12 of the Best Waterfall Hikes in the US

12 of the Best Waterfall Hikes in the US

12 of the Best Waterfall Hikes in the US


The U.S is a big country, and within in it are tons of hidden gems that determined backpackers will make there way to at one point or another. Some of these hidden gems are amazing waterfalls that require a bit of a trek to get to; though, they will all be worth it once you finally get to them.

Havasupai Falls

Havasupai Falls, Arizona

Located in the Grand Canyon, the 20 mile round-trip hike to Havasupai Falls is certainly not easy. Through the hot desert, the falls are truly an oasis and a splendid reward for all your hard work. The trail begins at the Havasupai Trailhead near Hualapai Hilltop. Plan on spending a lot of time here taking it all in.

High Shoals Falls

High Shoals Falls, Georgia

Out of all the falls there are to see in Georgia, High Shoals Falls is by far the most impressive. To get here, you can take the High Shoals Falls Trail, a 2 mile trail that feels a lot longer than it is, in a good way. You’ll hike through beautiful forests, past streams and valleys, and even Blue Hole Falls.

Tunnel Falls

Tunnel Falls, Oregon

Located in the Columbia River Gorge is the gorgeous Eagle Creek Trail. This is a great trail for hikers because it is 12 miles round trip and has a bit of an elevation gain. The trail ends at Tunnel Falls, but there are also many other falls you’ll see along the way, like Punchbowl Falls and Metlako Falls.

Palouse Falls

Palouse Falls, Washington

Palouse Falls are the Official State Falls of Washington. There are various trails leading to the falls, but the main one is the Palouse Falls Trail, at 13 miles long. Located in Lyons Ferry State Park, these falls are known for their ability to produce rainbows, despite them being rather low.

Vernal and Nevada Falls

Vernal and Nevada Falls, California

Most people take the Vernal Fall Trails or the Nevada Falls Trails to get here, but you can also take the Mist Trail or the John Muir Trail, depending on where you’re coming from. The trailheads all begin at Happy Isles, and the various hikes range greatly. Located in Yosemite Valley, you can easily spend a lot of time here, but make sure you hike up the famous staircase at Vernal Falls.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, New York

Although it’s a tourist destination, you can still hike the stunning Niagara Falls as a hiker. The Niagara Falls Gorge Trail is easiest, but try the Whirlpool Rapids & Devil’s Hole trail to really make the most of it. This trail is 4 miles and a little more difficult. You can enter from Whirlpool Park.

Ramona Falls

Ramona Falls, Oregon

Backpackers who have hiked to Ramona Falls have only the best things to say about it. The hike is 6.8 miles long, and can be done either on the creek side or the river side, but most hikers just make the entire loop. There are various trails beginning at the Ramona Falls Trailhead. Located in Rhododendron, Oregon, you can easily plan a decent trip to these falls, but we recommend spending a good amount of time here exploring all it has to offer.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

The hike to these falls begins at the Multnomah Falls Lodge. It’s great for new hikers since the trail is less than 3 miles, but still a bit of a challenge. Also located in the Columbia River Gorge, here you can catch a sight of the falls coming down from behind Benson Bridge.

Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls, Virginia

These majestic falls are very recognizable for hikers on the East Coast. There’s two parts of the Cascades National Recreation Trail, but the Lower Trail will allow you to see more in the 4 mile, strenuous loop. HIking here is a truly a unique experience, and you can do the trip to the falls all year round.

Burgess Falls

Burgess Falls, Tennessee

It’s the simplicity of this area that really makes it so beautiful. Anyone can do this 1.5 mile hike, since it’s rather easy and filled with so many cascades and waterfalls that even if you find the trail difficult, you’ll be too distracted to notice. The Burgess Falls Trail is where it all begins, located in Cookeville, Tennessee.

Arethusa Falls

Arethusa Falls, New Hampshire

The Frankenstein Cliff Trail leading to Arethusa Falls is 5 miles long and one of the most spectacular areas on the East Coast. Hikers who have been here once can tell you that they’ll come here again and again and it’s easy to see why. A moderate trail with some challenging aspects, it’s the perfect place for beginners who want to see waterfalls.

Calf Creek Falls

Calf Creek Falls, Utah

Everything about Calf Creek Falls is absolutely breathtaking, from the enormous rock formations to the colorful surroundings. The Calf Creek Falls Hiking Trail will lead you past the Grand Staircase-Escalante, paradisiacal pools, and amazing scenery that eventually will bring you to the falls. There’s two main hikes here; the Lower Calf Creek Falls is nearly 6 miles, but moderate, while the Upper Calf Creek Falls is 2 miles and more strenuous.

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.