15 Must Do Waterfall Hikes Across the US

Dundee Falls, Wyoming

Dundee Falls, Wyoming

Waterfalls!  There’s something magical about the cascade of water tumbling over one or more ledges to the river below.  It catches your breath, makes you want to pull out your camera, even though you know you can’t capture the way the falling water makes you feel.

Slide Creek Falls in the Wind River Range of Wyoming

Slide Creek Falls in the Wind River Range of Wyoming

Waterfalls are one thing that every state seems to major in.  Everywhere I go, people talk about the lovely waterfalls at such-and-such place; even in the middle of the desert, waterfalls are a great attraction.

Waterfall in Garnet Canyon, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Waterfall in Garnet Canyon, Wyoming

So here are 15 waterfalls across the US that I feel are worth hiking to see!

A waterfall that appeared on the slopes of Mt. Baker after part of the glacier broke off. Ptarmigan Ridge Trail, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

A waterfall that appeared on the slopes of Mt. Baker after part of the glacier broke off

15 Must-Do Waterfall Hikes

Niagara Falls at night, Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls at night

  1. Niagara Falls, New York / Ontario, Canada. Honestly, waterfalls don’t get more impressive than this.  Take a nice long walk along the Canadian side of the falls for the best views, all the way up to Brink of the Falls where you can stand right next to the water rushing on its way over the lip of the Falls… Hiking distance varies.
    Spray Falls

    Spray Falls

  2. Spray Falls, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington. This falls isn’t the easiest to get to if you actually want to see more than a group of pine trees, but by crossing the river, the size and magnificence takes your breath away.  Visit in the afternoon for better lighting.  And the great thing is that the trail to the falls has numerous little waterfalls along it, making for a double-great hike! 4.8 miles RT
     


     

    Bonus Waterfall! Myrtle Falls, Paradise Area, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.  A lovely little falls below stunning meadows and incredible views of Washington’s only 14er.  About 1 mile RT

    Slide Creek Falls, Wind River Range, Wyoming

    Slide Creek Falls

  3. Slide Creek Falls, Green River Lakes, Wyoming. This is probably one of the most unique waterfalls I’ve ever stumbled across in my travels.  Water simply pours down a 45 degree rock face for hundreds of feet.  Pretty cool!  9-10 miles RT
    Kootenai Falls, Montana

    Kootenai Falls

  4. Kootenai Falls, Kootenai Falls County Park, Montana. Now here’s a really nice unknown waterfall.  It’s definitely a local haunt, with a viewpoint over the Falls, a swing bridge to the other side of the river, and more social hiking opportunities to other views of the waterfall on the far side of the river.  About 1.5 miles RT
    Marymere Falls, Olympic National Park, Washington

    Marymere Falls

  5. Marymere Falls, Olympic National Park, Washington. As a young girl, this was one of my all-time favorite hikes.  I’m not sure if it was because I loved the waterfall, or because a picture I’d taken on our first visit had been featured in a family publication… At any rate, it’s a lovely representation of waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest. 3 miles RT
    Maidenhair Falls, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California

    Maidenhair Falls

  6. Maidenhair Falls, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California. If “Hidden” is what you’re looking for – and you don’t mind the lack of a trail – Maidenhair Falls is a pretty cool find, especially considered that you walk up a very dry desert canyon to find it.  About 6 miles RT
    Waterfall in The Gorge, White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire

    Waterfall in The Gorge

  7. The Gorge, Ammonoosuc Ravine, New Hampshire. The Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail is best known as a route up Mount Washington.  However, it boasts multiple impressive waterfalls, not the least of which is on a short side-trail simply signed “The Gorge”.  A multi-step waterfall at the end of the steep route is sure to leave visitors in awe. 3.2 miles RT
    Bridalveil Falls in Spearfish Canyon in October, Black Hills of South Dakota

    Bridalveil Falls in Spearfish Canyon in October

  8. Bridal Veil Falls / Roughlock Falls, Spearfish Canyon, South Dakota. These two waterfalls, just down the road from each other, are beautiful.  Roughlock has a short trail to some overlooks, while Bridal Veil is just along the side of the road – which doesn’t keep some tourists and locals from scrambling down the bank, crossing the river, and standing at the bottom of the falls!  Certainly less than 1 mile RT
    Nooksack Falls, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

    Nooksack Falls

  9. Nooksack Falls, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington. This has got to be one of Mt. Baker’s hidden gems.  Sure, there aren’t views of the mountain, but the waterfall is still a great short side hike away from the higher elevation hikes.  3 miles RT
    Yellowstone Falls, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

    Yellowstone Falls

  10. Red Rock Point, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Red Rock Point may be the destination, but the view of Lower Yellowstone Falls is what makes the trail worthwhile.  It’s just, well, impressive, both from the upper Lookout Point and the lower Red Rock Point. 0.5 miles RT
    Upper Falls in Letchworth State Park, New York

    Upper Falls in Letchworth State Park

  11. Letchworth State Park, New York. If you’re looking for waterfalls, it’s hard to beat Letchworth.  Three impressive falls, a scenic train bridge, a historic hotel, you get the idea.  Hiking length varies.
    Bridal Veil Falls in September - in the spring, the flow is so intense you can't even get close to the falls. Yosemite National Park, California

    Bridal Veil Falls in September – in the spring, the flow is so intense you can’t even get close to the falls

  12. Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California. Here’s a waterfall that changes dramatically with the seasons.  In the spring, you can barely get close to it due to the tremendous spray; in the fall, the tiny mist of water gets whipped away from the rock face by the wind.  Still, it’s worth visiting in any season to enjoy its misty drop.  5 miles RT

     

    Bonus Waterfall! Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California.  The only reason this one doesn’t get in the best of the best is because it totally isn’t worth visiting unless it’s spring or early summer.  Then it’s got to be one of the most impressive waterfalls I’ve seen outside of Niagara Falls! 0.5 miles RT, though getting away from the falls, for example, up Glacier Point or Sentinel Dome, helps to get a better view

    Sioux Falls, South Dakota

    Sioux Falls

  13. Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This is a park in the middle of the small city, but it’s a nice one.  Water tumbles over red ledges of rocks and through channels carved in the rock.  Pretty nice, and a great way to break up a trip on I-90 or I-29.  1 mile or less RT
    Waterfall along the Heliotrope Divide Trail, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

    Waterfall along the Heliotrope Divide Trail

  14. Heliotrope Divide, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington. It’s actually the waterfalls I’m talking about here, but you’ll have to cross some of the rivers all the same to see the best of the falls.  If you want, you can continue on to overlooks of the crevasse-studded glacier.  About 4.5 miles RT
    Upper North Falls in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

    Upper North Falls in Silver Falls State Park

  15. Trail of Ten Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon. There literally are 10 impressive waterfalls on this loop, making it a waterfall junkie’s paradise.  One of my favorites was Upper North Falls.  9 miles RT

    Bonus Waterfall! Multmomah Falls / Wahkeena Falls Loop.  So many waterfalls on a little loop!  My favorite is Fairy, but they’re all great!

 

Do you have any must-do waterfalls?

 

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