The Most Incredible Waterfalls?

TLC (the R&B legends, not the channel) have given us some great advice over the years. Don’t be too proud. Avoid scrubs. Creep. But I think I have to disagree with them when they say, “don’t go chasing waterfalls.” Waterfalls are great, and you should chase them whenever possible! Waterfalls come in all shapes and sizes, but they are universally mesmerizing. Whether it’s a haunting stream pouring down from a cave roof, like the Ruby Falls in Tennessee; a smaller water feature rushing through lush jungle greenery like Asik-Asik Falls in the Philippines; or a staggering display of natural power like the world famous Niagara Falls, every waterfall holds its own special kind of magic. Now tell us about the most incredible, unforgettable, and powerful waterfalls that you’ve ever encountered!


(Image: Joshua Forrest/CC BY 2.0)

In the comments below tell us all about your favorite waterfalls. Where they are, what they’re called, and how you discovered them. Tell us why they stick in your mind, and if you have any pictures of your amazing falls, post those as well, we want to see them! Your submission may be included in an upcoming roundup article on Atlas Obscura. Show us your favorite waterfalls, and let’s all get carried away.

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My favourite has to be the Niagara Falls, for many reasons. There’s waaaaay too many better pictures of them than any I’ve taken (here’s one from this website)

so I’m not posting those but here is a picture of one of the little waterfalls at El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico when I visited last month.

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Iguassu Falls viewed from the Brazilian side are spectacular, but I also love the dual Nevada and Vernal Falls in Yosemite.

Liberty-Cap-Nevada-Falls-and-Vernal-Falls-from-Panorama-Trail-Yosemite

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It isn’t by any means the largest or most impressive waterfall but for me the cascatinha waterfall in the Santuario do Caraca has a particular sentimental importance for me. The day after my first encounter with a wild maned wolf I climbed up to it and just sat on the rocks in the shade of an overhanging tree smoking a cigarette and enjoying the coolness of the water vapour and the tranquility of the surroundings. I was thinking to myself, “In a couple of months , I’ll be back in my hellish university institute that I despise with my whole being , but for now I’m just not going to think about that and I’m going to enjoy this transient moment in time” which is exactly what I did and it felt awesome.

Another one I love is also in Minas Gerais, Brazil, in the Serra da Canastra National park called Casca d-Anta. It is exceptionally beautiful, although more interesting than its beauty is the strange prehistoric-esque grandeur it has. I remember when I first saw it thinking that it would make a brilliant filming location for a Jurassic park movie.

Plenty more for me to explore in the near future too , Brazil is a country of myriad waterfalls and natural wonders , in fact its the best country in my opinion to savour the beauty of the natural world.

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I’ve been just about everywhere in America, and yeah, Ruby Falls is neat, Niagara Falls is neat, Ricketts Glen is cool and the Smokies have some ok waterfalls too, but instead of telling you the best, because really, when is water falling not great? Oh and by the way, fallingwater is pretty neat too.

In rural upper bucks county PA, there’s a rock field known for its sonorous stones. In fact, the highlight of a trip there, until you’ve been there more than a dozen trips, is hauling a hammer in with you and blasting chips off of those ancient rocks and listening to the reverberations that emanate. It’s neat. There isn’t much quite like it on the planet.

But it’s just the start of the hike. Once you get through the rock field, you amble down some mossy trails and meet up with a mostly dry creek bed angling against the rising shale. if you hang a right there, you can walk the often slippery, but mostly dry creek bed up changing topography for a half mile or so when you’re presented with a dazzling waterfall. it’s not on par with any waterfall you’ve ever heard of before, but it’s great. it can range from a trickle to a deluge.

Ringing Rocks are known, but the following hike isn’t. If you climb to the top of the waterfall, and in 2008, my buddy John took a novel approach, turning right brings you right back past the rock field and to the parking lot. It’s a very easy hike in an hour or two, but in spring I’ve found it mostly impassable.

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Not spectacular but I love the mystery of where the water goes from Devil’s Kettle in Minnesota.

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I enjoy all waterfalls, big and small, so Switzerland really spoiled me. Being in Lauterbrunnen, this surreal verdant valley, every time I turned my head I saw waterfall after waterfall, sometimes several at once.


Lauterbrunnen Town by Sundar M, on Flickr


Waterfall at Lauterbrunnen by Tammy Lo, on Flickr


Lauterbrunnen by C N, on Flickr

I’ve been told visiting the Faroe Islands is similar; waterfalls everywhere.

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Devil’s Kettle is an Atlas favorite too!

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I’ve been fortunate to be able to see a fair number of waterfalls over the years – it’s kind of a thing I try to do everywhere we go, to my wife’s chagrin. Looking back, though, the best one was from a crazy, spur-of-the-moment side trip when visiting Fiji 20 years ago. While traveling around the big island (Viti Levu), I’d heard about Savuione Falls, outside of Lautoka, so I decided to see if I could get there on my second-to-last day in the country. I went to the Lautoka market and found a willing driver to go up into Koroyanitu Park…who then took me to his house, where his wife fed me an amazing papaya curry, and then everybody piled into the back of the truck to go. It turned out the whole family had never been and wanted to visit, including grandma and three kids. :slight_smile:

So we drove and then hiked up into the mountains – the kids left me in the dust – all the way to the base of the waterfall. It was a magnificent, multi-level waterfall, crashing down right through the middle of the jungle; I waded into the water, but the current was so strong it nearly took me over the edge and down. The family who’d hiked up with me thought I was crazy and laughed when I invited them to come near the water. I couldn’t help but laugh, too. It was magic. :slight_smile:

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That is true.

