How many hiking trails have you been on? One? One hundred? No matter how much of the outdoor wonderland nature has to offer you explored, your list will not be complete without these waterfall hiking trails. There is something absolutely majestic about waterfalls. They represent the power and beauty of nature in its rawest, untamed form.
The United States are blessed with some of the most breath taking waterfalls in the world. If you love nature and the great outdoors you must absolutely add this hiking trails to your bucket list.
STAY SAFE WHEN HIKING TO A WATERFALL
Before discussing which we think are the top 5 most beautiful waterfalls in the country and why, let’s talk safety. It’s important that you always remember to make safety your number one priority. Respecting nature means being always aware of your surroundings and planning accordingly. Never go on a hiking or camping trip unprepared, especially if you plan to visit natural landmarks that can be dangerous.
Here is a short list of how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe when hiking to a waterfall:
1 Wear proper equipment
The importance of proper equipment cannot be stressed enough. If you love to hike, trek or go backpacking in the wild you already know that good gear makes all the difference. In cold weather it’s always a great idea to bring a balaclava along.
Keep in mind that terrain near waterfalls can be slippery so wear hiking boots you can trust.
2 Be mindful of the weather
Any large body of water can turn potentially dangerous in the wrong weather conditions. Remember to plan your hikes around the dry season and avoid traveling if it rains or has rained heavily. The rivers that form waterfalls can become unpredictable when flooding occurs.
3 Consider hiring a guide
Depending on your experience in hiking, trekking and backpacking you might need a guide for some of the hiking trails on this list. Remember there’s no shame in hiring a guide for your safety. As a bonus they know the best times to visit and the best spots for you to experience the breath-taking scenery in all its glory.
4 Inform someone where you are and when you are expected to get back
It doesn’t matter if you travel alone, with family or with friends, always stay on the safe side by having someone else know where you are. Make sure the person you contact with this information will note it down and will be available to call the authorities in case you don’t return in time. Also always have your mobile phone charged.
5 Don’t wander off the marked hiking trail
Last but not least, don’t wonder off the trail. When you reach the waterfall don’t venture too close to the water. Always observe the scenery from a safe distance as a fall can sometimes be deadly.
5 WATERFALL HIKING TRAILS YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST VISIT
1 Palouse Falls State Park, Washington
The official waterfall of the Washington State, this iconic natural landmark must not be missed. The Palaouse Indians after which the waterfall is named today called it Aput Aput “Falling Water”.
Located in the Palouse Falls State Park, the waterall is 1.0 miles in length and has a highest elevation point of 803 ft.
There is an 105 acre camping site in the vicinity with 11 tent space and the hiking trail is well marked.
The WTA recommends timing visiting the waterfall with the sunset.
2 Ramona Falls, Mt Hood National Forest, Oregon
Ramona Falls are one of the most visually stunning waterfalls in the US. However, it’s importable to note that the trail contains portions of dangerous river crossing.
A local hiking guide site warns that the bridge that has been washed out by a thunderstorm will not be replaced. This makes the hike raise in difficulty.
The round trip distance is of about 7 miles and the waterfall elevation from the starting point is 1100 feet.
For amateur hikers, children and elderly this trail is mainly recommended from late spring to early fall.
3 Grand Falls, Navajo Nation, Arizona
The Grand Falls are, according to wiki a natural waterfall system, about 30 miles from Flagstaff Arizona. It stands about 185 feet tall, which makes it taller than the Niagara Falls.
The waterfalls are formed when dumping monsoon rain and snow melt into the Little Colorado River. Because of this, they are muddy and the river is known for its opacity.
If you plan a hike here you must time it right, because while heavy snow or rain makes for a spectacular scenery, during periods of draught there is little to be seen.
This is one of the most difficult to reach hiking trails on the list. You will need a 4 wheel drive vehicle and a Navajo guide to reach the waterfalls. You also need a Navajo Nation hiking permit.
The trail itself is of easy difficulty, just one half mile long.
4 Sliding Rock, Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
This natural waterslide is located eight miles away from Brevard, in Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina. It’s usually rather crowded during summer as it’s a popular destination for families with children.
The rocky surface of the waterfall that is inclined at an angle perfect for sliding is fuelled by 11.000 gallons of water/ minute.
If you want to make the easy hike, we recommend that you plan your trip sometime from May 28 to end of August. During this period life guards are present at the sight between 10 AM and 6 PM. You can also drive to the spot.
There is an admission price for the recreation area of 2$ according to this website.
When you are done enjoying the natural waterslide, you can make the hike to other scenic waterfalls like Looking Glass Falls.
5 Niagara, Buffalo, New York
No waterfall list is complete without mentioning the Nigara Falls. Known worldwide, the three waterfalls that straddle the border between US and Canada spread from Ontario to New York.
The Niagara Falls consist of Horshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Birdal Veil Falls. The highest water drop point is at 167 ft. Around the two falls that are on the American side, there are plenty of hiking trails to enjoy.
The Nigara Falls State Park website is a great place to plan your trip as it lists all activities and attractions available in the area. The Nigara Falls State Park is the oldest State Park in the US.