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These are the most Instagram-worthy waterfall hikes in all 50 states


Best waterfall hikes Pin It
Photo: Instagram/@goldiehawn_
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There are times when the treadmill or stairclimber comes in handy, but Mother Nature is really the ultimate gym. Hiking not only provides epic Insta opportunities, but leaves you feeling accomplished, refreshed, and more motivated to conquer whatever life throws your way (including, you know, poison ivy or bears). And nothing makes a hike feel more magical than turning the corner and finding a grand—or secret—waterfall.

Some places are more blessed in the water feature department than others, but no matter where you live, there are #views to be had.

Rounded up here are the best waterfall hikes in all 50 states, including need-to-know deets like how much of a workout you can expect. (It’s way better to know what you’re getting yourself into before you hit the trail, not five miles in, am I right?) Your next fitness adventure begins right here.

Scroll down to see the best waterfall hikes in all 50 states.

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Photo: Roaring Brook Falls; Instagram/@escapeingthecocoon

Northeast

Connecticut: Roaring Brook Falls
Categorized as a moderate-level three-mile hike, the reward is a spectacular view of the state’s highest single-drop waterfall, surrounded by velvety shrubbery.

Delaware: White Clay Creek State Park
Okay, so a creek isn’t exactly a waterfall, but this state park is still worth lacing your hiking boots up for. There are bridges, wildlife, and nine different trails of varying lengths to choose from—all of which are on the easy side.

Maine: Angel Falls
An easy mile-long hike to Angel Falls will lead you to breathtaking views of this 90-foot plunge.

Massachusetts: Glendale Falls
Glendale Falls is one of the largest and most powerful waterfalls in the state. The hike is short—only a quarter of a mile—but the falls are so spectacular that you definitely won’t get bored repeating it a few times.

New Hampshire: Arethusa Falls
The highlight of this moderate three-mile hike is the headwaters tumbling over a granite cliff.

Eternal Flames
Photo: Eternal Flames; Instagram/@adonheagz

New Jersey: Buttermilk Falls
It’s a moderate five-mile hike to reach Buttermilk Falls—and the reward is great: Picture water gently cascading down shallow, rocky steps, flowing into a roaring river.

New York: Eternal Flame Falls
The trail to Eternal Flame Falls is a mile-and-a-half roundtrip, and what waits for you at the end is pretty close to otherworldly. In a grotto on the right side of these cascading falls are several fissures that expel fiery methane gas.

Pennsylvania: Ricketts Glen
Along this three mile, moderate-level hike, you’ll come across 22 named waterfalls, so you’ll essentially be surrounded by Instagrammable moments every step of the way. If you want more of a challenge, you can hike the trail’s full seven-mile loop.

Rhode Island: Stepstone Falls
Rhode Islanders know that their state is pretty flat—which means this three-and-a-half mile hike is on the easy side. But the minimal elevation doesn’t take away from the beauty of Acadia National Park’s granite rocks, plant diversity, and blue lakes.

Vermont: Bingham Falls
This hike is short—about a mile—but you still have plenty of time to take in the sights of the several cascading waterfalls that converge into a narrow gorge, falling 40 feet into a calming pool.

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Photo: Roughlock Falls; Instagram/@ranklechick

Midwest

Illinois: Starved Rock State Park
Waterfalls are visible from 14 of the 18 canyons you can hike in this state park, so it’s choose-your-own-adventure in terms of trail length and difficulty. If you’re lucky, you might even see an eagle fly by on your hike.

Indiana: Clifty Falls
Located in Clifty Falls State Park, this waterfall flows down 60 feet of tiny steps then drops into a pool. The five-mile loop leads to Clifty Falls, Little Clifty Falls, Tunnel Falls, and Hoffman Falls—AKA lots of moments worth pulling your camera out for.

Iowa: Malanaphy Falls
A two-mile, moderate-level hike around Upper Iowa River will lead you to one of the state’s most beautiful falls, surrounded by soft, mossy grass.

