These Under-the-radar Waterfalls Might Be America’s Best Kept Summer Secret

Burney Falls, California
Photo: Getty Images

Summer is the perfect time to get out into nature. Smell the air. Touch the trees. Stick those toes in the lake. And also, take a look at the natural beauty of the country’s most gorgeous and overlooked waterfalls. Sure, plenty of people love to visit Niagara Falls or Yosemite, but the United States has so much more to offer of the wondrous phenomenon, no matter what part of the country you live in. If, that is, you know where to look. If you are looking for some offbeat, hidden, or just more remote places to get out into nature this summer, you’re in luck. Gorgeous waterfalls can be found from the far Northeast to the Midwest to the middle of the desert. Take a look at some of these lesser known waterfalls spread out over the United States that are sure to make what's left of your summer extra refreshing.

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Rainbow Falls: Tennessee

Rainbow Falls, Tennessee
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The highest single-drop waterfall in the Smoky Mountains, Rainbow Falls gets its name from the rainbow you can catch there on sunny afternoons. Park officials, in contract, suggest hiking in the morning in order to get the best pictures and to visit after a few days of rain.

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Lower Calf Creek Falls: Utah

Lower Calf Creek Falls, Utah
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Located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which is known for being pretty barren, this 125-foot waterfall is a beautiful respite of blue and green standing out against the desert.

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Burney Falls: California

Burney Falls, California
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Even during the dry summer months, when most of California experiences drought, Burney Falls is flowing with 379 million liters of water per day. Here, you can get an incredible view of McArthur–Burney Falls Memorial State Park from the top of this 129-foot waterfall.

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Shoshone Falls: Idaho

Shoshone Falls, Idaho
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Shoshone Falls is a pretty good reason to visit Idaho. These falls are actually bigger than Niagara and come with the bonus of an unbeatable view of plateaus, rock formations, and trees.

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Campbell Falls: Connecticut

Campbell Falls, Connecticut
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There's no shortage of waterfalls in New England, but there's no other like Campbell Falls. Set apart by its peculiar zig-zag formation, created by the upper and lower falls landing in opposite directions, this is a serene area perfect for taking some fascinating Instagrams.

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Watson Falls: Oregon

Watson Falls, Oregon
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Few Oregon waterfalls are as peaceful as Watson, which stands at a height of 272-feet. It's also blissfully far away from the crowds of hikers and tourists in the area, even though it's less than a mile from the nearest parking area.

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Oneonta Gorge: Oregon

Oneonta Gorge, Oregon
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The .6-mile hike to the falls is quite special, mostly because there isn’t a trail. The river itself is the trail. So bring your swimsuit, because you’ll practically be swimming to the gorge.

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Latourell Falls: Oregon

Latourell Falls, Oregon
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These falls are the ultimate definition of nature at its best. The colorful area is partly due to the lush greenery and also in part due to the yellow basalt that you can find near the pool that the falls feed into.

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Upper Whitewater Falls: North Carolina

Upper Whitewater Falls, North Carolina
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If you want to see a truly impressive waterfall, get yourself to North Carolina. These 811-foot falls are truly stunning, and you’ll have a very good chance of catching a rainbow while you’re there. Plus, it’s only 60 miles from downtown Asheville.

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Morning Falls: Wyoming

Morning Falls, Wyoming
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Yes, even parts of Yellowstone National Park are “remote.” You’ll need to take a multi-day hike in the backcountry in order to reach Morning Falls. But, you’ll be rewarded with incredible sights of the massive cascade that's 60-feet high and 100-feet long.

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Palouse Falls: Washington

Palouse Falls, Washington
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Considered the "official waterfall of Washington State," Palouse Falls is located in Palouse Falls State Park. Home to an abundance of campsites, the area is calm and green in the summer, and the falls freeze over in the winter.

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Alamere Falls: California

Alamere Falls, California
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Two waterfalls side-by-side, Alamere Falls are technically "tidefalls," because they feed into the ocean. That said, these falls are even better, because you can enjoy the beach while you're there.

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Wailua Falls: Kauai, Hawaii

Wailua Falls, Kauai, Hawaii
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It’s not surprising that Hawaii has some of the most beautiful waterfalls. Kauai's Wailua Falls are no exception. These double-stream falls feed into a 30-foot pool and are surrounded by absolutely gorgeous scenery. It’s a little off the beaten path, but you’ll be reaping all of the benefits once you’re there.

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Havasupai Falls: Arizona

Havasupai Falls, Arizona
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Actually shocking, there are some amazing waterfalls in the middle of the desert. There are quite a few falls in the Grand Canyon, but Havasupai is particularly special among avid hikers. It’s a 10-mile hike each way to the falls’ vibrant blue-green waters, but you’ll be able to have a refreshing swim once you’re there.

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