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Sure, the outside world has some pretty impressive waterfalls like Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe or Angel Falls in Venezuela, but what about right here in our American backyard? Here are 15 unbelievable waterfalls you can find right here in the U.S., from the world-famous Niagara we share with our Canadian neighbors to the Manawaiopuna Falls in tropical Hawaii. Just don’t forget to bring along your camera, protected in a watertight case or camera hard case, to capture them in all their glory
1. Palouse Falls | Palouse Falls State Park, Washington
Pack your DSLR in your camera backpack and make your way to Palouse Falls, one of the oldest active waterfalls that dates back to the Ice Age. With three separate entrances, you can capture this waterfall from every angle. Explore the lower half, which is accessible right from the day-use area and parking lot. Alternatively, you can take the trail to capture a people-free view of the canyon at the end of the path. Last, but not least, head to the Fryxell Overlook for breathtaking panoramic views of not just the falls but of the Palouse River Canyon.
2. Multnomah Falls | Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Also located in the Pacific Northwest is the Multnomah Falls along Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge. Plunging 611 feet, this waterfall is awe-inspiring and rests nestled among dense forests and streams. Located only 30 minutes outside of the charming town of Portland, you can hike to the falls and end your day with a beer from a brewery. Simply drive to the Visitor’s Center and look for the paved trail to reach Benson Bridge.
3. Ramona Falls | Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon
As you can see, Oregon is filled with waterfalls! The last one on our list is Ramona Falls inside Mt. Hood National Forest. Once dubbed the eighth wonder of the world, Ramona Falls offers lush greenery and abundant hiking opportunities throughout the area. Take the winding and often challenging hiking trail along the Sandy River for amazing views of the falls.
4. Manawaiopuna Falls | Kauai, Hawaii
The island that Manawaiopuna Falls rests on is privately owned, so seeing it in all its majestic beauty means you’re going to need a lift – from a helicopter! So strap in and enjoy this plunging waterfall surrounded by Hawaii’s tropical lush forests and prehistoric-like setting.
5. Akaka Falls | Akaka Falls State Park, Hawaii
Also in Hawaii is the stunning Akaka Falls, which is situated in the Akaka Falls State Park, 11 miles north of Hilo. Take the Akaka Falls Loop Trail to this 442-foot tall waterfall and enjoy activities such as ziplining once you’re through! Or continue your waterfall exploration and visit the nearby Kahuna Falls, located a short half-mile from Akaka.
6. Burney Falls | McArthur–Burney Falls Memorial State Park, California
Back toward the mainland and in Sunny California is the McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, where you’ll find Burney Falls. Take the Rim Hiking Trail toward this 129-foot high waterfall, surrounded by woodlands and mossy rocks that give it a magical fairytale look.
7. McWay Falls | Big Sur, California
Head toward Big Sur, California, to see McWay Falls, located near the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. While you’re there, be sure to stop and take in the gorgeous views of the Pacific Coast, taking a hike inside Big Sur.
8. Yosemite Falls | Yosemite National Park, California
Another stop in Cali is Yosemite Falls – a must-see if you’re ever in the Sierra Nevada area! As one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, Yosemite plunges 2,425 feet. Feel the mist on your face as you get closer, taking the one-mile loop trail or the all-day hike to the summit.
9. Grand Falls | Navajo Nation, Arizona
While you need a permit to visit Grand Falls, as it’s located within Navajo Land, it’s well worth the effort! Situated on Navajo Nation inside the Painted Desert, your journey is just as beautiful along the way. Once you reach the road that reaches the falls, it’s an easy-peasy half-mile hike to the Grand Falls base.
10. Havasu Falls | Grand Canyon, Arizona
Also called Havasupai Falls, Havasu Falls is located in the world-famous Grand Canyon. Enticing visitors from across the globe, Havasu Falls features a striking blue that contrasts against the vibrant orange and red canyon walls. However, unlike many of the easy waterfall hikes listed here, this trail is more challenging and is best suited for experienced hikers.
11. Shoshone Falls | Twin Falls, Idaho
Shoshone Falls is commonly referred to as the Niagara Falls of the West – and for a good reason! Reaching 212 feet high, Shoshone Falls is indeed 45 feet higher than Niagara and has a 1,000-foot wide rim that plunges into basalt canyons. Before you head to see the incredible waterfall, make sure to plan accordingly so you can see it in all its full power during spring, where it peaks between 10,000 and 12,000 CFS.
12. Seven Falls | South Cheyenne Canyon, Colorado
Head toward Colorado to see Seven Falls, situated in the South Cheyenne Canyon. To see this unbelievable waterfall, tone those leg muscles so you can climb the 224 stairs to reach the top. (However, there’s also an in-mountain elevator, too!) Located near Colorado Springs, be sure to enjoy the town during the evenings and rent a cozy cabin.
13. Calf Creek Falls | Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Inside the Grand Staircase-Escalante region is Calf Creek Falls, a 214-foot waterfall with stunning views along the trail. As you hike to the falls, you’ll pass through beaver ponds and even pre-historic sites covered with rock art.
14. Ruby Falls | Chattanooga, Tennessee
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Heading east into Tennessee is a true one-of-a-kind waterfall called Ruby Falls. What makes Ruby Falls unique? It’s located underground – 1,120 feet to be exact, beneath Lookout Mountain. To feel the magic that is Ruby Falls, book a Lantern Tour for a colorful, intimate underground experience.
15. Niagara Falls | Niagara Falls, New York
No U.S. waterfall list would be complete without Niagara Falls. And although we share it with our Northern Canadian neighbors, this is one we take pride in! Legendary worldwide, Niagara can be visited from both countries, quickly crossing between each to witness it in all its majesty. Take a ride into the mist by boat or take a behind-the-scenes walking tour.