The Top 10 Best US Waterfalls

Tahquamenon Falls


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INTRODUCTION

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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10. CUMBERLAND FALLS
[near Corbin, Kentucky]

10. 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 this waterfall.

Click here to see other waterfalls in Kentucky.


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9. TAHQUAMENON FALLS
[Paradise, Michigan]

9. TAHQUAMENON FALLS [Paradise, Michigan]
While the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was well-known for waterfalls as well as the beautiful Pictured Rocks, we were very impressed by the classic block shape of this wide river waterfall. With scenery that was every bit as naturesque as the rest of the UP, we were able to experience this beauty from a variety of spots both near and far - from its brink all the way to the banks of the Tahquamenon River. As if this tannin-stained waterfall wasn't enough, there were even more waterfalls to be found further downstream at the Lower Tahquamenon Falls (technically, Tahquamenon Falls referred to the Upper Tahquamenon Falls). And if the timing's right, Autumn foliage could add even more color to an already idyllic landscape. Indeed, this was a major waterfalling highlight of the Midwest, and we just had to make room for it on this list!

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

Click here to see other waterfalls in Michigan.


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8. HAVASU FALLS
[Havasupai Indian Reservation, Arizona]

8. HAVASU FALLS [Havasupai Indian Reservation, Arizona]
While it may lack the size and power of the other waterfalls on our list, this is a special year-round waterfall situated in one of the most beautifully situated waterfalls in the country. Indeed, when it comes to this falls, it's all about the color and contrast, and this waterfall combines these things in a way that's unmatched by any other we've seen so far. Amongst the feast for the eyes are the blue-green waters of Havasu Creek, the natural travertine stalactites and dams surrounding the falls, and the red-rock cliff scenery that only places like the Grand Canyon can produce. As often times in life, the most rewarding experiences are earned, we most certainly had to earn our visit by hiking in at least 8 miles from a remote trailhead at the Hualapai Hilltop to the Supai village in the heart of the Havasupai Indian Reservation. The end result was memories that will last us a lifetime, and we still long for a return to witness its constantly changing flow and character. For all these reasons and more, putting this distinct waterfall on the list was a no-brainer.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

Click here to see other waterfalls in Arizona.


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7. BURNEY FALLS
[near Mt Shasta, California]

7. BURNEY FALLS [near Mt Shasta, California]
For years, this list had not considered the waterfalls of the far northern regions of our home state of California. That all changed when I made a visit here with my parents in the Summer of 2016. We had to admit that with all the hype that went into this waterfall, we were afraid that the hype wouldn't live up to the lofty expectations that inevitably came with it. But once we witnessed the unusual miracle of this waterfall, that was when we knew this waterfall was legit. Not only did it feature a 260ft waterfall falling onto itself (like Running Eagle Falls), but the underlying line of springs coming out of the upper two-thirds of its cliff (reminiscent of Mossbrae Falls) made it one of the more unique waterfalls we've personally experienced! As if these features weren't enough, its deep and wide plunge pool also exhibited a colorful yet clear aquamarine hue making this one of the most photogenic spots we've ever experienced!

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

Click here to see other waterfalls in California.


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6. MULTNOMAH FALLS
[Columbia River Gorge, Oregon]

6. 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. In fact, it could very well be the state of Oregon's top natural attraction! 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.

Click here to see other waterfalls in Oregon.


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5. BRIDALVEIL FALL
[Yosemite National Park, California]

5. 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.

Click here to see other waterfalls in Yosemite National Park.


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4. UNION FALLS
[Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming]

4. UNION FALLS [Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming]
Of all the waterfalls on this list, this one required the most effort to reach. Requiring a minimum of 15 miles of hiking with an intimidating river ford, one stretch of serious elevation change, and all the while traversing through grizzly country, this waterfall is the ultimate reward for the adventure. Indeed, it took me the second try before I finally got to experience what very few of Yellowstone National Park's nearly 4 million visitors per year would experience. Dropping some 260ft where two major creeks join together with a delicate grace unmatched by any other major waterfall we've seen, as you can see from the photo, there's simply no other waterfall like it! As if that wasn't enough, there was a short side excursion to the geothermally-heated creek and waterfall at the Ouzel Pool for the ultimate in-the-moment swim and chill spot before the long hike back out. No doubt about it. This waterfall deserved to be in America's Top 10, and in my mind, it was neck and neck with the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River for the title of best waterfall in the park.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

Click here to see other waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park.


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3. LOWER FALLS (OF THE YELLOWSTONE RIVER)
[Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming]

3. LOWER FALLS (OF THE YELLOWSTONE RIVER) [Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming]
This was the signature waterfall of Yellowstone National Park. Just about all of the park's nearly 4 million visitors per year get to witness this spectacle of a 308ft waterfall within an impossibly scenic location at the head of the colorful Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. The scenery here was so grand, that Julie and I were able to take it in from various lookouts on both sides of the canyon! Indeed, with such accessibility, it was the must-see attraction of Yellowstone National Park, which was really saying something considering that the park was more famous for things like predictable geysers, colorful hot springs, and an abundance of wildlife that prompted many to consider this reserve America's version of the Serengeti.

Click here to read more about this waterfall.

Click here to see other waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park.


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2. YOSEMITE FALLS
[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.

Click here to see other waterfalls in Yosemite National Park.


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1. NIAGARA FALLS
[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.

Click here to see other waterfalls in New York.
Click here to see other waterfalls in Ontario.




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RELATED PAGES



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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What Other Visitors Have Said

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

Toccoa Falls 
While it isn't one of the largest or the most popular waterfalls in the U.S., it does have a certain breathtaking beauty and a famous history. In fact, …

Taquamenon Falls 
Here is a picture of Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

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 …

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

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 …

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

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 …

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, …

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 …

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 …

Click here to write your own.



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