17 of the World’s Most Breathtaking Waterfalls

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There’s something extraordinary about waterfalls. They’re beautiful and strong, and there are few things that have the ability to make you feel connected to nature in such an immensely humbling way.

Nautralist and founder of the Sierra Club, John Muir, once wrote:

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”

Maybe that’s exactly where the beauty of waterfalls lies: in their ability to make you feel close to the heart of the world. And, well, we think that’s pretty special. We believe exploring your natural surroundings is one of the best things you can do to gain an appreciation and respect for our planet that will give you the inspiration to conserve and protect it. Plus, it’s really, really fun!

We feel so strongly about these ideas that we’ve compiled a list of some of the best waterfall hikes in the world.

Take a look!

1. Akaka Falls

Located in Hawaii, on the northeastern coast of Hilo, Akaka Falls State Park features two beautiful waterfalls on one 0.4 mile uphill hike through gorgeous scenery. The park’s namesake, Akaka Falls, is the second of the two waterfalls (the other is 100-foot Kahuna Falls), and drops 442 feet into a gorge. The hike typically takes only an hour, so it’s certainly well worth the trip!

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/DirkR

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/DirkR

2. Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is one of the largest and most incredible waterfalls on the planet. Located between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Zambezi River is more than 1.25 miles wide at the point at which it plummets up to 354 feet over a large plateau. The mists from the fall are said to be visible dozens of miles away, and they provide a rain forest-like ecosystem to the surrounding area. Interested in visiting? The Zambezi’s flow is most powerful in February and March, when up to 540 million cubic meters of water spill over the plateau per minute.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/F.C.G.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/F.C.G.

3. Multnomah Falls

Located just a short, 30-minute drive from Portland, Multnomah Falls is one of the most sought after destinations in the Pacific Northwest. The waterfall is Oregon’s tallest, plummeting 542 feet at its highest point and 69 feet at its second, lower tier. A 5-minute walk from a parking area off I-84 offers onlookers a gorgeous view, and if you’re looking for some really amazing photo opportunities, a paved trail offers access to Benson Bridge, which lies at the base of the lower tier.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/Scottie

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/Scottie

Click “Next” for more incredible waterfalls!

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L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.