Hiking & Treking

America’s hidden waterfalls you didn’t know about

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Spring at Watson Falls, Umpqua National Forest, Oregon

Image: Shutterstock/EyeLights West

Once summer rolls around, finding the nearest source of water jumps to the top of the “must-do” list. Luckily many states have exceptional waterfalls to explore all summer long. Unfortunately many of these spots are saturated by droves of people out for a cheap and beautiful thrill. So where did all of the chill places go? Don’t worry, they’re still out there. In hiding.

You might just need to strap on your hiking boots to find them.

Emery Creek Falls, Georgia

Wade through twenty creek crossings on your way to see one of North Georgia’s most remote waterfalls: Emery Creek Falls. Cascading over two giant granite outcrops, the falls seem almost split in two as they splash into the cool waters below. Emery Creek Falls can be found 6.2 miles in from the trailhead in the Chattahoochee National Forest, far away from the masses. In fact, the nearest big city isn’t even in Georgia. And be warned, the falls are remote for a reason. The Emery Creek Trail is between moderate and difficult the entire journey, especially through the water crossings. Come prepared!

Morning Falls, Wyoming

Just because Yellowstone National Park is one of the most visited in the United States doesn’t mean you can’t find a few backcountry thrills amongst the crowds. Pack your gear for a multi-day hike to Morning Falls, which stands an impressive sixty feet high. The other impressive feature? It’s 100 feet long. You can catch the partially maintained trail by hiking to Union Falls, then following the north fork of Mountain Ash Creek. Morning Falls and Union Falls are both accessed at the Cave Falls trailhead and overlook.

Watson Falls, Oregon

The Pacific Northwest is known for it’s lush, green vegetation and epic views, so finding a waterfall to explore is easy. Watson Falls, while located only .6 miles from the parking area, is incredibly serene and peaceful. Even with the label of 3rd-tallest falls in Oregon, you still won’t find too many people packing the trail. The 272 foot tall waterfall is surrounded by a stunning basalt amphitheatre, which will surely make you feel like you’ve gone back in time.

Lower Calf Creek Falls, Utah

Lower Calf Creek Falls, Calf Creek, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, south Utah, USA

Image: Shutterstock/Kris Wiktor

It’s surprising to find such dense waterfalls in the desert southwest, but Utah has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. Lower Calf Creek Falls, located within the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, is one of those tricks. This 126 foot waterfall is found after a sandy, but flat, 2.75 mile trek from the parking lot of the Calf Creek Recreation Area. Since Grand Staircase-Escalante is a barren and isolated place, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll have the trail mostly to yourself! All the better to enjoy Utah’s varied reddish sandstone features found along the trail. Look for arches, caves, and hoodoos as you hike towards the falls!

Campbell Falls, Connecticut

New England is notorious for it’s beautiful and aged forests, so it’s no wonder there are plenty of hidden waterfalls to find. Campbell Falls, near the town of Norfolk, is no exception. This easy hike-to is unique due to it’s “zig zag” cascading appearance, since the upper and lower falls land in opposite directions. It’s even possible to scramble up to the top of the lower falls to get up close and personal with the upper falls. Follow the quick, 30-minute hike from the trailhead on Campbell Falls Road. The nearest big city of Hartford is more than an hour away, so you know you’re in for a peaceful experience!

Mandy Burkholder is a travel, adventure, and outdoor writer who honed her craft in the foothills of the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado. After a stint in the Swiss Alps, she now resides in Tennessee. Follow her on twitter — @mandyburkhold3r