Tuscarora Falls at Rickett’s Glen State Park by Mitch / Public Domain
Waterfalls are a favorite subject for many landscape photographers, and fortunately there are a lot of great waterfalls to photograph. In this article we’ll feature 10 different locations in the United States that are perfect for photographing waterfalls. Of course, there are many other locations that could have been listed, but these locations allow you to photograph multiple waterfalls and, in most cases, are pretty easy to access through maintained trails.
Related reading: 10 Tips for Fabulous Waterfall Photography
Columbia River Gorge – Oregon
The Columbia River Gorge is a canyon along the Columbia River, western Oregon and Washington. This area is absolutely filled with spectacular waterfalls that are a photographer’s dream. Several different trails provide access to the falls, and in several cases you can hike a few miles along one trail and see multiple waterfalls.
The best of the falls are on the Oregon side, and you could easily spend several days hiking and photographing the waterfalls of this area. Multnomah Falls (pictured below) is the most famous of the falls in the Columbia River Gorge, but there are plenty of others that are very impressive as well. From the Historic Columbia River Highway you can access several different trailheads that will lead you to waterfalls.
Multnomah Falls by Paul VanDerWerf / CC BY 2.0
Silver Falls State Park – Oregon
Silver Falls State Park is in western Oregon, less than a two-hour drive from the Columbia River Gorge. This is Oregon’s largest and most-popular state park, and mostly because of its amazing waterfalls.
The Trail of Ten Falls is a 7-mile loop trail that leads you past 10 different waterfalls. Many of them are very picturesque, and you can walk behind a few of them. South Falls is the most popular in the park and is about 175 feet high.
Silver Falls State Park by Ian Sane / CC BY 2.0
Letchworth State Park – New York
Letchworth State Park is about 60 miles southeast of Buffalo. It features a deep canyon and three significant waterfalls along the Genesee River: Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls. The falls are all relatively easy to see and photograph (see The Photographer’s Guide to Letchworth State Park).
Letchworth State Park is sometimes referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East”, and the canyon is just as beautiful as the water the flows through it. A paved road runs along the canyon and provides plenty of great views and overlooks.
Letchworth State Park by Marc Andre
Watkins Glen State Park – New York
Watkins Glen State Park is in the Finger Lakes region and is about a 1.5 hour drive from Letchworth State Park. It features a 400-foot-deep gorge and the Glen Creek. The creek runs through the gorge to create stunning scenery (see The Guide to Photographing Watkins Glen State Park).
There are three trails in the park. The Gorge Trail descends into the gorge and leads to the 19 waterfalls of the park. The trail does include a lot of steps, but the photos you get will be well worth the effort.
Watkins Glen State Park by Marc Andre
Delaware Water Gap – Pennsylvania and New Jersey
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a 70,000 acre protected area in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on both sides of the Delaware River. This area is filled with waterfalls, and several of them are easy to access.
Dingmans Falls and Silverthread Falls can be seen from a handicap-accessible trail. Just a few miles away, the George W. Childs Park features a loop trail that leads you past three waterfalls, including Fullmer Falls which is pictured below. Raymondskill Falls, the highest waterfall in Pennsylvania, is also within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. On the New Jersey side, Buttermilk Falls is the most noteworthy waterfall. It cascades 200 feet and sits right beside the road with no hike required.
And just outside of the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area is Bushkill Falls, another great place to photograph several waterfalls in close proximity to the others.
For detailed information please see our article, Photographing the Waterfalls of the Delaware Water Gap.
Fulmer Falls by Jason / CC BY-ND 2.0
Ricketts Glen State Park – Pennsylvania
Ricketts Glen State Park is about a two hour drive west of the Delaware Water Gap. It features a beautiful old growth forest and more than 20 waterfalls.
The best way to see and photograph the falls of Ricketts Glen is to take the Falls Trail. It is a 7-mile trail that can be difficult at some places, and it takes about 4-5 hours to hike aside from time for photography. This trail will lead you past many of the falls in the park, although there are also shorter trails that you can take to see some specific waterfalls.
Tuscarora Falls at Rickett’s Glen State Park by Mitch / Public Domain
Great Falls Park – Virginia
Great Falls Park is located just outside of Washington, DC in McLean, Virginia. Although it is in a highly-populated location it is an area of great natural beauty, and you will forget how close you are to the nation’s capitol.
This stretch of the Potomac River includes and area of rapids and rocky falls, and there are three different platforms that make it pretty easy to photograph the falls. The short trail to the falls starts right behind the visitors center, and that trail leads you to each of the three observation platforms.
Due to its location, the park can get quite crowded in the summer and on weekends, and space on the platforms is somewhat limited. So if you want to be able to comfortably set up your tripod and avoid the crowds, weekday mornings are usually the best times to go.
For details see our Guide to Photographing Great Falls Park.
Great Falls by Mehul Antani / CC BY 2.0
Blackwater Falls State Park – West Virginia
Blackwater Falls State Park is in the Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia. If you like waterfalls you will love this park. It is home to the namesake Blackwater Falls, which is the 60-foot waterfall pictured below.
There are also several other falls in the park, including Elakala Falls, which is arguably the most beautiful waterfall in the park. Elakala Falls is actually a series of 4 waterfalls, numbered 1-4. The 3rd and 4th Elakala Falls are more challenging to reach, but 1 and 2 are very popular with photographers.
There is also another series of smaller falls on Pendelton Run. Aside from waterfalls, this state park also features some amazing overlooks, most notably Lindy Point.
For more details please see our Photography Guide to Blackwater Falls State Park.
Blackwater Falls by Marc Andre
Fall Creek Falls State Park – Tennessee
Fall Creek Falls State Park in central Tennessee features the 250-foot Fall Creek Falls, as well as five other impressive waterfalls. A short trail leads from a parking lot to the base of Fall Creek Falls.
Several trails throughout the park lead to other falls, including the Gorge Trail. In addition to the waterfalls, the park also features the impressive gorge, stream, and forests.
Fall Creek Falls State Park by Michael Hicks / CC BY-ND 2.0
Gooseberry Falls State Park – Minnesota
Gooseberry Falls State Park is located along Lake Superior in northeast Minnesota. In addition to this park, Minnesota State Highway 61 provides access to several other noteworthy state parks along the north shore.
This park surrounds the mouth of the Gooseberry River in a rocky gorge and features Upper, Middle, and Lower Gooseberry Falls. Getting a view of the falls is pretty easy from the trails of the park.
Gooseberry Falls State Park by Anita Ritenour / CC BY 2.0