The Top 10 Best US Waterfalls

Cumberland Falls and double rainbow
It's not easy to put together a Top 10 Best US Waterfalls List because it's completely subjective and limited to each person's experience with the falls being named. This list is based on our own personal experiences so you know it's genuine. At this point, we've sampled quite a variety of waterfalls through the United States (in all regions from the American Southwest to the Pacific Northwest to the Eastern United States) so we believe that we've finally gotten to a point where we can consider this list mature. Nonetheless, we had a very difficult time trying to pick just 10 waterfalls of the USA out of the ones we've seen. We tried to balance numerous factors such as accessibility, allure, scenery, and longevity. And I'm sure this list is prone to changing as we visit more waterfalls in the good 'ol US of A. So without further adieu, here are America's Top 10 in reverse order...

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[Navajo Indian Reservation, Arizona]

10. GRAND FALLS (OF THE LITTLE COLORADO RIVER) [Navajo Indian Reservation, Arizona]
Despite this waterfall's short season, when it's on, it's one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the US. Julie and I were impressed as we witnessed the muddy Little Colorado River spilling over Grand Canyon-like cliffs as the stream meandered its way towards its bigger brother further to the west. Add to this the terraced layers leading to the three-step 181ft cumulative drop as well as a chocolate-like appearance that gained it a nickname of the "Chocolate Falls." Add it all up, we have to believe this is one of the most unique waterfalls found anywhere and hence earns a spot on the list.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

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[Point Reyes National Seashore, California]

9. ALAMERE FALLS [Point Reyes National Seashore, California]
We've been flip flopping about picking this one over McWay Falls, but the one thing this one had going for it was its accessibility. Of course even as I say that, we still had to hike over 8 miles round trip, but the entire hike provided gorgeous coastal scenery. Then for the final act, we got to walk on the coarse sandy beach with this waterfall on one side and the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing on the other. I have to believe it's one of the more surreal scenes in our home state of California, and that's enough to make me put this diminutive attraction amongst America's Top 10.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

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[near Corbin, Kentucky]

8. CUMBERLAND FALLS [near Corbin, Kentucky]
They call this the Niagara of the South, and after seeing it for ourselves, we can totally see why! While this classically wide and rectangular waterfall is known for producing lunar rainbows (also known as moonbows), we were perfectly happy with the conventional rainbows arcing across its base during our visit. Adding to the already colorful scene were pretty Fall colors as well! And despite the park being completely free during our visit, the place still retained a rural countryside charm that seemed to be the norm in the South. Add it all up and now we can see what waterfallers in the South had known all along, and why no US top 10 list would be complete without it!

Click here to read more about these waterfalls.

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[Havasupai Indian Reservation, Arizona]

7. HAVASU FALLS [Havasupai Indian Reservation, Arizona]
Nestled deep in the remote Havasupai Indian Reservation (a side canyon of the world famous Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona), this special year-round waterfall is one of the most beautifully situated waterfalls in the country. Adding to its scenic allure are the blue-green waters of Havasu Creek, the travertine stalactites and dams surrounding the falls, and the red-rock scenery that makes the Grand Canyon possibly the nation's most visited National Park. We had to earn our visit by hiking in at least 8 miles from a remote car park at the Hualapai Hilltop to the Supai village, but that just added to the overall adventure and the memories that came from it. Indeed, putting this unique waterfall on the list was a no-brainer.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

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[LaCrosse, Washington]

6. PALOUSE FALLS [LaCrosse, Washington]
Blasting our preconceived notions of the type of scenery we thought the state of Washington featured, this waterfall surprised us with its loud presence within a rugged and naturesque canyon that very much reminded us of kind of scenery we thought could be in Iceland. Everything about this place just seemed wild and raw, and perhaps that was what really left us a lasting impression. While we recognize that Snoqualmie Falls could very well be the state's most well-known waterfall, it was refreshing to see a waterfall like this in a setting that was left alone to let Nature decide how it should be seen and experienced, and thus deserved a spot on this list.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

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[Columbia River Gorge, Oregon]

5. MULTNOMAH FALLS [Columbia River Gorge, Oregon]
One of the most iconic waterfalls in the US, this is the star attraction of the famous Columbia River Gorge, which itself boasts numerous waterfalls - many of which are serious waterfalls themselves. But this 620ft year-round waterfall with a concrete arched bridge over its lower drop as well as a historic lodge fronting it always draws millions of visitors each year. And after our visit to this waterfall, we can totally see why. I'm sure as we make repeated visits to Portland, it's practically compulsory for us to come back and see this falls in different moods and flows. With a waterfall this irresistable, we just had to make room for it on this Top 10 list.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

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[Yosemite National Park, California]

