You have probably seen plenty of waterfalls in pictures and other visual documentations and on the internet, but you may never have seen one in real life. If you haven’t, you have no idea what you’ve been missing.
It isn’t just the sight of a nearby waterfall that makes it worth traveling to. It is also the sound the waterfall makes, the sound of a large body of water rushing over a cliff even before you see it, that makes it thrilling. Seeing this occur naturally in the wilderness is probably the most rewarding part of it all.
If you have always dreamed of seeing a natural waterfall up close, the best way to do that is to find a hiking trail that will lead you to or along a river and waterfall. Here are the 10 best hking trails with waterfalls you can find in the United States and abroad.
1. Jacks River Falls
If you are on the hunt for a hiking trail that ends in a roaring, awe-inspiring waterfall, Georgia’s Jack River Falls is an ideal place to start. Head to the Cohutta Wilderness for a waterfall hike you will likely never forget.
This nine mile hike through North Georgia’s Beech Bottom Trail and Jacks River Trail ends with the Jacks River tumbling over the rocks. Snap a few breathtaking photos to capture the sight for your friends to see.
2. Buffalo Creek Falls
Source: Day Hikes Near Denver
You don’t have to climb an entire mountain to enjoy beautiful sights in Colorado. There are easy hiking trails that are fun and rewarding for anyone wanting to spend an afternoon out in the wilderness, including Buffalo Creek Falls.
This is a quick five mile hike that will take you around Lake Wellington. Taking this hike early on in the summer or after a good rain is recommended for seeing Buffalo Creek Falls at its grandest flow.
3. Boulder River
There are plenty of hidden trails with waterfalls to explore no matter where you are. Try taking an eight mile hike along Boulder River and marvel at the natural beauty present from start to finish.
Hiking along the trail, you will hear this magnificent waterfall before you see it, which only adds to the thrill of the whole journey. It’s the perfect place to hike whether you want to go alone or with family or friends.
4. Paradise Falls
The hike itself is only part of the journey, but it is still a worthwhile component of the overall experience. California’s Paradise Falls, located in Wildwood Park, Thousand Oaks, takes you on a relatively short hike through beautiful trails to reach the 40-foot waterfall at the end.
There are several different paths throughout the park you can take to get there, and to get the most out of the experience, you can head back to where you started a different way from which you came.
5. Buttermilk Falls
If you have never been to New York, you probably picture the entire state covered in concrete and filled to capacity with buildings, cars and civilians. New York is also home to plenty of beautiful hiking trails and other scenery, including Buttermilk Falls.
This trail is a short loop (just a little over a mile) but it is worth a trip out there just to see the waterfall and the scenery surrounding it. You will be able to keep these sights in your memory for years after you see them firsthand.
6. Havasu Falls
There is plenty more to see at the Grand Canyon than just rocks. There is also the most photographed waterfall in the Grand Canyon, located in a more remote part of the national park, called Havasu Falls.
How often in your life will you get to experience a thundering waterfall spilling into clear, turquoise waters? This is what you will find at the end of this hike, and it is worth the journey to see it firsthand.
7. Inca Trail
Let’s venture outside the United States for our two remaining waterfall hikes. First we will head to Peru, to the famous Inca Trail that ends at Machu Picchu, where you will see a variety of scenery along the way.
This is a trip worth investing in. Venturing on this particular hiking expedition, you can take a 26-mile, four day hike through mountain, jungle and ruins and see all kinds of wonders as you go.
8. Gullfoss Falls
If you ever get the chance to travel to Iceland, you will not want to miss the opportunity to see Gullfoss Falls, which is a result of Iceland’s White River that is fed by an enormous glacier.
One unique feature of this natural and beautiful attraction is that, if you are lucky, you might be able to see the rainbow that often appears over the waterfall when the sun shines brightly.
9. Detian Falls
You will not want to visit any part of Asia in your lifetime without seeking out one of its most prized waterfall hikes, the Detian Falls. It is a waterfall shared with both China and Vietnam and it is worth taking the time to explore.
You will find two separate waterfalls along this hike, one along the Chinese side of the river and the other along the Vietnamese side of the river. It is not very often that you will be able to find two waterfalls in one hike, which is what makes this journey unique.
There are more wondrous waterfall hiking trails out there than you probably realize, and planning a trip around seeing and experiencing one in person is worth the effort. There is nothing quite like standing at the bottom of a waterfall looking up, thinking about how it got there, and how it has managed to sustain itself for so long.
Seek out one of these many hiking trails with waterfalls to see the natural wonders for yourself. You will not forget taking a short or longer hike just to see water pouring over a cliff. Once you see it in person, no picture or video will ever be able to compare.