Miners Falls
Photo: Miners Falls; Instagram/@delaneygraham

Kansas:  Chase Lake Falls
This land-locked state might not have ocean views, but it does have several captivating waterfalls, including this one located in Cottonwood Falls. It’s a short, moderately difficult hike to the falls, and there’s lots of wildlife to keep you company.

Michigan: Miners Falls
The hike to the falls is just over a mile round trip, and at the bottom is a swimming hole that will cool you down before heading home.

Minnesota: Devil’s Kettle at Superior Hiking Trail
This waterfall gets its name from the mysterious and unusual way that it flows. When the river splits in two, water from the right side moves downstream while water from the left side vanishes into a pothole—and no one knows where the pothole leads. Finding this mysterious waterfall takes an easy hike just under two miles long.

Missouri: Mina Sauk Falls
The steady-flowing falls can be reached by a challenging (read: super-rocky) three-mile trail. Serious hikers can continue for another 11.5 miles to reach the highest point in Missouri, Taum Sauk Mountain.

Nebraska: Smith Falls
You arrive at the highest waterfall in the state after a three-and-a-half mile hike (NBD). The water drops about 70 feet and then flows into Niobrara River. Spoiler alert: It’s captivating.

North Dakota: Mineral Springs Falls
This is North Dakota’s only natural waterfall, best seen after a rainy day. Hike the moderate four-and-a-half mile trail through Sheyenne National Park to find this wonder.

Ohio: Blue Hens and Buttermilk Falls
Pro tip: Take the hike to Blue Hens Falls an extra mile to Buttermilk Falls—it’s where the views are the best. At the end of the easy mile hike is a pool, so BYO swimsuit.

South Dakota: Roughlock Falls
An easy two miles roundtrip, the falls along this hike are created by Little Spear Fish Creek, which flows down a chasm and over a limestone ledge that’s 50 feet high.

Wisconsin: Copper Falls
The Bad River runs through a steep canyon and splits into two stunning waterfalls before plunging 20 feet. The moderate-level trail loops three miles and offers adventurers the chance to discover even more waterfalls.

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Photo: Gorman Falls; Instagram/@scotty_v_

South

Alabama: Chinnabee Silent Trail
It’s a long, moderate hike (six miles, round trip) to reach this waterfall, with views of streams and rock croppings along the way.

Arkansas: Triple Falls
Triple Falls, also known as Twin Falls, is actually three distinct waterfalls, but the third only flows after significant rain fall (hence the two names). The hike is an easy half mile.

Florida: Falling Waters Sinkhole
In Falling Waters State Park, a two-mile trail leads to Florida’s tallest waterfall. Plus, the park’s full of beautiful, fern-covered sinkholes.

Georgia: Emery Creek Falls
Emery Creek is a six-mile round-trip hike that leads to five of the state’s most secluded waterfalls. This trail is a moderate climb, and typically isn’t at all crowded. Hello, peaceful adventure.

Kentucky: Bad Branch Falls
Tumbling over 60 feet of the Pine Mountain, Bad Branch is about a mile in to a five-mile hike that runs over uneven trails and bridges (meaning you can peace out if you’re not feeling super ambitious). Warning: Those scared of heights should definitely invite along their most encouraging BFF—the views are so worth the journey.

Louisiana: Tunica Hills State Park
Though Louisiana is a mostly flat state, Tunica Falls is the exception. The three-and-a-half mile trail will lead you through parts of the state that you might have thought you had to travel much further to find.

Virgin Falls
Photo: Virgin Falls; Instagram/mr.bwhit

Maryland: Kilgore Falls
This 17-foot vertical drop is easily accessed through a half-mile trail that leads straight to the falls. And then, it’s full-on relaxation mode.

Mississippi: Clark Creek Falls
Expect to see enormous trees, rolling hills, and several other waterfalls along the four-mile hike to Clark Creek Falls. You’ll hear the calming rush of the water the whole way there.

North Carolina: Catawba Falls
The Catawba River tumbles through the forest and breaks in to several cascades, creating a jaw-dropping view. A moderate-level trail of almost three miles round trip will lead you through moss-covered walls straight to the falls.

