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Ten Best Waterfalls

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter May Outdoor Living Newsletter

Ever wondered where the best waterfalls are that you can either hike to or see from a viewpoint? We did, so we went and visited lots and spoke to our friends to ask them what they thought to create our own 10 best waterfalls list. Each one of our picks has something special so you can rest assured that you can visit any of these destinations and return home satisfied. They are lised in order of state.

1.  Havasu Falls (Grand Canyon, Arizona)

Located just a mile and a half from the Havasupai Indian Village on the bottom of the majestic Grand Canyon, the turquoise-colored waters of Havasu Falls are accentuated by the sunburnt-colored rock face of the Canyon, making this as breathtaking as its waters are refreshing. The best way get here is by driving (4x4 is highly recommended) and then hiking 1.5 miles down to Supai. From here its an easy walk to the falls. You can also take 3-day mule assisted tour in which the mules carry all your gear so you can hike comfortably down. This swimming hole is a perfect retreat for those looking for a relaxing and serene summer destination.

Information about Camping and Tours near Supai.

2.  Alamere Falls (Point Reyes National Seashore, California)

Not many places in the world combine the beauty of a waterfall with an Ocean view. The Alamere Falls in Point Reyes National Seashore drop feet away from the Pacific Ocean and so it is considered a true tidefall, a waterfall that drops directly into the ocean. Additionally, there are several cliff-side trails in the area with jaw-dropping views.

Directions: Take Hwy #101 to San Rafael, and take the Sir Francis Drake Blvd. exit. Drive 20 miles to Olema, then drive south on Hwy #1 for 9.1 miles to Bolinas Rd. (unsigned). Turn right and drive 1.8 miles to Mesa Rd. Turn right and drive 4.7 miles to Palomarin trailhead.

Find campgrounds and RV Parks near Point Reyes National Seashore.

3.  Feather Falls (Plumas National Forest, California)

With a height of more than 650 feet, these are among the tallest waterfalls in California. The Feather Falls can be visited any time of the year but the stream is stronger from January to June, which is the recommended time to visit if you want to experience the fall in all its greatness.

Directions: From Oroville take Oro Dam Blvd. to Olive Hwy., turn right. Take Olive Hwy. approximately 5 miles to Forbestown Rd., turn right and go 7 miles. Turn left on Lumpkin Rd., continue 12 miles to trailhead turn off and turn left. Go 1.5 miles to parking area. Trailhead to the falls is at the end of the parking area.

Find campgrounds and RV Parks near Feather Falls, Pluma National Forest.

4.  Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls (Yosemite National Park, California)

A pick among several beautiful falls in Yosemite National Park. It is the tallest waterfall in California and the 2,425-foot drop assures an outstanding experience, visible from several locations. The recommendation would be to take any of the trails leading to the base of the falls, where visitors feel in the presence of something magnificent, even more when the snow starts to melt making the flow stronger. Nearby, the camper would find other falls as well, so the area is ideal for a waterfall-full vacation, and Yosemite National Park is a camping destination to be visited at least once in a lifetime.

Directions: The Lower Falls are easily accessible near the Yosemite Lodge in Yosemite Valley. The top of the Upper Falls may be reached via a steep, strenuous 3.5 miles (5.6 km) hike beginning near Camp 4.

Find Yosemite National Park campgrounds.

5.  Shoshone Falls (Idaho)

Known as "the Niagara of the West" it has the power of the wider falls (it is over 900 feet wide and horseshoe shaped). If you really want to be impressed you should visit Shoshone Falls in the Spring, as the flow is controlled by the Milner Dam and it is usually stronger during that season.

Directions: In downtown Twin Falls Idaho, find the junction of Route 93 and East 4000 N Road, and follow East 4000 N Road east for three miles, then turn left onto Champlin Road (watch for signs for Shoshone Falls Park). Follow Champlin to where it becomes Canyon Grade Road and proceed to its end at the park in another 1.8 miles. Several short trails lead to views of the falls along the rim of the canyon.

Find campgrounds and RV Parks near Shoshone Falls.

6.  Niagara Falls (Niagara Falls State Park, New York)

Niagara Falls is known worldwide, and is probably the most famous waterfall on our list. Its 3,400-foot width makes it the largest in North America and one of the more impressive. The USA side, which features the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls, offers less crowded areas, while the Canadian side, where the Horseshoe Falls drops, has better views that attract more tourists. Visited by people from all over the world, the area has a full-service offer. It is a very popular destination, so it's worth planning ahead.

Directions: Take either Interstate 90 West through New York or Interstate 90 East through Pennsylvania to Interstate 290. Take the Interstate 190 North Exit and cross the South Grand Island Bridge. After crossing the North Grand Island Bridge, immediately take Exit 21 to Robert Moses Parkway. Continue on the Parkway as it turns into Prospect Street. Signs will direct you to Niagara Falls State Park's parking lots.

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7.  Multnomah Falls (Oregon)

This over 620-foot tiered waterfall is Oregon's best known and probably its most beautiful. The Columbia River Gorge has many waterfalls in its path but Multnomah Falls has an arched bridge (Benson bridge) in the lower drop with an unforgettable view.

Directions: Drive east from Portland on I-84 to the Multnomah Falls exit (Exit 31) and proceed under the highway to the lodge and falls, or take the Scenic Highway from Troutdale, and proceed 1/2 mile east from Wahkeena Falls to the parking area. The falls are signed profusely so you shouldn't have any trouble locating it.

Find campgrounds and RV Parks near Multnomah Falls, Oregon.

8.  Ruby Falls (Chattanooga, Tennessee)

Hidden within a cave system, getting to Ruby Falls is an adventure in itself. At the end of the trail lies a 145 feet tall waterfall dropping from the roof of the cave. This is a must see natural wonder if you are camping near Chattanooga.

Directions: From Downtown Chattanooga travel South on Broad Street (US-11 S) away from downtown. Proceed to the railroad underpass where Broad Street becomes Cummings Hwy (Hwy 41). Continue on Cummings Hwy (Hwy 41) about 0.5 miles. Take the ramp on the left side of the highway labeled Ruby Falls. Ruby Falls is ahead on the right.

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9.  Malachite Falls (Washington)

Composed of two falls over 400 feet tall from different streams from Copper Lake and Malachite Lake, it is not similar to any other waterfall. Even though the forest makes it difficult to get great views of both streams, it is still spectacular and one of the best waterfalls in the North West. You'll need to hike a beautiful trail for over 3 miles to get to the base of the falls.

Directions: Driving east along US 2 from Monroe, proceed only about 1/2 mile east of the Skykomish Ranger Station (about 2 miles east of Skykomish) to the signed Foss River Road NE. Turn and drive roughly 6.5 miles, following the signs for West Fork Foss trail # 1062. After about 4.5 miles, Road 68 which you came in on goes straight across the river, you'll want to turn left onto Road 6835, and proceed to the road's end and trailhead.

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10.  Lower Yellowstone Falls (Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming)

A 308-foot drop decorated by surrounding yellow rocks, the views of Lower Falls of Yellowstone River from several overlooking trails in Yellowstone National Park are spectacular. It is an ideal attraction for those who enjoy a combination of camping, hiking, and sightseeing, within one of the most visited National Parks in the USA.

Directions: From Canyon, drive on the one-way North Rim Drive to the signed turnouts at Lookout Pt. and Brink of the Lower Falls. On the south side of the river, drive south on the Grand Loop Rd towards Fishing Bridge, to the signed turnoff for Artist Pt. and Uncle Toms Trail.

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