The Most Beautiful Waterfall Hikes in the Country

Is there anything more satisfying than finding a gorgeous cascade at the end of a fun family hike? These treks are big on beauty, with impressive water displays the kids will love. Check out these epic waterfall hikes that will make you want to hit the trails.

Latourell Falls - Columbia River Gorge, OR

Bex Walton via Flickr

A hike to this must-see Oregon waterfall will definitely not disappoint. With upper and lower falls to enjoy, 249-foot Latourell Falls is breathtaking, and the views from the trail are sure to impress. A small parking area has restrooms and a few picnic tables. From there, it’s just a short walk up to the trail. Although steep in some places, the 2.4-mile trail is manageable for smaller legs, and the trail holds plenty of scenery to keep kids interested and engaged.


Looking for more Oregon waterfall hikes? Add these to your list.

Snoqualmie Falls - Snoqualmie, WA

Andrew E. Larsen via Flickr

Washington state’s 270-foot waterfall is a majestic attraction that you’ll want to add to your hiking bucket list. From dawn until dusk, take advantage of the free parking area nearby and free viewing area. At 1.4 miles roundtrip, the trail offers great views of the thundering waterfall, making this one a hit with the younger set.

Check out some other fantastic waterfall hikes nearby.

Amicalola Falls - Dawsonville, GA

RyanMcKee via Flickr

Have a blast hiking to see Amicalola Falls, the highest waterfall in Georgia at an impressive 729 feet. Located in Amicalola Falls State Park, this waterfall is gorgeous in any season and a popular tourist attraction, so if possible, hike early to avoid the crowds. The park has a reflecting pool at the base of the falls, and a variety of trails that range in length and difficulty, so you’re sure to find the perfect option for your adventurers. Be sure to stop by the Visitor’s Center to learn about the falls and grab a map. The West Ridge Falls Access Trail is an easy 0.3-mile hike to a bridge with great views, or, try the Creek Trail, which takes you on a scenic hike from the Visitor’s Center to the pools at the bottom of the falls.


See our other favorite Georgia waterfall hikes by clicking here. 

Lower Yosemite Falls - Yosemite National Park, CA

Roy Luck via Flickr

When it comes to epic waterfall hikes, Lower Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park is high on our list. As the final plunge of the largest North American waterfall, any sighting of this astonishing waterfall is a showstopper. The Lower Falls Trail is an easy (and paved) 1-mile trail that gives you a few different views of all 320 feet of waterfall glory, as well as exhibits with information about the area. For the full experience, visit in the spring or summer to see the waterfall at full strength. Just be prepared to get a little wet!


Add a few more hikes to your list with these great daytime treks.

Cunningham Falls - Thurmont, MD

Virginia Hill via Flickr

At 78 feet, Cunningham Falls is the largest waterfall in Maryland. Located in Cunningham Falls State Park, the Lower Trail is an easy half-mile loop that has the shortest access to the falls. Perfect for little ones, beginning hikers or just a casual trek with the family.

Do you still have energy to burn? You can find even more epic waterfall hikes right here.

Dry Falls - Highlands, NC

mark_stoffan via Flickr

Kids will love that you can actually walk behind this incredible waterfall in North Carolina! Located in Nantahala National Forest, the 80-foot Dry Falls is perfect for a daytime stop. Although more of a stroll than an actual trail, a short paved path leads from the parking lot to a scenic walk behind the falls. There’s also an observation deck off the parking lot for those who would prefer to check out the view from afar.


Solstice Canyon - Malibu, CA

Jeremy Miles via Flickr

Head to the mountains and hike Solstice Canyon, where you’ll see plenty of stunning views, along with plants, wildlife, architectural ruins and the Solstice waterfall. The Solstice Canyon Trail is an easy hike that’s 2.1 miles round trip. The hike begins in the parking lot and takes you past the remains of the Keller House and the Roberts Family House Ruins, both destroyed by wildfires. From there, continue on to the waterfall to cap off the journey.


See our other favorite Los Angeles area waterfall hikes here

Glen Ellis Falls - Jackson, NH


An easy 0.4-mile trail takes you to this 64-foot waterfall in New Hampshire. The hike is a short walk from the parking lot that travels through a tunnel under the highway and down a series of stairs to reach the falls. Trekking all the way back up the steps might be a bit challenging for younger hikers, but with such amazing scenery, you can take pauses to rest and enjoy the view.


Shoshone Falls - Kimberly, ID

Amy Meredith via Flickr

Sometimes called “Niagara of the West,” the impressive 212-foot Shoshone Falls in Idaho is a popular tourist spot, and it’s easy to see why. Vehicle access to Shoshone Falls Park will cost you $3 per car. Once inside, take in the falls from a variety of trails, or relax with a picnic and let the kids run in the park’s open green space.


Marymere Falls - Port Angeles, WA

alans1948 via Flickr

In Olympic National Park near Lake Crescent, you and your little hikers can trek to see the gorgeous 90-foot Marymere Falls. At 1.8 miles, the hike is short enough for the youngest in your crew but long enough to still feel like a great forest adventure. Plus, you’ll be rewarded at the end with a beautiful view! The trail does have a few stairs with handrails but overall is an easy family hike.


