There’s something about United States most beautiful waterfalls that makes them worth the chase, whether a road trip to a new destination or an overnight hike in one of country’s magnificent national parks. From stunning chutes of water jutting from tropical cliffs to gentle tumbles down the side of a glacier, here are 20 of the most beautiful waterfalls in the USA that should definitely make your bucket list.

1. Waimoku Falls / Maui, Hawaii

Waimoku Falls in Haleakala National Park Kipahulu is more about the journey than the destination. The scenic 1.8-mile Pipiwai Trail leads you through towering bamboo forests and past series of waterfalls in a pristine tropical rain forest before dropping you near the base of the 400-foot tall Waimoku cascade. However, due to safety concerns, you have to keep a distance from the water. This trail is known for being well-maintained and not too difficult, with an intermediate incline slowly leading up to the falls.

2. McWay Falls / Big Sur, California

An 80-foot plummet straight into the Pacific Ocean, McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a must while in the Big Sur area. Visit as a quick pit stop off Highway 1, taking the short and easy hike to the falls, or opt for one of the longer linked hiking trails for rewarding views of the California coast and one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the USA.

3. Silver Falls State Park / Sublimity, Oregon

Quality and quantity collide at Silver Falls State Park in Sublimity, Oregon, where the 7.2-mile long Trail of Ten Falls takes you past 10 amazing waterfalls in a row. The trail may be most famous for South Falls, a tall cascade whose unique position allows you to walk directly behind the waterfall for a look at the side less seen. Tack the trip onto your Portland itinerary by joining a guided day trip to Silver Falls from Portland.

4. Niagara Falls / New York

The king of America’s most beautiful waterfalls, visiting Niagara Falls is a surefire bucket-list experience. Three magnificent falls, two American and one Canadian, mark the point at which the Niagara River rumbles over the Niagara Escarpment. Reviewers claim that the scenic attraction is “Heaven on Earth…Everyone should visit the fall at least once in their lifetime. Words cannot describe the feeling or the euphoria of being there.”

5. Tahquamenon Falls / Paradise, Michigan

The bar is set high for a place called Paradise, and Michigan’s Tahquamenon Falls do not disappoint. These famous waterfalls are split into two equally stunning halves. Visit the Upper Falls for a view of rust-colored cascades, a result of the tannins leeched from cedar trees upstream, before heading to the Lower Falls, a group of five cascades tumbling around a freshwater island. Both waterfalls are located in Tahquamenon Fall State Park, which offers hiking trails, camping, and winter sports.

6. Wailua Falls / Lihue, Hawaii

Leave your boots behind for a trip to Wailua Falls, a frothy cascade just steps from a main road. You might recognize these famous waterfalls from their appearance in the opening credits of the hit TV show “Fantasy Island” or promotional materials for Kauai, as they are largely recognized as some of the most amazing waterfalls on the island. Though there aren’t any surrounding hiking trails, the falls’ beauty make them worth a quick pit stop. Or, make a day of it by visiting as part of a Hawaii movie tour or private Kauai sightseeing tour.

7. Cumberland Falls / Corbin, Kentucky

Known as the “Niagara of the South,” Cumberland Falls in Corbin, Kentucky is a 125-foot wide vail of gushing blue-green water in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. The falls are easily accessed from a pair of viewing platforms located right off the highway, but hiking trails give you the option to make a full day of the visit. Plan your trip on a full moon for the chance to see a moon bow, a rainbow caused from the strength of the light reflecting off the falls and the full moon.

8. Akaka Falls Park / Hilo, Hawaii

Take an easy half-mile hike down a paved trail to see Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls emerge from Hawaii’s lush tropical landscape. Walk past wild orchids and drooping banana trees en route to the falls, stopping to admire the sights from multiple viewing platforms along the way. A Big Island waterfall tour makes it easy to see Akaka Falls and other amazing waterfalls in a single day.

9. Bridalveil Fall / Yosemite, California

From Ansel Adams to Instagram, Bridalveil Fall is one of the most iconic views in Yosemite National Park. This famous waterfall tumbles 620-feet down to the base, with enough water in the spring and early summertime to mist its visitors and a delicate yellow glow in the winter. Though the waterfall is not wheelchair accessible, it is only a 10-minute walk down a paved path from the main visitor parking lot. Visit as part of a larger trip to Yosemite from San Francisco or Los Angeles to make the most of your time in California.

10. Nugget Falls / Juneau, Alaska

Nugget Falls is all about location, with its position at the tail end of Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier helping it make the cut as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the USA. The falls are formed from a glacial creek and make their way into Mendenhall Lake over the course of a 2-tiered drop. Though accessible on there own via a graveled path, they are often visited as part of a Juneau shore excursion or Mendenhall Lake tour.


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