Looking to make your next hike one to remember? Get ready to be blown away by nature’s magnificence by trekking alongside some seriously spectacular waterfalls. From hardcore excursions to leisurely rambles, a guide to the best waterfall hikes out there.
Bash Bish Falls, Mount Washington, Massachusetts
Earning the title of Massachusetts’ highest single-drop waterfall, the Bash Bish courses its way through lush forest before plummeting 60 feet into a pristine pool. In total, however, the cascades equal up to approximately 200 feet, most of them winding their way through gorges and smaller chutes en route to their final destinations. Embark on a scenic hike along designated trails which lead to one of two access points that offer a prime view of the falls. Tempting as it may be, avoid the urge to dip your toes in the water. Not for nothing was Bash Bish Falls named one of the most dangerous travel destinations by AOL. Don’t get too worried though, as long as you stick to marked paths and keep your daredevil tendencies in check, the only thing you’ll walk away with are great photos and awesome memories.
Montmorency Falls Park, Québec City, Québec
Niagara who? Measuring it at an impressive 275 ft and stretching out over a 150 ft wide expanse, the Montmorency Falls are a whopping 98 ft higher than Niagara Falls and are surrounded by scenery that just can’t be beat. Not only are there trails and staircases leading to the top of the falls, a suspension bridge over the crest affords more daring visitors a spectacular (if not nerve-wracking) view. Just as beautiful in the winter as it is in the warmer months, Montmorency Falls is the kind of place you should definitely go out of your way to visit.
Moss Glen Falls, Granville, Vermont
While it may not be much of a hike (you can access the falls from the parking lot pretty quickly), we’d be remiss to exclude Moss Glen Falls from this roundup as it is truly one of the prettiest you’ll see. Thanks to the rock formations, the water shoots out in a variety of streams, rather than straight down into a pool. As a result, you get a postcard-perfect waterfall that looks ethereal against the forested backdrop.
Franconia Falls, Lincoln, New Hampshire
While beautiful year round, Franconia Falls is especially worth visiting in the summer months when adventurous types can experience the thrill of the natural water slides at the base of this 30 foot waterfall. The hike is approximately 6.8 miles there and back and if you follow the Franconia Brook Trail, you’ll be treated to several mini cascades that are well worth the walk. Fancy a little extra exertion? Pack your snowshoes and trek the trails when the snow is deep. Just don’t expect to stop for a swim.
Sabbaday Falls, Conway, New Hampshire
A leisurely hike with a few steep (but manageable) climbs through picturesque trails brings you to this gorgeous, tiered waterfall that practically begs to be photographed. The fall itself is 40 feet and winds its way through rocks and pools that, in some places, are so breathtakingly beautiful that they almost look fake. Thanks to accessible paths, just about everyone can enjoy the views and plenty of benches and observation areas make for perfect resting spots.
Les Sept Chutes, Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Québec
Not one, not two, but seven waterfalls are featured on this hike that leads you through beautiful forests, heart-stopping gorges, and steep stairs that, while a bit taxing, are all very much worth the effort. Typically uncrowded and offering up-close and personal access to the water, the excursion is known to take the better part of a day and it’s highly recommended that you arrive early to ensure that you get to see all of the falls before closing. Plenty of onsite picnic areas, benches, and educational stations make for excellent rest opportunities.
by Kate Walker