Oklahoma: Dripping Springs Falls
The half-mile loop leading through a lush green forest will take you right by this 77-foot waterfall. (As you venture along the lower portion of the trail, keep an eye out for the remains of lampposts that were installed in the 1920s so visitors could see the falls at night.)

South Carolina: Laurel Forks Falls
This trail is for daredevils and experienced hikers alike: The eight-and-a-half mile hike takes about six hours—and leads you over a suspension bridge.

Tennessee: Virgin Falls
A pick for those looking for a long-haul hike, you’ll find four waterfalls along this nine-mile loop. The overlooks are pretty spectacular, too.

Texas: Gorman Falls
Gorman Falls is considered to be a “living” waterfall, because it gets bigger over time. (You know what they say about Texas….) It’s a moderate-level, three-mile round-trip hike with magical views every step of the way.

Virginia: Apple Orchard Falls
This five-and-a-half mile hike will lead you along a river’s path for the majority of the trail—and then of course there’s the glorious waterfall, plunging down 200 feet of mountainside.

West Virginia: Sandstone Falls
With trails that range from a handicapped-accessible quarter-mile boardwalk to a three-mile ridge-top loop, you can view these falls—which are a whopping 1500 feet wide—at your own pace.

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Photo: Beaver Falls; Instagram/@everchanginghorizon

West

Alaska: Thunderbird Falls
On this relatively easy one-mile hike through the deciduous forest of Alaska, you’ll come across Thunderbird Falls, which tumbles down 100 feet—stunning!

Arizona: Beaver Falls
Go swimming and take in the aqua-hued water that cascades and pools over the limestone terraces in Havasu Creek. It’s eight-miles round trip and a moderate-level hike, so be sure to hydrate along the way.

California: Vernal Falls
This is one of Yosemite National Park’s most popular hikes for a reason: The three-mile long Mist Trail leads to an unforgettable view of the falls.

Colorado: North Clear Creek Falls
Colorado is home to lots of amazing hikes. This is one of the shortest—it’s less than a mile—but the views of the 100-foot falls are epic.

Montana waterfalls
Photo: Triple Falls: Instagram/@goldiehawn_

Hawaii: Waiilikahi Falls
Hawaii is home to so many enchanting waterfalls—many of which can only be reached by helicopter. Luckily, Waiilikahi is not one of them. But there’s a catch: It’s a strenuous sixteen-mile hike along the Muliwai trail. Set your alarm early—or be sure to pack a tent (and a camping permit).

Idaho: Shoshone Falls
Shoshone Falls is known as the Niagara Falls of the West—and would tower 45-feet over the real Niagara. The easy trail to see this two-tiered cataract is almost three miles round trip.

Oregon: Ramona Falls
For those who make the seven-mile journey, the views of the cascade have been called life-changing.

Montana: Virginia Falls
This state is home to Glacier National Park, which has so many waterfalls they haven’t even all been named yet. You pass Virginia Falls, which drops 50 feet, on a three-and-a-half-mile trek.

Nevada: Hunter Creek Falls
The dramatic landscape on this six-mile hike coupled with the amazing waterfall has made it a day-trip hit among locals.

New Mexico: Nambe Falls
Pack your swimsuit for this six-mile hike—you can take a dip at the bottom of the falls.

Utah: Lower Calf Creek Falls
You’ll see Native American ruins along the way of this six-mile round-trip hike, and at the end you’ll find the glorious falls and a natural swimming pool.

Washington: Palouse Falls
It only takes one-mile to hike to this 198-foot fall, which bursts out of beautiful Basalt Cliffs and is considered the state’s only official waterfall.

Wyoming: Mystic Falls
The three-mile, beginner-level loop makes these falls accessible to almost everyone. You’ll pass geysers and hot springs (NBD) as you explore the beauty of Yellowstone National Park and the Biscuit Basin.

If you want to see more than one spot on this list, start planning your road trip with these tips. And if your friends are more city people, here are four surprising lessons you can only learn by traveling solo