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Four Waterfalls Worth a Road Trip

The United States offers a vast tapestry of natural beauty, from lush green valleys to expansive oceans to majestic mountaintops.

While fewer people are traveling this year, due to the impact of the novel coronavirus, America has breathtaking waterfalls that give the feel of being in a lush tropical paradise right in your own backyard!

Travel near or far to take a summer road trip to some of the country's most beautiful waterfall destinations.

1. Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Village, CA

At 2,425 feet, Yosemite Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in North America, according to the Discover Yosemite Park website.

Yosemite Falls is made up of three different waterfalls, according to information from the U.S. National Park Service website and includes the Upper Yosemite Falls, the middle cascades, and Lower Yosemite Falls. Upper Yosemite Falls is the tallest of the trio, at 1,430 feet, the middle cascades is 675 feet, and the Lower Yosemite Falls is 320 feet.

The falls flow from about November to July, with peak flows in May. In the winter, however, visitors can look for an ice cone at the base of the falls. The waterfalls are visible from several points in Yosemite Valley, and hikers can try the one-mile trail which leads to the base of Lower Yosemite Falls. Adventurous hikers can take an eight-hour trek to the top of Yosemite Falls for amazing views.

2. Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Ontario, Canada

The famed Niagara Falls, historically known as the Honeymoon Capital of the World, encompasses three different waterfalls, which straddles two countries.

The waterfalls are on the Niagara River, which connects two of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario.

The impressive Niagara Falls dates back to the Ice Age, when water was released from melting ice and drained into what is now called the Niagara River, according to the Niagara Falls State Park website.

Of the three waterfalls, the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are in the United States, in northern New York, and the Horseshoe Falls are in Canada.

Today, more than 3,000 tons of water flows over Niagara Falls every second, according to the state park website. The falls produce more than four million kilowatts of energy, which is used by the United States and Canada.

The Niagara Falls State Park, which encompasses 400 acres, about 140 acres of which is under water. It is the oldest state park in the United States. The falls are easily viewed from the park, including from hiking trails, via an observation tower, hiking trails, by boat, and more.

3. Ruby Falls, Chattanooga, TN

Want to witness an underground waterfall? Check out Ruby Falls, which according to the Ruby Falls website, is the tallest, deepest underground waterfall open to the public in the United States.

Ruby Falls is inside of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN, a mountain with a history that includes Native Americans, cave explorers, and outlaws, according to many others.

Lookout Mountain closed to the public in 1905 when the Southern Railroad Company constructed a tunnel along Lookout Mountain.

Leo Lambert, a local chemist, aimed to reopen the Lookout Mountain Cave to the public. He eventually bought the land above Ruby Falls. While excavating an elevator shaft in 1928, one of Lambert’s workers discovered Lookout Mountain Cave, while operating a jackhammer.

While exploring this cave, Lambert and his crew found a waterfall, known today as Ruby Falls.

In 1930, Ruby Falls, named for Lambert's wife, Ruby, opened to the public. Today, more than half a million people visit! Visitors travel 260 feet underground by elevator to see these falls.

4. Shosone Falls, Twin Falls, ID

Shosone Falls at 212-feet tall, 900-foot wide waterfall on the Snake River, is one of the largest natural waterfalls in the world, according to the Twin Falls, Idaho, website. While it is sometimes called the Niagara of the West, it's actually taller than Niagara Falls!

Spring is considered the best time to see the falls because of the impact of the winter snowpack melting.

During a year with heavy snowfall, flows can be upwards of 20,000 cubic feet per second.

The beautiful falls have drawn tourists from the mid-19th century, according to the website, when travelers would stray from the Oregon Trail to see the falls.

Shosone Falls is easy to access, and visitors can park as close as 75 feet away from the falls' main viewing platform.

However, hikers can also try the Canyon Rim Trail, a 12.6-mile out and back trail with a 1,053-foot elevation gain, available for walking or bike riding.

Enjoy the beautiful summer weather by viewing some of the country’s most stupendous natural sites.


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