18 Magnificent and Unique Waterfalls From Around the World

Waterfalls come in many different types including plunge, tier, horsetail, block, cascade, punchbowl and fan. 

1. Geiranger, Norway

Cruising through the fjords in Norway after spending part of the day in Geiranger, we had this waterfall pointed out to us. It is facing “the seven sisters” waterfall. This represents the fella that could not win their hearts, he has taken to drink. Can you see the bottle?

Waterfall opposite “the seven sisters”.

2. Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland

This two tiered waterfall is one of the wonders of Iceland and I can see why they are so proud of it. Even from way above the falls, looking down one got a feeling for their grander and power.

Gullfoss waterfall

3. Semuc Champey, Guatemala

This is really a series of water falls that cascades from pool to pool of brilliant turquoise water. Truly one of the most beautiful, remote and captivating place I have visited. We hiked to the top of the mountain to capture the overall scenic spectacle before simply enjoying soaking in one of the pools.

View of Semuc Champey from “up” the hill

You can move from one pool to another, sit under a low water fall, slip down a natural stone slide, or sit still and allow the tiny fish to give you a pedicure.  Yep, it does tickle, but so decadent at the same time.

Turquoise water

4. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia, Africa

Victoria Falls is located on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. Fed by the Zambezi River, it is statistically the largest waterfall in the world.

“This recognition comes from combining the height and width together to create the largest single sheet of flowing water.” ~ sevennaturalwonders.org

It is one mile wide (1.7 km) and 360 feet high (108 meters). It is also called Mosi-oa-Tunya which means “smoke that thunders”. As a comparison, Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. Iguazu Falls, on the border of Argentina and Brazil, comes in at a close second in overall volume.

Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, it is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Victoria Falls

5. Yosemite Falls, California, USA

Yosemite Falls itself is the tallest waterfall in the United States and ranks 5th in the world. Consisting of three parts: Upper Falls, Middle Cascades, and Lower Falls, for a total height of 2,425 feet. Just FYI, the tallest is Salto Angel in Venezuela with a 3,212 foot drop.

You can see both the upper and lower falls from the meadow
Lower Falls

6. Multnomah Falls, Oregon, USA

“At 620 feet, Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon and the second-tallest year-round waterfall in the United States.” – TravelPortland.com

Multnomah Falls

7. Red Velvet Falls, Kauai, Hawaii

In reality, I have no idea what the name is of this waterfalls. We were simply taken by the brilliant red coloring of the rocks and soil and could not resist stopping for a quick photo on our drive toward Waimea Canyon.

Red Velvet Waterfall

8. Trummelbach Falls, Murren, Switzerland

This was a very unique series of ten waterfalls, all inside the mountain. Trummelbach Falls is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. An elevator takes you half way up. You can walk down from there and see falls #1-5 OR you have the option to walk up steep interior steps to view falls #6-10, and then walk all the way back down to see the remaining #1-5.

Not very good lighting, but hopefully this will give you an idea of proportions

9. Athabasca Falls, Jasper National Park, Canada

Athabasca Falls

10. Bridal Veil Falls, Banff National Park, Canada

Located on one of the most popular hikes in Banff NP, the Johnston Canyon Trail. It was easy to see why this hike is on everyone’s list. The first part to the lower falls takes only 30 minutes, travels along a boardwalk and is rated easy. The engineering task of embedding metal into the side of the rock walls, and installing a cantilevered catwalk is impressive.

11a. Iguazu Falls, Brazil side

We wanted to get an overview first, so took an optional helicopter flight over the falls. What an amazing way to get my first look at the largest waterfall system in the world.

Iguazu Falls from the helicopter

“The falls are shared by the Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and Iguaçu National Park (Brazil). The two parks were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984 and 1987, respectively.” ~ Wikipedia

According to our trip notes, Iguazu Falls is over 2 kilometers long and actually a series of cataracts. There are over 270 falls with some reaching up to 80 meters in height. They are wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara Falls.

Walkway out to look down into the throat of the falls

The name Iguazu come from the Native American Guarnai word for  “great water”. The Iguazu River is just over 800 miles long, beginning near the city of Curitiba. For most of its length, the river flows through Brazil. Reaching the Paraná Plateau, the falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu.

“Iguazu Falls are arranged in a way that resembles a reversed letter “J”. The border between Brazil and Argentina runs through the Devil’s Throat.” ~ Wikipedia

About half of the river’s flow falls into the fourteen falls that make up Devil’s Throat. The balance is divided up into 150 to 300 other waterfalls (aka cataracts), depending upon the time of the year and amount of water.

Roughly 20% of the falls are in Brazil and the remaining 80% are in Argentina. From the Brazil side, you have a wide open vista of the greater number of falls on the Argentina side.

11b. Iguazu Falls, Argentina side

On our second day here, we traveled to the Argentina side of the falls for a different view along the boardwalks and from a boat on the water just below the falls.

Impossible power
Iguazu River from below the falls

12. Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho, USA

It is often referred to as “The Niagara of the West”.  

