I am fascinated by the power of nature. I’ve learned to respect an outgoing tide, fear the impending danger of a tropical storm, and limit exposure to sunshine. I will hide away in articles concerning potential volcanoes and earthquakes, and stun myself with galleries of overgrown abandoned locales.
I’ve faced heat, and sun, and bugs, and dehydration to find myself face-to-face with a wall of water.
But there’s one natural feature that brings me to awe like no other, that reminds me of my insignificance, and fills me with admiration over its sheer power, and that’s the waterfall. And I’ve seen my fair share: I’ve hiked in Yosemite and road-tripped to Niagara. I’ve faced heat, and sun, and bugs, and dehydration to find myself face-to-face with a wall of water.
And each time it’s the same jaw-dropping reaction. Each time I hear the roar and feel the mist and stare at it pouring over a cliff face. When I first visited Niagara Falls, I just watched silently for nearly half an hour. The boy thought I was crazy!
So if you get the chance to get outside, find a waterfall. That’s my tip. Wherever you are hiking or climbing or walking or visiting: find a waterfall.
The Backside of Water
Waterfalls can form anywhere along a river’s system, but are most common in the upper course. They are often caused by erosion of soft sediment, leaving only the solid rock behind. Some waterfalls are also formed from earthquakes or glacier movement – like the ones in Yosemite. They exist all over the world, in every state in the US and in nearly every country.
There are plenty of different types as well. I love the cascade falls, where the water drops down what looks like a series of rock steps. However, not much can compare to the magnificence of towering plunge fall, where the water falls completely vertically, losing all contact with the rock.
Go Chasing Waterfalls
Don’t worry about ignoring TLC’s classic advice. Instead, use some of my favorite resources to plan out your waterfall adventure!
To get started, check out this article from Only in Your State, which picks out the most jaw-dropping waterfall in each state. And then once you’ve exhausted those 50, use this map from the World Waterfall Database to find the rest.
Another way I like to find waterfalls in National Parks is to use the REI app, which includes details about hiking trails and gems, many of which are waterfalls. Be sure to check the trail info before you head out. Some waterfalls require long day hikes or even overnight camping! However, many are easy to view, like Niagara Falls.