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 throughout the United States. Indeed, we’ve been to the American Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, and the Eastern United States.
Thus, we believe that we’ve got a mature list though it’s a living list and can change as we continue to visit more from our home country.
And even among the waterfalls we have personally visited, we had a very difficult time trying to pick just 10!
We tried to balance numerous factors such as accessibility, allure, scenery, and longevity.
So without further ado, here are America’s Top 10 in reverse order…
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 seen across its base during our visit.
Adding to the already colorful scene were pretty Fall colors as well!
What’s even more amazing was that visiting this waterfall was completely free! Yet for that price tag, it 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!
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. Whether we viewed it from the brink or from further away from the banks of the Tahquamenon River, the beauty was undeniable.
As if this tannin-stained waterfall wasn’t enough, there were even more waterfalls to be found further downstream at the Lower Tahquamenon Falls.
And if the timing’s right, Autumn foliage could add even more color to an already idyllic landscape.
Certainly, this was a major waterfalling highlight of the Midwest, and we just had to make room for it on this list!
While it may lack the size and power of the other waterfalls on our list, it has to be one of the most beautifully-situated waterfalls in the country!
It also flows year-round waterfall in the larger Grand Canyon area, which alone makes it special.
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.
Among 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 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 were 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 of America’s best was a no-brainer.
For years, this list had not considered the waterfalls of the far northern regions of our home state of California because we had never made it out that far.
However, that all changed when I made a visit here with my parents in the Summer of 2016. Then, I came back on a follow-up trip with Julie and Tahia a year later.
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 this 260ft waterfall sport lofty dimensions, but it also fell onto itself (like Running Eagle Falls).
Indeed, the underlying line of springs coming out of the upper two-thirds of its cliff (reminiscent of Mossbrae Falls) further solidified it as 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.
Putting it all together, this one of the most photogenic spots we’ve ever experienced! Thus, it was worthy of this exclusive list of American’s best.
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 visits to this waterfall, we can totally see why.
I’m sure as we continue to 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 irresistible, we just had to make room for it on this Top 10 list.
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.
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 bear habitat, this waterfall is the ultimate reward for the adventure.
It took me a 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 thermally-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.
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!
Since most visitors consider this a must-see attraction judging from the quantity of people here.
And when you realize that Yellowstone also features predictable geysers, colorful hot springs, and an abundance of wildlife (prompting many to consider this place America’s version of the Serengeti), that’s really saying something!
This 2,425ft 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 managed to both drive to as well as hike to, and that ensured we always had a different way to experience it with each visit.
The only catch with this beauty is that it dries up by mid to late Summer as it runs through its massive winter snow pack 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!
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.
Not only will you get to fully experience the falls from different vantage points, but you’ll also get to experience 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!
Looking for more of our favorites?
Below are a few more Top 10 lists of the waterfalls we’ve visited.