With more than 17,000 documented waterfalls in varying landscapes and climates, the United States is a destination for these towering and majestic water features. If you’re an outdoor lover who craves natural beauty and adventure, you must check out the 25 tallest waterfalls in the United States.
Vernal Falls – California – 318 Feet
Located in Yosemite National Park, Vernal Falls is a 318-foot-tall waterfall and one of the most popular hiking areas in this California park. It’s located on the Merced River downstream from Nevada Fall, where you can view it from a distance at multiple points or up-close along the Mist Trail.
Bridal Veil Falls – Colorado – 365 Feet
This majestic free-falling waterfall is in Telluride, Colorado, where it is the tallest waterfall in the state at 365 feet. The spring and summer provide the perfect environment for waterfall hiking, and the winter introduces premier ice climbs. However, this area can be treacherous to climb during the winter and precautions should be taken.
Illilouette Falls – California – 370 Feet
Hike along creeks and flower-filled meadows during the spring and summer to see this spectacular waterfall in Yosemite National Park. While it’s a popular hiking and viewing area, there is plenty of room to enjoy this little slice of heaven for yourself. Illilouette Falls is 370 feet tall and gushes over rugged cliffs.
Feather Falls – California – 410 Feet
Located in Northern California, Feather Falls is a Sierra Nevada waterfall that appears like those found in Yosemite. Feather Falls cascades over jagged cliff faces for 410 feet and is a sight to behold. Visitors don’t have to deal with many crowds and there are hiking trails that lead to beautiful overlooks.
Upper Whitewater Falls – North Carolina – 411 Feet
Falling for more than 400 feet, the Upper Whitewater Falls is the tallest waterfall east of the Rockies. It’s located in the Nantahala National Forest of North Carolina, about 60 miles from downtown Asheville. For a spectacular view, check out the walkway that leads to the Upper Overlook.
Nevada Fall – California – 594 Feet
This 594-foot-high waterfall is in the Yosemite National Park, where it’s located on the Merced River, below Liberty Cap, a granite dome at the west end of the Little Yosemite Valley. It features a notable bent shape and is notable for its abundant mist and whitewater appearance.
Bridalveil Fall – California – 617 Feet
Bridalveil Fall is one of the most iconic waterfalls of Yosemite National Park in California. While Yosemite Falls is larger, Bridalveil is spectacular because it flows year-round. The best time to visit this waterfall is during the spring when there is peak run-off from rain and snow.
Multnomah Falls – Oregon – 620 Feet
Located on Multnomah Creek in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls is a famous waterfall and landscape. It’s known for its tiers of basalt cliffs and the tallest waterfall in the state that drops more than 600 feet into crisp, clear pools. It’s a popular hiking and photography area.
Chilnualna Falls – California – 695 Feet
Totaling 690 feet tall, the Chilnualna Falls resides in Yosemite National Park in California. There is a hiking trails that leads to the falls, which is fairly strenuous, although less crowded than other waterfall hikes in the park. Peak runoff during the spring is a memorable experience in the area.
Wapama Falls – California – 1,080 Feet
This 1,080-foot waterfall is in California’s Yosemite National Park, where it is a popular attraction among hikers. The best time to visit this hiking trail and waterfall is mid-spring when the water is flowing but not flooding. The bridges below the falls offer a refreshing mist or full-on downpour depending on when you visit.
Keana’awi Falls – Hawaii – 1,476 Feet
Other than the fact it exists and falls around 1,476 feet, not much else is known about Keana’awi Falls. It is in Kauai County, but its exact location, attributes, and stature is unknown or unconfirmed.
Lake Frances Falls – Montana – 1,558 Feet
During the summer months, a melt stream from the Dixon Glacier drops, cascades, and slides down the side of the mountain directly into Lake Francis in Glacier County. Lake Frances Falls is 1,500 feet tall, doesn’t contain much volume, and is best seen during the summer.
Wall of Tears – Hawaii – 1,601 Feet
The Wall of Tears is an incredible display in Maui, Hawaii. Not much is known about these 17 waterfalls that cascade for more than 1,600 feet down the side of forested cliffs, as they are hidden deep within the West Maui Mountains. The best way to see these falls is by helicopter.
Ribbon Fall – California – 1,611 Feet
Located in Yosemite National Park in California, Ribbon Fall is a giant waterfall that flows off a steep rock cliff on the west side of El Capitan, an enormous vertical rock formation. Ribbon Fall is the longest single drop waterfall on the continent (1,611 feet) and is fed by melting snow during the spring. However, it is dry for much of the year.
Haloku Falls – Hawaii – 2,297 Feet
Haloku Falls consists of numerous small streams that fall over the seaside cliff edges, plummeting 2,297 feet into the ocean below. Like many of the enormous waterfalls on this island, Haloku is rather inaccessible and hard to find. These falls are on the northeastern side of Molokai in Hawaii, between the Pelekunu and Wailau valleys.
