The 16 Most Epic Waterfalls In The World

Frozen Niagara Falls at night, 2014
Frozen Niagara Falls at night, 2014 | © Elvir K/Flickr
Marcelina Morfin

Mother Nature is a wonderful thing, creating natural marvels in varying forms from deserts to rain forests, and anything in between. Of course, there are also spectacular, roaring waterfalls, with their powerful waters plummeting over vertical drops, creating breathtakingly beautiful sights you won’t soon forget. From big and not so big to year-round and seasonal varieties, here is Culture Trip’s list (in no particular order) of the most epic waterfalls found around the world.

1. Sutherland Falls – New Zealand


Sutherland Falls – New Zealand

Located in New Zealand’s South Island in the Fiordland National Park, Sutherland Falls is an incredible natural beauty named after the explorer Donald Sutherland. This waterfall features three drops for a total of 1,904 feet (580 meters), making it one of the highest waterfalls in the world. Visitors can hike to the base of the falls – via Milford Track – where they will be greeted by a breathtaking, albeit misty, view and the roaring sound of the water cascading downward.
Sutherland Falls, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Sutherland Falls | © Javier Sánchez Portero/WikiCommons

2. Plitvice Waterfalls – Croatia

Plitvice Waterfalls | © tangentbeta/Pixabay
© tangentbeta/Pixabay

Plitvice Waterfalls – Croatia

The Plitvice Waterfalls are located throughout the Plitvice Lakes National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – in Croatia, and they are a sight to behold. Crystal clear waters flow through verdant woodland terrain and over limestone and chalk cliffs and deposit into stunning lakes, of which there are 16. The fauna is just as impressive with bears, deer, wolves and rare birds. The park is open to the public, with entrance fees varying on the time of year and age group.
Plitvice Waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Plitvice Waterfalls | © tangentbeta/Pixabay

3. Dettifoss – Iceland


Dettifoss – Iceland

Found in Vatnajökull National Park in the northeast portion of Iceland, Dettifoss is a dramatic waterfall measuring 45 meters high (147.6 feet) and 100 meters in width (328 feet). Deemed the most powerful waterfall in Europe, with about 500 cubic meters of water rushing over the edge every second, this nature-made masterpiece is accessible via the west or east side, but is important to stay on the tracks provided.
Dettifoss, Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland

Dettifoss | © Anita Ritenour/Flickr

5. Yosemite Falls – California, USA

Hiking Trail, Natural Feature

5. Yosemite Falls – California, USA
© David Wall / Alamy Stock Photo
The Yosemite National Park in California is home to many stunning waterfalls; however, Yosemite Falls is the tallest at 2,425 feet (739.1 meters), making it one of the most spectacular sites. To see the waterfall in all its glory, be sure to visit April through June when the water flow is at its strongest. One of the great things about Yosemite Falls is that it is accessible to anyone – the eastern side is wheelchair user accessible.

6. Kaieteur Falls – Guyana


Kaieteur Falls – Guyana

Kaieteur Falls is found in the Kaieteur National Park in Guyana, and it is a beast of a waterfall. This natural wonder is 741 feet high (226 meters), so it’s not as tall as some others on this list; however, it is the highest single-drop waterfall in the world. Adding to the impressiveness is the width, which varies from 250-400 feet (76-122 meters), plus the gorgeous thick verdant surroundings. A fascinating piece of information: due to the force of the waterfall, there is a perpetual hurricane at the base.
Kaieteur Falls, Kaieteur National Park, Guyana

Kaieteur Falls | © David Stanley/Flickr

7. Angel Falls – Venezuela


Angel Falls – Venezuela

Also known as the ‘El Salto Ángel,’ Angel Falls is located in an isolated portion of the Canaima National Park in southeastern Venezuela and is named after Jimmy Angel – an American pilot who flew over the area and attempted to land on the plateau. This magical beauty is the tallest waterfall on the planet, rising up 3,212 feet (979 meters), whose mighty waters spills over the flat-topped plateau known as Devils Mountain, or Auyán-Tepuí.
Angel Falls, Bolívar, Venezuela

Angel Falls | © David Kjelkerud/Flickr

8. Niagara Falls – Canada/USA

Niagara Falls – Canada/USA

Niagara Falls comprises three waterfalls – Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls – that are located on the USA and Canadian borders. While it may not be as big as other waterfalls on this list, there is no doubt that it is one of the most popular waterfalls in the world. Not only do millions of visitors flock in droves to Niagara Falls each year, but this nature-made beauty also attracts movie and TV sets, and inspires music, literature and art.
Niagara Falls, Canada & USA

9. Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe/Zambia

Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe/Zambia

Located on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia in southern Africa, Victoria Falls is so powerful that its sound can be heard from 40 kilometers (24.8 miles) away, and its beautiful, iridescent mist can be seen from 20 kilometers (12.4 miles)! A UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the waterfall being ‘the most impressive to be found anywhere in the world,’ Victoria Falls, fed by the Zambezi River, is two kilometers (1.25 miles) wide and cascades 108 meters (354 feet). While incredible any time of the year, visit during February and March to see it at its best.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia

Victoria Falls | © Alessandro/Flickr

10. Iguazu Falls – Brazil/Argentina

Natural Feature

iguazu falls
© jozef sedmak / Alamy Stock Photo
Also known as the Iguassu Falls or Igauçu Falls, the Iguazu Falls are located on the border of Argentina and Brazil. Its majestic raw beauty stuns everyone who visits. The heart of the falls is known as Devil’s Throat, a powerful portion of 14 waterfalls that is 150 meters (490 feet) wide and 700 meters (2,296.5 feet) long. Be aware: when visiting Iguazu Falls, you will get wet!

11. Pearl Shoal Waterfall – China


Pearl Shoal Waterfall | © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas/CC-BY-SA-3.0/WikiCommons
© CEphoto, Uwe Aranas/CC-BY-SA-3.0/WikiCommons

Pearl Shoal Waterfall – China

Situated in the northern Sichuan Province in southwestern China, Pearl Shoal Waterfall is a picturesque natural scene that is sure to take your breath away. The width of the waterfall at the top is 533 feet, or 162.5 meters while it plummets for 130 feet, or 40 meters. Nestled in the lush forested landscape of the Jiuzhai Valley National Park, the surrounding area is also home to incredible flora and fauna, including giant pandas and golden monkeys.
Pearl Shoal Waterfall, Jiuzhai Valley National Park, China

Pearl Shoal Waterfall | © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas/CC-BY-SA-3.0/WikiCommons

12. Palouse Falls – Washington


Palouse Falls – Washington

Located in the USA’s Pacific Northwest, Palouse Falls is known as ‘the official waterfall of Washington State.’ There are hiking trails all around of varying degrees of skill sets, making it a great destination to take the entire family. Tucked inside the state park of the same name, Palouse Falls is surrounded by basalt cliffs over which it cascades 198 feet (60 meters). The falls are at their peak during spring and the early part of summer.
Palouse Falls, Palouse Falls State Park, Washington, USA

Palouse Falls | © Ramanathan Kathiresan/Flickr

13. Taughannock Falls – New York


Taughannock Falls | © Joe Pitha/Flickr
© Joe Pitha/Flickr

Taughannock Falls – New York

Another waterfall found in a state park of the same name, Taughannock Falls is a scenic attraction located in New York. The falls, whose shear force has cut through the sandstone, shale and limestone area over the years, plummets 215 feet (65 meters), creating a gorgeous sight. The park itself is a great spot for fun adventures for the entire family, including picnic sites, camping, and a playground.
Taughannock Falls, Taughannock Falls State Park, New York, USA

Taughannock Falls | © jpitha/Flickr

14. Ban Gioc-Detian Falls – China/Vietnam

Ban Gioc-Detian Falls – China/Vietnam

The Ban Gioc-Detian Falls are two waterfalls that straddle the borders of China and Vietnam. Together, they create a dazzling display of mother nature at her finest and one of the largest waterfalls in Asia, with a width of 200 meters (656 feet) and a drop of 70 meters (229.6 feet) over three separate tiers. Adding to the charm are the karst peaks and green, lush surrounds.
Ban Gioc-Detian Falls, China & Vietnam

Ban Gioc-Detian Falls | © jankgo/Flickr

15. Tugela Falls – South Africa


Tugela Falls – South Africa

Located in South Africa in the Royal Natal National Park, Tugela Falls is one of the highest in the world. These waterfalls are made more prominent after heavy rainfall when up to 18 separate waterfalls may appear, making the view all the more impressive. If you happen to visit during the winter, the falls often turn to ice, creating a whole unique scene.
Tugela Falls, Royal Natal National Park, South Africa

Tugela Falls | © Andynct/WikiCommons

16. Baatara Gorge Waterfall – Lebanon

Baatara Gorge Waterfall | © Eli+/WikiCommons
© Eli+/WikiCommons

Baatara Gorge Waterfall – Lebanon

The Baatara Gorge Waterfall is truly a unique and impressive sight. Located in Tannourine, Lebanon, the winter water carved this natural limestone wonder over millions of years – a stunning creation like no other. The waterfall, which is an estimated height of 255 meters (837 feet), drops behind three nature-made bridges into a cave. This is a seasonal waterfall that dazzles everyone in March and April.
Baatara Gorge Waterfall, Lebanon

Baatara Gorge Waterfall | © Eli+/WikiCommons

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