Silver Falls - Sublimity, OR

Doug Kerr via Flickr

At Silver Falls State Park in Oregon, you’ll find over 35 miles of hiking trails, as well as unbeatable waterfall scenery. The nationally-recognized Trail of Ten Falls is a moderate 7.2-mile loop showcasing some of the park’s most gorgeous falls. Since the trail is on the long side for the smallest hikers, you can find a variety of shorter trails that still capture those stunning views.

Akaka Falls and Kahuna Falls - Honomu, HI

daveynin via Flickr

At Hawaii’s Akaka Falls State Park, you can see not one, but two waterfalls. Kahuna Falls drops 100 feet, and Akaka Falls is a jaw-dropping 442-foot plunge. The hike is a short and scenic 0.4 miles, making it an enjoyable journey for younger travelers. The path is paved but does have a number of stairs (leave your stroller behind). The rainforest landscape is almost as mesmerizing as the falls on this trail.


Stewart Falls - Provo, UT

Aaron Hawkins via Flickr

Clocking in at 4 miles round trip, this hike in Utah may be better for kids who are prepared for slightly more strenuous hiking. However, the forested trail is beautiful and shady, and the 200-foot Stewart Falls at the end is totally worth it. Grab a hat and some sunscreen, lace up those hiking boots, pack a few backpack snacks and off you go.  This spot does get crowded, so prepare to have some company along the trail.

Anna Ruby Falls - Helen, GA

Stanislav Vitebskiy via Flickr

There are a ton of things to love about Anna Ruby Falls in Georgia. Aside from the incredible double waterfalls spilling more than 150 feet, you get an easy 0.4-mile dog- and stroller-friendly hike on a paved path, leading you from the Visitors Center to an observation area at the base of the falls. It’s the perfect introductory hike for your smallest hikers, and the twin waterfalls are an added bonus. The recreation area to access the falls has a $3 admission fee for anyone 16 or older.


You’ll also love these other spectacular waterfall hikes.

Watkins Glen State Park - Watkins Glen, NY

Sue Waters via Flickr

One of the most popular New York State Parks, Watkins Glen takes you past nineteen waterfalls in two miles. The famous Gorge Trail can be accessed from the Upper, Main and South entrances of the park and travels around and behind the falls for an unforgettable hiking experience. You’ll get spectacular views and plenty of photo ops. The trail does have stairs which can get slippery, so use caution when hiking with children. Dogs are not permitted on the Gorge Trail so those furry friends will have to stay home for this one.


Sturtevant Falls - Arcadia, CA

Jim Thoburn via Flickr

Although this hike is longer than some of the others on our list, it is relatively flat and shady, and well worth the trip. Located in Big Santa Anita Canyon, the Sturtevant Falls hike is 3.7 miles and has several fun small water crossings that kids will enjoy. Then hang out to enjoy the 50-foot waterfall before heading back out.


Insider tip: This trail begins with a 0.6-mile decline, so just know that you’ll have to walk back up to finish off the hike. Also, parking is notoriously difficult, so try to arrive early to avoid crowds, and make sure to pick up a $5 adventure pass for parking.

Ready to keep hiking? Try these gorgeous waterfall treks.

Roaring Run Falls - Eagle Rock, VA

Megan N via Yelp

How about a waterslide on your hike? You’ll find one on this easy 1.5-mile trail to Roaring Run Falls in Virginia. The trail begins at an early 1800s iron furnace, and winds through the woods with several footbridges to cross. Before you come to the falls, stop to enjoy the natural waterslide and cool off in the swimming hole.


Willow Falls - Hudson, WI

Jenny Salita via Flickr

Situated in Willow River State Park in Wisconsin, Willow Falls is a powerful cascade of water worth hiking to find. Several trails in the park will take you and your explorers to the falls, depending on the length and difficulty of a hike you want. At 0.4 miles, the Willow Falls Hill trail is the quickest path to the falls but does have a steep hill to navigate. The Burkhardt Trail spans 2-4 miles, depending on the route you take. It starts at the River Road parking lot, travels along the stream and captures a great view of the falls.


Hamilton Pool Preserve - Dripping Springs, TX

Leon Bovenkerk via Flickr

This hidden natural pool and swimming area outside of Austin, Texas sits under a 50-foot waterfall. The area was formed from the collapse of an underground river thousands of years ago, and now remains a popular spot for locals and tourists. The hike to Hamilton Pool is a quarter-mile trek and has some steep and uneven portions. Reservations are required to visit Hamilton Pool Preserve for $11, and a $15 permit is required upon entry. Swimming is not always permitted, depending on water bacteria levels, so check before making reservations and arriving.


High Falls of the Pigeon River - Portage, MN

Sharon Mollerus via Flickr

High Falls of the Pigeon River, also known as Pigeon Falls, is the largest waterfall in Minnesota. Right along the Minnesota/Ontario border, the 120-foot falls are incredible to see. An easy 0.5 paved trail takes you near the falls so you can see the splendor up close.


—Anna Doogan



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