4. BRIDALVEIL FALL [Yosemite National Park, California]
While there are other similarly-sized waterfalls (or bigger) in the country, I'm partial to this 620ft year-rounder because its position frames Yosemite Valley (arguably the most beautiful valley in the world) opposite the imposing El Capitan. Ever heard of "The Gates of Yosemite Valley"? Indeed, this waterfall is part of the landscape described by John Muir and photographed by Ansel Adams among others while seen by just about every visitor thereafter (perhaps making it cliche to some). But on its own merits (ignoring the cliche aspect), there's no question it's one of the most beautifully situated waterfalls ever. Heck, the sight of the incomparable valley when we leave the Wawona Tunnel and head into the valley during spring still leaves a lump in my throat every time.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

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[Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming]

3. LOWER FALLS (OF THE YELLOWSTONE RIVER) [Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming]
Including this over 300ft waterfall amongst America's Top 10 was compulsory. After all, its impossibly-scenic location at the head of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River (which Julie and I were able to take in from various lookouts) makes this the must-see attraction of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. That's saying something considering the park is more famous for predictable geysers and an abundance of wildlife that some consider America's version of the Serengeti.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

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[Yosemite National Park, California]

2. YOSEMITE FALLS [Yosemite National Park, California]
***World's Top 10*** This 2425ft waterfall is one of the tallest in the world and widely considered the crown jewel of Yosemite National Park's plethora of cliff-diving waterfalls. Julie and I were able to enjoy the falls from numerous spots where we were able to both drive to as well as hike to, which meant there was always a different way to experience it. The only catch with this beauty is that it dries up by mid to late Summer as it runs through its massive winter snowpack very quickly thanks to its relatively bare, unforgiving granite drainage. Nonetheless, if it can induce superlatives from the likes of Ansel Adams, John Muir, Thomas Ayres, Francois Matthes, James Hutchings, and more, there's a good chance it can do the same to you, too!

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

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[near Buffalo, New York]

1. NIAGARA FALLS [near Buffalo, New York]
***World's Top 10*** The Granddaddy of the waterfalls in the United States, it easily surpasses all others in the country in terms of sheer power, size, popularity, and more. Shared between Western New York in the USA and Southeastern Ontario in Canada, bring your passport and experience this world famous attraction from both sides as well as the plethora of activities on offer here. We consider this waterfall to be one of the World's Big Three so it easily occupies the top spot amongst America's Top 10. If you could only see one waterfall in the country, besides crying, make sure not to miss this one!

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

What's YOUR Top 10 List?

Have your own Top 10 List?

Or do you have a favorite waterfall?

Is there one (or more) waterfalls that you think should've been on this list?

Any waterfalls you feel that shouldn't have been on this list?

Everybody has an opinion. What's yours?

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You can use the form below, but if you find our host's interface too troublesome to use (especially if you're trying to upload photos), then just send a text submission anyways using the form, but also let us know that you'd like to attach photos. If you've provided an email address via the form, then we can reply back acknowledging your request, and you can then reply to that email with your photo attachments. We're very sorry about this, but there's not much we can do about SBI's terrible interface.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

My Personal Top 10 Favorite Waterfalls 
Like our host, I considered putting McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park on my list. It is one of the most beautiful spots on CA 1, but it is …

My Favorite (Chittenango Falls) 
Although you have picked some of the best of the popular waterfalls, there are many more beautiful that are not as well known. My overall favorite …

Tahquamenon Falls, Michigan 
There are two distinct falls here, on the Tahquamenon River in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Lower Falls are a series of rapids which drop maybe ten …

Shoshone Falls in Idaho 
Not sure why this isn't on most lists?

Cumberland Falls  
I have only seen a couple of great falls, of course the other great falls I have seen was Niagara . I have also seen many beautiful small falls; Clifty …

Falling Springs waterfall 
Falling Springs waterfall in Alleghany County,VA is really pretty and you can climb down to it. Pictures don't do it justice but the land and pond at the …

Silver Falls in Oregon  
I mention this place to you because there are like 12 waterfalls all in this park. So if you go plan on an all day hike but there's different sizes one …

Taughannock Falls 
Taughannock Falls , located near Ithaca, New York is taller than Niagara Falls . It comes in at 215 feet tall, topping Niagara's 167 feet. This …

Burney Falls 
Burney Falls in Northern California is another great waterfall. We camped there years ago and the falls are wide and beautiful. The water doesn't drop …

Yosemite National Park 
The back drop to Vernal Falls and the hike is so pretty. Yosemite National Park is just breath taking all together.

Native East Tennesseean 
This is not waterfall-specific, but I am pretty sure that the Grand Canyon is not even close to the most-visited US National Park. Unless things have changed, …

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