10 Best Waterfalls Hiking Trails in the U.S.


Waterfalls are always a highlight of any hike. Here are 10 of our favorite waterfalls hiking trails in America…

Are you interested in seeing some impressive waterfalls this year? If there is one thing I know, America is a great place to find spectacular waterfalls.

Not only are waterfalls breathtaking but their spray is so refreshing after a good hike.

As you plan some new fun adventures to go on, be sure to schedule in some of America’s best waterfalls!

10 Favorite Waterfalls Hiking Trails

Niagara Falls Waterfalls Hiking Trails
Niagara Falls

While you can hike to many waterfalls year-round, late spring, early summer kicks off nationwide hiking season in most regions. Warmer temperatures are causing the snowmelt to turn into runoff that produces full, flowing waterfalls that are a feast for the eyes.

The following are some of the best waterfalls hiking trails in America.

1. Niagara Falls – Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls, New York, and the surrounding area is a very popular destination and provide a gorgeous backdrop for miles of trails for the whole family to enjoy.

Niagara Falls is most definitely one of the most famous waterfalls in America, if not the world. Located near the border of New York state and Canada, these falls can be enjoyed in many ways. It’s no surprise it’s at the top of our RV Lifestyle Community’s Bucket List.

There are many hiking options you can choose from if visiting the area. You may want to start at the Niagara Gorge Trailhead Building. This visitor center is the gateway to several different hiking trails.

A short hike can take you to a great overlook of the falls. It takes approximately one hour, round trip. It is great for all ability levels, without any difficult climbing.

Of course, you will still want to wear sturdy shoes and stay on the path.

There are also a few other hikes in the area to consider if you want to do more hiking.

  • Family Friendly Option: Town of Lockport Nature Trail – a 40-minute drive from the falls
  • Beginner’s Hike: Goat Island Scenic Walk – Two-mile hike allows one to enjoy spectacular views from the base of the falls. You can view Horseshoe Falls and Bridal Veil Falls along the way
  • Medium Ability Hike: Devil’s Hole – This incredible hike is 2.5-miles taking you through the gorge and starts at the Devil’s Hole State Park parking lot
  • Advanced Hiker’s Path: Whirlpool Rapids Adventure Hike – Advanced hike on Niagara Gorge Rim Trail where you can view Whirlpool State Park

2. Buttermilk Falls – Ithaca, New York

Buttermilk Falls State Park is home to Buttermilk Falls. It is a series of cascades creating what looks like buttermilk as it flows down a steep valley not far from Cayuga Lake.

Located in the Finger Lakes region, you can enjoy many wooded hikes in the area. The Buttermilk Falls Gorge Trail is a difficult 0.65-mile trip trek that takes you past various landscapes. View deep pools, water-sculpted rock formations, including Pinnacle Rock, and several different waterfalls.

3. Crabtree Falls – Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Located along the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway, the Crabtree Falls Hiking Trail is a popular spot not to be missed.

This moderate to strenuous hike takes up inclines and rocky parts from the parking area from the scenic 2.5-mile loop from the parking area. You’ll want to give yourself a couple of hours to complete the hike.

The falls are located about 0.9 miles in. There you can see a 60-foot falling water spectacle. Then enjoy lunch at the picnic area afterward.

4. Linville Falls – Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina

Waterfalls Hiking Trails linville falls
Linville Falls

Another wonderful, cascading waterfall in the Blue Ridge Parkway area. Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the Southern Appalachians,” you can bestow a three-tiered waterfall that plunges into the Linville Gorge below.

The good news is that there are three different ways to see it!

You can view these falls via an easy hike of a 1.6-mile round trip. Just choose the Falls Trail.

You can take the 1-mile round trip Plunge Basin Trail for moderate hikers.

Finally, if you are after something a bit more challenging, use the Gorge Trail. It is 1.4-miles long and considered strenuous.

You can also take along your pet, but they must be leashed.

5. Long Creek Falls – Appalachian Trail, Chattahoochee National Forest, near Suches, Georgia

You can get to Long Creek Falls via the Appalachian Trail. It is a heavily trafficked 1.9-mile out-and-back trek not far from Suches, Georgia.

It is an okay trial for all ability levels. Pets are welcome but must be leashed.

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6. Hemlock Falls – Georgia

Hemlock Falls tumbles over a sheer cliff rock face into a whitewater pool below.

To view them, use the Hemlock Falls Trail at Lake Burton. The 2-mile round trip hike is friendly and relatively moderate.

7. Havasu Falls – Grand Canyon, Arizona

This Havasu Creek waterfall is located inside the Grand Canyon National Park. This 10-mile trek is strenuous and not for the faint of heart.

It also requires advanced planning since you will need a permit and reservation to visit the falls ahead of time. It is more than a day-trip hike and is recommended for experienced hikers.

8. Yosemite Falls – Yosemite National Park, California

Waterfalls Hiking Trails yosemite falls
Yosemite Falls

Are you visiting Yosemite National Park? While there, you can hike to see Yosemite Falls, the sixth highest waterfall in the country.

The total height of this sixth tallest waterfall is 2,425 feet (739 meters).

Choose to hike to Columbia Rock, a 2-mile round trip, moderate trek. Plan for about 2-3 hours to complete this hike.

Or, continue to the top of the falls, a 7.2 round trip. It is strenuous, and you want to give yourself about 6-8 hours for this hike.

9. Horsetail Falls – Sierra Nevada Mountains, west of Lake Tahoe, California

Horsetail Falls is a tumbling 500-foot drop over a series of intermittent cliffs.

Hike to see them using the Twin Bridges Trailhead on US Route 50. It is a 4-mile, heavily trafficked trail rated “difficult.”

It is best to do this hike between May and October. It is also a pet-friendly hike, but pets must be on a leash.

10. Multnomah Falls – Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Multnomah Falls Waterfalls Hiking Trails
Multnomah Falls

The 30-foot Multnomah Falls is located on Multnomah Creek in the Columbia River Gorge that serves as a landmass border between Oregon and Washington states.

You can easily view the tall waterfall with a short walk from the parking lot (and under the highway). It is paved and accessible for all ability levels.

You can take a short hike to a viewing area for more scenic views. Or continue hiking to the top of the falls. It can be considered a difficult hike since it is very steep.

Related Waterfalls Hiking Trails Articles

For more waterfalls to add to your itinerary, check out these waterfall-loving articles:

What are your favorite waterfalls hiking trails?

Let us know in the comments!

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