Julie and I felt compelled to come up with the Top 10 Best Autumn Waterfalls List because there were so many beautiful ones that didn’t quite get the recognition from any of our other top 10 lists.
And unlike those other lists, this one focused more on circumstances rather than geography.
That said, it was quite a struggle to even come up with this list (with at least some degree of credibility) for many reasons.
For starters, this list is very subjective (i.e. it’s based on opinion) so what’s beautiful for one person may not be for someone else. Another complicating factor that especially was the case for this list is that we had to catch the waterfalls in the peak of Autumn foliage, which required some serious timing.
So on just these two factors alone, we found ourselves wrestling with some interesting dilemmas when it came to deciding whether a waterfall should belong on this list or not. So we had to set a few ground rules…
First, we had to have personally visited the waterfall. If we hadn’t been to a particular waterfall, we feel we’re in no position to rank it.
Second, we had to have seen Fall foliage colors juxtaposed with the waterfall. Given the timing that must occur in order for this to happen, we’ve had situations where we had to disqualify waterfalls that we’ve only seen in the Spring that surely would’ve made this list had we been there during the peak of Autumn. This included waterfalls like Taughannock Falls and Multnomah Falls, etc.
Third, the rankings on this list must be consistent with the ratings factors assigned to each waterfall. For example, you can’t have a waterfall rated a 3 ranking higher in this list than a waterfall with a rating of 4.
So as you can see, this list is a living one, and it is by no means complete. We’ll be sure to update it with new waterfalls and/or old waterfall visits timed for the peak of Fall colors.
I’m sure we’ll be consulting more regional sources as we visit other regions for the purposes of timing a visit for the peak of Fall.
Anyways, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Autumn Waterfalls in reverse order…
When Julie and I visited made our visit to this falls, we were impressed by its size as well as the relaxing park-like atmosphere that really chilled us out.
This falls should place higher on this list, but it was being held by a couple of things.
First, the surrounding foliage was not quite at the peak of the Autumn colors in this part of Ontario, Canada.
Second, the best viewing spots of the falls were closed during our visit.
Nevertheless, even with the suboptimal experience, its placing on this list shows that this falls was no joke in the scenic allure department.
This waterfall on the Horsepasture River was a feast of color. Not only did our visit here happen to occur when the foliage around the falls was bursting with reds, pinks, and orages, but we even managed to see a namesake rainbow adding even more hues to the mosaic of the scene.
On top of that, this 125ft waterfall was gushing so much that it was also throwing enough mist to keep us cool from the hiking and warm weather during our visit.
Then, there was another waterfall called Turtleback Falls just a short distance further upstream, which further added to the overall waterfalling experience.
So put it all together, and we had no qualms about including this falls on our Top 10 Autumn Waterfalls List.
This 260ft waterfall was perhaps one of New York’s highest. However, what really stood out about this falls to Julie and I were the gorgeous Fall colors as you can see in the picture above.
The towering two-tiered drop flanked by the red, orange, and yellow hues of the Autumn foliage added a lot of contrast, which further added to the waterfall’s already compelling scenic allure.
We recognize that this was one of New York’s most popular waterfalls not named Niagara Falls, and after our visit here at the right time, we could certainly understand why.
This was arguably Hamilton’s most picturesque waterfall as its rippling character made this a photographer’s favorite.
In fact, this was Julie’s favorite one in the Hamilton area.
But when we managed to see it with a sprinkling of Fall colors (the photo you see above doesn’t do this one justice), that further compelled us to place this falls on the list of Top 10 Autumn Waterfalls.
Now if we’re placing this falls on this list when the peak of the Fall foliage hadn’t quite occurred yet, imagine what a feast for the eyes this place would be in another week or two after our visit!
This was the waterfall that introduced us to waterfalling in North Carolina.
So it wasn’t surprising that a state harboring the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway also provided us with ample opportunity to visit waterfalls surrounded by Autumn colors.
In this instance, the gushing 411ft two-tiered drop of the Whitewater River was being flanked by pockets of orange and red trees with a dash of yellows here and there.
Had we been here another week or two later, I’m sure we would’ve seen an even greater explosion of color contrasting the white of the river rushing through it all!
So for those reasons, we just had to place the falls on this list.
Like What You See So Far?
This classical block-shaped wide rectangular waterfall could have easily been #1 on this list.
Along with an impressive year-round flow, where the Tahquamenon River would span the entirety of the nearly 200ft width of the waterfall’s crest, it also had a height of about 50ft, making this one of the most impressive river waterfalls we’ve seen to date.
However, the one thing that held this waterfall back on this list was the timing of our visit. As you can see from the photo above, the fall colors hadn’t quite arrived in this area.
Nevertheless, it did have a brownish tint in its waterflow thanks to the tannin-infused runoff from the protected peat lands further upstream.
So even without the fall color display that we were hoping for, this waterfall definitely would’ve given the very similar Cumberland Falls a run for its money, and yet it still had enough scenic allure going for it to place better than half of the other waterfalls on this list.
This waterfall was the largest and most impressive of three major falls along the Genesee River within Letchworth State Park.
However, it was the timing of our visit that made this one jump high onto this list as this large classically-shaped block waterfall was surrounded by trees exhibiting colorful orange and yellow foliage providing a wonderful contrast to the white of the falling water.
This was one of the few waterfalls that Julie and I have been to twice – once in Spring and once in Autumn.
And while each season has its merits, the visual feast of Autumn was what definitely made us appreciate this falls more.
This waterfall was really a collection of at least four significant waterfalls all on the same river.
Add to this true waterfalling experience was the fact that we were in very naturesque settings, where the trees had leaves changing colors and breezes causing some of the leaves to float through the air as they slowly fell in and alongside the Falling Water River.
But when Julie and I finally got to the last (and biggest) waterfall of them all (i.e. the one you see pictured above), that was when we were wow’ed.
And as you can see from the picture, it was surrounded by the colorful hues of Autumn near its peak.
Thus, we felt compelled to give this one a high placement on this list.
It was a rare treat for Julie and I to experience a waterfall of this size with Fall colors.
Yet here we were getting the Autumn experience while viewing the falls from all sorts of angles. We were even treated to panoramas that took in both the colors as well as the St Lawrence River further downstream.
Indeed, there was a reason why this was one of the more popular waterfalls in Eastern Canada, and with its close proximity to the beautiful Quebec City, it just further justified our decision to linger for as long as we did in this part of the country.
We must confess that we were wavering about putting this waterfall at the top of this list, because the only thing keeping this mammoth falls on top was the timing of our visit as it didn’t quite hit the Fall foliage peak during our visit.
While this waterfall maybe better known for producing lunar rainbows (or “moonbows”), Julie and I were blown away by the explosion of Fall colors during our visit (which is clearly evident in the photo shown here).
As for the waterfall itself, its classically rectangular block shape made it legitimate by itself, but when you add the Autumn mosaic of color, the visual feast we were treated to was simply over the top!
Moreover, our experience with this falls was very relaxing, serene, and free!
Indeed, it just seemed like everything came together in the right place at the right time, and it just felt proper to put this falls at the top of this list!