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Every waterfall is unique – and so are these hikes

While some might suggest you don’t go chasing them, we respectfully disagree. Along with their breathtaking beauty and soothing sound, waterfalls are a source of calming experiences, where we can fully appreciate the natural awe and tranquility of our surroundings. So the next time you’re planning a hike you might want to plan yours around one of these amazing cascades. And as goes for any new hike, be sure to check the trail and weather conditions to make sure it’s safe.

1. Best Beachside Waterfall Hike

Alamere Falls, CA

This all-day hike takes you along the picturesque Point Reyes National Seashore, where you can enjoy incredible ocean views of the Pacific, brilliant forests, and gorgeous lakes with plenty of chances to take a swim. But the jewel of this hike is without a doubt the mesmerizing waterfall that cascades over the bluffs onto the beach for a view like no other. Reserve a campsite at Wildcat Camp and turn this outstanding hike into a weekend getaway.

DISTANCE:12.2 miles)

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2. Best Waterfall Hike in Maine

Gulf Hagas – Monson, ME

Also known as the “Grand Canyon of Maine” and part of the Appalachian Trail corridor, Gulf Hagas may not be the easiest hike in Maine to find a waterfall, but it might be the most spectacular. With two trailheads to use and Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) cabins nearby, this kind of hike is more an event than a casual nature walk. The long trek brings great rewards once you are able to witness the three majestic falls this hike takes you by – including some swimming holes. Be sure to exercise caution as several areas of this trail feature rugged terrain and slippery conditions.

DISTANCE: 8-9 miles

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POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE, Alamere Falls

Courtesy National Parks Service

LOWER FALLS, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA

Courtesy National Parks Service

3. Best Accessible Waterfall Hike

Lower Falls, Yosemite National Park, CA

The Lower Falls located in Yosemite National Park is not only Yosemite’s most popular waterfall – it’s also the most accessible. The paved loop trail leads to the base with plenty of wheelchair-friendly viewing areas, so people with disabilities (or anyone looking for an easier hike) can easily experience the awesome power of the falls. They say you can even feel the mist! And with many other great Yosemite trails accessible by wheelchair, you may want to stick around for a while.

DISTANCE: 1.2 miles

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HADLOCK FALLS, ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, ME

Courtesy National Parks Service

4. Best Catch-It-If-You-Can Waterfall Hike

Hadlock Falls, Acadia National Park, ME

Ok so maybe we’re a little biased on this one, since it’s only a couple hours from our Freeport flagship store, but if you haven’t been to this East Coast gem yet, you’re in for a treat. With numerous trails that take you through inspiring Maine woodlands and along the rocky Atlantic coast, one in particular will bring you to the most famous of Acadia’s three charming carriage-road bridges. Aptly named the Waterfall Bridge, it allows you to see the charming Hadlock Falls through the arch. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this waterfall is you can only see it during a spring melt or heavy rainstorm, so when you catch it, you know it’s special.

DISTANCE: 1.5 miles

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5. Best Hike with Multiple Waterfalls

Bushkill Falls, Bushkill, PA

Also known as "Niagara of Pennsylvania," Bushkill Falls takes you over the rivers and through the woods to visit a series of eight awe-inspiring waterfalls in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Each cascade offers its own unique experience, and since this hike usually only takes 2-3 hours, it makes for an unforgettable day trip for families.

DISTANCE:2 miles

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6. Best Iconic Waterfall Hike

Lower Falls, Yellowstone National Park, WY

Yellowstone National Park has so many memorable waterfall hikes, choosing which one to take is the toughest part. However, at 308 ft and located at the head of the Grand Canyon, the majestic beauty of the Lower Falls is definitely a hike you’ll never forget. If possible, we recommend spending several days at the park so you can see what makes this one of America’s most treasured spaces.

DISTANCE: Less than a mile

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7. Best Walk-Behind-A-Waterfall Hike

Silver Falls State Park, OR

Hiking beside a 177-foot waterfall is an extraordinary experience; hiking behind one is simply next level. That’s exactly what you’ll get to do when you hike this 7.2-mile loop in stunning Silver Falls State Park in Oregon. This popular trail found in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains passes 10 waterfalls, with one you can walk behind and even touch, along with the kind of scenic beauty that just feels magical.

DISTANCE:6.9 miles

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LOWER FALLS, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY

Courtesy National Parks Service

ENCHANTED VALLEY, OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, WA

Courtesy National Parks Service

8. Best Backpacking Waterfall Hike

Enchanted Valley, Olympic National Park, WA

Thanks to an abundance of rain, the enchanted valley in Washington State’s Olympic National Park has quite an array of waterfalls to discover along the 26-mile round trip. There’s a reason they call it the valley of 10,000 waterfalls. Along with the many gorgeous waterfalls you’ll discover flowing down the mountains, there are a wide variety of river views, beautiful firs and even a chalet nestled in the heart of the valley – so you can break this trip up and savor every moment.

DISTANCE: 26 miles

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MULTNOMAH FALLS, BRIDAL VEIL OR

9. Best Kid-Friendly Waterfall Hike

Alberta Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

Located on the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park, this family-friendly waterfall trail is as accessible as it is beautiful. Logging in at 1.6 miles round trip with limited elevation, it’s a fun hike for all skill levels. On your way to Alberta Falls, you’ll be treated to sublime scenery and Colorado’s native aspen groves. And once you reach the 30-foot waterfall cascading awesomely into the rocky gorge below, feel free to spend lunchtime at the base, for what many believe is the best view in the park.

DISTANCE: 1.6 miles

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10. Best Dog-Friendly Waterfall Hike

Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil, OR

Just a 30-minute drive from Portland, this hike is hounds-on one of the most beautiful dog-friendly waterfall hikes. Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s tallest waterfall and to get there, you traverse gorges and bridges, while taking in the magnificent scenery as you make your way to the top to see it all in its full glory. Plus, if you’re traveling from afar, you’ll find pet-friendly hotels close by. It’s a very popular spot for dog owners and their furry friends, so be prepared to run across many on your journey.

DISTANCE:2.4 miles

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