Saturday, February 21, 2009

Top 10 Waterfalls

I'm a big fan of waterfalls: I love the white noise, I love the mist and the smell, I love the way they're always changing, yet always the same, and in most cases the setting has its own beauty. So I had to pick this up and pass it on. Bold the ones you've visited, add comments as desired, and as a bonus, add a personal favorite that's not on the list, and that you think other waterfall enthusiasts would enjoy. The origin of this list is here (with discussion and nice photos) via Swans On Tea.

#10 Lower Calf Creek Falls, Escalante National Monument, Utah (I love desert waterfalls, but I hadn't heard of this one)

#9 Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (the steam coming from the gorge walls adds to the grandeur of this one)

#8 Upper Whitewater Falls, in southwestern North Carolina (again, hadn't heard of it, but it looks very nice... I'm fond of the terrace effect that you get in waterfalls over sedimentary rocks

#7 Snoqualmie Falls, between Snoqualmie and Fall City, Washington

#6 Havasu Falls, Supai Village, Havasupai Indian Reservation, Grand Canyon, Arizona (one I always wanted to get to, but I doubt I ever will)

#5 Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho (A very worthwhile, quick, stop off of I-84, but easy to miss unless you're looking for it)

#4 Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon (another I-84 quick stop, but the whole Gorge is teaming with waterfalls. Drive the historic scenic route- contrary to the comments of the original post, many many waterfalls are either visible from the road, the pullouts, or very short walks from the pavement)

#3 Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite National Park, California (you gotta have at least one Yosemite waterfall)

#2 McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California (haven't been to Big Sur, and this strikes me as sort of an eclectic personal favorite, but I'm just copying the orignal poster's list)

#1 Niagara Falls, Niagara, New York (eeyup, what she said- the shear thundering power of this waterfall shakes your bones. Visit the Candian side, park-like and beautifully landscaped, unlike the American side, which is built up and touristy and tawdry)

Bonus Waterfall: Salt Creek Falls, Oregon- A quick pull out off of Route 58, 23 miles southeast of Oakridge, but easy to miss. The waterfall cascades off of young, high Cascade basalt onto older, Western Cascades volcanoclastics. The latter are fragmented and more easily eroded, and thus undercut the overlying basalt. This set-up is very common for waterfalls- the water falls off of harder, more resistant rock, onto softer, less resistant material. The softer material erodes out, undercutting the harder rock, which then calves off, renewing the waterfall and keeping the edge sharp and well-defined. Picture source and more info here.


Jessica Ball said...

Oh, the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is plenty touristy and built up - it just depends how close to the Falls you are.

The park on the American side can be quite nice, although the view isn't as good. But both sides are accompanied by hotels and casinos and shopping and silly money-pits like Ripley's Believe It Or Not museums, although the American side is more run-down, like much of the Buffalo/Niagara area.

Lockwood said...

You are right- I was generalizing, I guess. I remember Goat Island on the American side as being very pleasant. And the Canadian side, back on the slopes above the terrace, is also very touristy. But the park-like area from about the Rainbow Bridge up to Horseshoe Falls I remember as being very nice and beautifully landscaped. I haven't visited the area for maybe 20 years or so though, so things may have changed.

Anonymous said...

... add a personal favorite that's not on the list, and that you think other waterfall enthusiasts would enjoy.

Cumberland Falls-Supposedly, it is the only place in North America where one can see a moonbow.