“At 212 feet tall and 900 feet wide, Shoshone Falls is one of the largest natural waterfalls in the United States surpassing the height of the famous Niagara Falls.” ~ tfid.org

Shoshone Falls

13. Finca Paraiso (Paradise Farm), Guatemala

This is a unique opportunity to see and feel a HOT waterfall cascading into a fresh cool stream below. There is a slight current pulling you down stream, but I am a strong swimmer and it was easy for me to get in place where the hot water cascades down off the cliff and mixes with the cool stream water. I was glad to have worn my swimsuit under my clothes and had the chance to experience this unusual phenomenon for myself.

Finca Paraiso

14. Falls Park, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

Falls Park is located on the Big Sioux River, and has been the center of life in the region for many years. The Native American people are the first to visit and brought stories of the falls to European explorers. The city was founded here in 1856 and industry developed along the river.

Shoshone falls and pink rock

According to park literature, “many of Sioux Falls historical buildings are made from Sioux Quartzite. The “pink rock” is the hardest rock, second only to diamonds. The park covers 123 acres. Each second an average of 7,400 gallons of water drop 100 feet over the course of the falls”.

Building left from the Queen Bee Mill days

15. Reversing Falls, Bay of Fundy, St John, New Brunswick, Canada

The Bay of Fundy has the most dramatic and highest tide changes of anywhere in the world – a dramatic 29 foot difference! We got to witness the tides from Stone Hammer Geopark aka Fallsview Park which is a UNESCO Site.

The tide was on the way out when we were there

When the tide is out (low tide) the water from the Saint John River, flows into the Bay of Fundy. As the tide starts to come back in, the water flow stops the flow of the river.

“This short period of complete calm is called slack tide. It is only at this time that boats are able to navigate the Falls. Shortly after this slack tide the bay tides become higher than the river level and slowly, at first, the river begins to flow upstream. As the bay tides continue to rise, the reverse flow gradually increases and the rapids begin to form, reaching their peak at high tide.” –new-brunswick.net

At this point the tidal waters are actually 14 ½ feet higher than the river.

“After high tide the bay tides begin to fall and the upstream flow of the river gradually lowers until the bay tides fall to the level of the river – once again resulting in another slack tide. The river then resumes its normal course and begins to flow back out of the bay. The bay tides continue to fall below the level of the river until at low tide the rapids are again at their peak, flowing down stream.”

With the reversal, the tidal waters are now 14 ½ feet lower than the river level. This incredulous 29 foot change occurs twice a day.

16. Running Eagle Falls, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

This is an easy .03 miles (one way) walk and handicap accessible. It is also called Trick Falls in some publications.

It was mid afternoon by the time we arrived and our lighting was not ideal to put it mildly, but the falls were very interesting. I have never seen falls that come right out of the middle of a rock wall.

Running Eagle Falls – water flowing out of the side of the cliff

17. Lower Falls, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

Lower Falls

18. Niagara Falls, New York, USA & Canada

Located in upstate New York, just north of Buffalo, Niagara Falls sits right on the border of the USA and Canada. Our first stop was the Observation Platform which gives a wonderful view of American Falls. We paid $1 per person to walk out on the platform and to take the elevator down to water level afterwards for a different view.

American Falls with Horseshoe falls behind it

Afterwards, we walked across the bridge into Canada (a passport was required) and enjoyed the views from that angle, which we thought was even better.

Please share your favorite waterfall picture(s) below! We would love to see some of your artistry!

GRATITUDE MOMENT: How can one not be grateful for all the power and magnificence that Mother Nature has on display for us. I have included some of my favorites, several UNESCO sites, and a few unusual falls. One thing they all have in common is how over thousands of years, the water reshaped the surrounding area. If we could fast forward far into the future, I wonder how many of these would still be in existence? I am thankful that we have today to enjoy them.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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21 Responses to 18 Magnificent and Unique Waterfalls From Around the World

  1. Darlene says:

    These are all amazing!! Thanks for sharing them.

    Like

  2. paperpopups says:

    Really nice article – thank you.

    Like

  3. VJ Knutson says:

    Stunning views all!

    Like

  4. These are all amazing but I must say the Gullfoss Falls really stands out.

    Like

  5. Pastor Cathy says:

    18 Magnificent and Unique Waterfalls From Around the World

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  6. I can almost hear the roar from here. 🙂 What glorious falls and what a joy to have seen all of them!!

    janet

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  7. These are awesome! I LOVE waterfalls! Several of these are on my list to see (I’ve seen one or two of them). 🙂

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  8. Amy Pantone says:

    I absolutely love water falls. I could sit next to one for hours and listen to the sound of the falling water. I also love to sit in pools of water with smaller ripples of water flowing over my feet. It’s so relaxing. I call it nature’s water park. Love this post and all the various waterfalls you’ve encountered.

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  9. Great selection! I’ve been to 9 of these beauties. I’m glad you mentioned both “sides” of Iguazu. You must have been there during peak water flow. Amazing! I’m most taken by the photo of the beautiful cascades in Guatamala (#3). Some of my favourites include the waterfalls in Havasu Canyon, Arizona and in Wells Gray Provincial Park, British Columbia.

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    • Caroline, the place in Guatemala is truly magical. I had visited there years ago with several friends when we were together taking Spanish classes. I was so taken by the beauty, that I convinced my husband to return with me a few years later so that he could witness this for himself. Thank you for mentioning your favorites as well. ❤️

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  10. Tracy says:

    Of your list I have been to Multnomah Falls including hiking to the top and the Reversing Falls though unfortunately not during a tide change. Waterfalls are breathtaking!

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