And I also love Fallingwater. The cantilevered floors are a marvel. I have lots of pictures of the place but it’ll take me some time to unearth them but most people who love architecture know about it anyway.


(From this website)

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This isn’t an impressive waterfall but it has some rather chilling stories about it. One is that this is where a proto-Merlin met his death - choked by rope, stabbed by knife and drowned. The other and this has been made more likely by the bones found is that it is where disabled children were sacrificed. Though it looks shallow and narrow, the rock is undercut to about 18ft in the narrow channels and it runs fast. You fall in, you get dragged under and ripped apart. A few children have died that way. It is in Calderglen Country Park, East Kilbride, Scotland. Called The Trough Linn or the Devil’s Cauldron. This page gives more info - THE REEKIN LINN - HIDDEN TRUTH (The... - Calderglen & Calderwood Castle History | Facebook

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I found the waterfall at Chamarel in Mauritius to be pretty special, it’s not wide but it’s amazingly tall and looks like something out of the time of the dinosaurs, here’s a picture of mine from 2016

The jungle at the top and the overhang makes it for me.

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Long ago, when I saw Kaiteur Falls in Guyana, 5 times the height of Niagara, one could only get there by small aircraft. Once in the area, you could stand at the top of the Falls, in the water and look down. Not for the feint of heart, but extraordinary.

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Dettifoss waterfall in northeast Iceland: my son and I visited Iceland in 2008 and camped downstream from a series of dramatic waterfalls, including Dettifoss – considered the Niagara Falls of Europe. As avid whitewater paddlers, we naturally made the standard joke, " you run it on the right."

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Yellowstone National Park’s Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Lower Falls, was first described by N. P. Langford in 1870. I took this photo 10 days ago on a Bucket List trip. Amazing.

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In the western part of Canaima National Park - Guayana - Venezuela, is the Auyantepuy, one of the largest and better known “tepuy” (A flat top mountain ending with vertical walls). From this tepuy is where the Angel falls are formed. The fall is 979 meters high (around 3000 ft.), and is the higher waterfall in the world.

Angel Falls is 15 times higher than Niagara Falls with its total of approximately 52 meters.

This fall is named for Jimmy Angel, an adventurous pilot from Missouri, United States, who flew to the air circus Lindberg. James Crawford Angel (Jimmy Angel) is a modern legend. He saw the waterfall for the first time in 1933 with his partner while searching for the legendary McCracken River of Gold, or the Golden City.

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Not the grandest, but some of my favorites.

Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch, NH. Easy to access but still impressive to approach as the gorge walls are maybe 20 feet of vertical granite.

Not sure of the name (think it’s Warren Falls), but a small roadside waterfall near the Sugar Bush, VT ski resort. Driven by it countless times and always reminds me of good times. Always a crowd collected at it.

Not a natural waterfall, but this was cool to see at the Cloud Forest in Singapore.

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I was on a solo tour of Europe for my 30th birthday. I decided to spend a night – it ended up being two – at Giessbach Falls near Interlaken. I chose it mostly because it was supposed to be the model for Reichenbach falls where Holmes and Moriarty fell to their deaths, but I fell in love with the falls themselves.

It was very early in the season, but the hotel was nearly full. The gentleman at the desk told me that only forest rooms were left and only at half board. It was worth it. I slept better those two nights than I ever had. The scent of the pines, the hikes up and around and behind the falls, and the excellent food all conspired to make me sleepy and content.

the falls themselves are gorgeous. There’s one bridge that goes behind the falls and one in front. The lake is stunning and I remember passing some beautiful brown Swiss cows in their pastures. It was the perfect mix of wild and tame.

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Having visited this place, I can wholeheartedly attest to the following:

Virginia Falls is a massive waterfall that slides down a long stretch of mighty rapids and short drops then splits around a massive 400 foot tall spire of lime stone known as Mason’s Rock. The south segment of the falls drops 294 feet to the river below, while the north segment slides steeply down to a bend, then falls about 170 feet to rejoin the south segment in the river below. The falls are better than 800 feet in width and the face of the falls is spans nearly 4 acres in surface area. The scale of this waterfall compares favorably with other giants of the waterfall world and the remoteness of this waterfall is the only reason Virginia Falls doesn’t reside amongst the global giants in terms of notoriety. The World Waterfall Database isn’t the only agency to regard these falls as globally important, the falls were recognized as one of the first four locations to be designated World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in the late 1970s. (From the World Waterfall Database) :open_mouth::smiley::+1::+1:!
https://goo.gl/maps/yBGQXwbtcgvxzeJv8

Virginia%20Falls%202|240x240

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Jurassic Falls, or Manawaiopuna Falls by its actual name, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai is one of the most magical sights I’ve ever seen. Of course, a 400-foot waterfall will always be an awe-inspiring view, but this particular waterfall made me hear music. What music? The theme from Jurassic Park.

That’s right, this is the waterfall that is featured in the original Jurassic Park film where Dr. Hammond is bringing his guests to the island via helicopter. The landing pad created for the film was destroyed in 1992’s Hurricane Iniki, but the scene is still very recognizable.

How did we get to this waterfall? Well, by helicopter, of course! Jurassic Falls is located on private property, only accessible by air, and only one helicopter company has permission to land there (Island Helicopters). True fans of Jurassic Park, especially if you remember the magical feeling of seeing the dinosaurs and their prehistoric landscape for the first time, need to see this waterfall. It brought back the goosebumps I had as a kid, a few tears welled up, the music hummed in my head, and I may or may not have seen a T-rex from the corner of my eye.

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