Harrison Basin Falls – Montana – 2,320 Feet
Due to the remote location and large volume of grizzly bears, Harrison Basin Falls is not accessible by foot and not many have laid eyes on it. For this reason, some information may be inaccurate. However, it’s believed that Harrison Basin Falls, which is the unofficial name, has a vertical drop of 2,320 feet. It is fed by the melt water from Harrison Glacier in Flathead County.
Avalanche Basin Falls – Montana – 2,320 Feet
At 2,320 feet, Avalanche Basin Falls is the tallest waterfall in Montana and one of the tallest on the continent. It’s located in Glacier National Park, where it pours into Avalanche Lake. This waterfall is fed by the Sperry Glacier and other snowmelt streams.
Manawainui Falls – Hawaii – 2,359 Feet
Located in a remote section of the mountainous region of Maui, Manawainui Falls is only accessible by helicopter and its exact location is unknown. These falls are a series of streams that plunge over the side of steep forested cliffs into the rocky streams below. This waterfall is confirmed at 2,359 feet tall.
Cloudcap Falls – Washington – 2,402 Feet
There are four prominent waterfalls on Mount Shuksan’s southeast flank in North Cascades National Park in Washington state. Cloudcap Falls it the tallest of the waterfalls and it cascades 2,400 feet over Jagged Ridge. However, it is a seasonal waterfall with smaller volume than other waterfalls in the area, like Seahpo Peak Falls.
Yosemite Falls – California – 2,425 Feet
Located in California’s Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Falls is a major attraction in the Sierra Nevada. The peak water flow is during the spring and visitors can see the top of the upper fall to the base of the lower fall, totaling 2,425 feet. This is an excellent spot for intermediate to advanced hikers.
Johannesburg Falls – Washington – 2,464 Feet
While Johannesburg Falls lacks significant volume, it flows more 2,400 feet off the side of Johannesburg Mountain in Washington. This waterfall gets its water source from small unnamed glaciers atop the mountain and splits into two main sections. The first section has several drops, while the other plunges about 800 feet vertically. It is unknown whether this waterfall will be a permanent feature for years to come.
Colonial Creek Falls – Washington – 2,585 Feet
This majestic waterfall resides in North Cascades National Park in Washington state. Colonial Creek Falls is 2,585 feet and is the tallest waterfall in the continental United States. Sitting in a remote area of the state, this waterfall completes 13 distinct vertical drops with an incline of 65 degrees.
Waihilau Falls – Hawaii – 2,598 Feet
Situated in the Waimanu Valley, Waihilau Falls is on the island of Hawaii, where it is the third tallest in the state and the country at 2,598 feet. Consisting of three slim streams of water, Waihilau Falls cascades down cliff faces into lush vegetation.
Pu’uka’oku Falls – Hawaii – 2,756 Feet
These incredible falls reside in Molokai, Hawaii, and are the eighth largest in the world, measuring 2,756 feet tall. Located along the islands north shore, Puʻukaʻoku Falls is a high seasonal waterfall that flows directly into the Pacific Ocean. Despite its status as one of the tallest waterfalls in the United States. Puʻukaʻoku is difficult to get to and rarely photographed. You must access it by boat or plane.
Olo’upena Falls – Hawaii – 2,953 Feet
Not only is Olo’upena Falls the tallest waterfall in Hawaii, it is the tallest waterfall in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Located on the north shore of Molokai, Olo’upena Falls flows 2,953 feet off the side of enormous, forested cliffs. The view of this spectacular natural wonder is only accessible by plane.
A Summary of the 25 Tallest Waterfalls in the United States
|Rank||Tallest Waterfalls in the United States||State||Height|
|#1||Olo’upena Falls||Hawaii||2,953 feet|
|#2||Puʻukaʻoku Falls||Hawaii||2,756 feet|
|#3||Waihilau Falls||Hawaii||2,598 feet|
|#4||Colonial Creek Falls||Washington||2,585 feet|
|#5||Johannesburg Falls||Washington||2,464 feet|
|#6||Yosemite Falls||California||2,425 feet|
|#7||Cloudcap Falls||Washington||2,402 feet|
|#8||Manawainui Falls||Hawaii||2,359 feet|
|#9||Avalanche Basin Falls||Montana||2,320 feet|
|#10||Harrison Basin Falls||Montana||2,320 feet|
|#11||Haloku Falls||Hawaii||2,297 feet|
|#12||Ribbon Fall||California||1,611 feet|
|#13||Wall of Tears||Hawaii||1,601 feet|
|#14||Lake Frances Falls||Montana||1,558 feet|
|#15||Keana’awi Falls||Hawaii||1,476 feet|
|#16||Wapama Falls||California||1,080 feet|
|#17||Chilnualna Falls||California||695 feet|
|#18||Multnomah Falls||Oregon||620 feet|
|#19||Bridalveil Fall||California||617 feet|
|#20||Nevada Fall||California||594 feet|
|#21||Upper Whitewater Falls||North Carolina||411 feet|
|#22||Feather Falls||California||410 feet|
|#23||Illilouette Falls||California||370 feet|
|#24||Bridal Veil Falls||Colorado||365 feet|
|#25||Vernal Falls||California||318 feet|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Beach Creatives/Shutterstock.com
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