is the park’s tallest waterfall, and one of the tallest in the world. If you want to see the water at peak flow, visit in the spring when winter snows are melting; if you wait until August you might only see a trickle. The falls are visible from different vantage points around the park. There are all-day hikes, including a path that’s wheelchair accessible. While you’re adding Yosemite Falls to your bucket list, you may want to leave room for these other awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Sites everyone needs to visit.
Colorado: Hanging Lake Falls
Call it Mother Nature’s infinity pool! The pristine blue-green water with tinkling falls on the edge of a cliff in Glenwood Canyon is one of the most beautiful spots in the state—but this one’s a look-but-don’t-touch. The shimmering beauty of the crystalline lake is the result of travertine deposits, and sustaining the fragile ecosystem requires that visitors not dip even a finger in the waters. A short but steep and rocky one-mile climb will bring you to the falls, but don’t stop there. A bit further down the path, another waterfall called Spouting Rock emerges straight out of a hole in the rock face. When you decide to leave this stunning sight, enhance your visit to Colorado (or your road-trip home) by checking out these hidden gems in every state!
Connecticut: Kent Falls
This quaint waterfall in western Connecticut is a series of cascades that flows gently down a mountain stream. Hike to the top, or have a picnic on the grassy expanse of lawn near the bottom of the falls. The spot is gorgeous year-round, whether you come for summer heat relief, the autumn foliage, or the ice-covered falls that form in winter. If you enjoy visiting these sparkling, frosty falls during the colder months, you’ll be obsessed with the views from America’s prettiest winter towns.
Delaware: Brandywine Creek Falls
Low-lying Delaware doesn’t have many large falls, but you can find some very pretty small ones along Brandywine Creek, which runs from the Delaware River in the Wilmington area to Pennsylvania. What these falls lack in height they make up for in length, spanning the length of the river. Tubing on the lazy Brandywine is also a popular summer pastime, but use caution near falls and faster-flowing water. Before embarking on the hike to Brandywine Creek, hikers should familiarize themselves with these 21 essential hiking tips.
Florida: Falling Waters State Park Falls
In the Florida panhandle lies the state’s tallest waterfall, which is also its most uniquely beautiful. The 73-foot falls in Falling Waters State Park plunges into a deep sinkhole, where the water disappears into an underground cavern—no one knows where it ends up. Boardwalks allow you to get close to the falls near where it hurtles over the top of the sink. Wait until after a heavy rainfall to see the falls at its finest. The park also offers 11 other sinkholes that are relatively stable, given they’re millions of years old. There’s also a campground and a lake for swimming and fishing. If you’re driving across state, don’t miss the oldest city in the US—that’s absolutely beautiful.
Georgia: Amicalola Falls
Near the southern start of the 2,000-mile long Appalachian trail tumbles Amicalola Falls, northern Georgia’s 730-foot tall cascade. (Amicalola actually means “tumbling waters” in Cherokee.) A series of staircases and boardwalks let hikers get close to, and even cross over, the magnificent waterfall. Approaches range from easy to difficult, so the whole family can enjoy the awesome sight. Camping, lodge accommodations, and even a back-country inn (accessible only by foot) provide lodging for visitors who want to stay the night. Expert campers who enjoy Amicalola Falls may also want to bring their tents to these 15 amazing campsites in national parks.