America's Most Beautiful Waterfalls You Can Actually Swim In

The only better feeling than enjoying the stunning views of the tons of water cascading over the edge of a cliff is if you can do it while swimming below these earthly wonders. Cool off in the most beautiful natural spots in the country. Some of the falls are still hidden gems, others are not easily accessible, but many have become very popular over the years, especially among locals. What all of them have in common is that they are well worth the quest to get to them. 

Havasu Falls, Arizona

The falls are especially popular with hikers. The blue green waterfalls in the Grand Canyon have a 100-foot chute flowing down red rock cliffs. You can get there either by a helicopter ride or by hiking for about 10 miles. The spectacular waterfalls and isolated community within the Havasupai Indian Reservation attract thousands of visitors each year, according to the NPS.

Carlon Falls, California

Carlon is about 35 feet high and roughly just as wide, with a pool at its base and a series of small cascades downstream, according to Yosemite Hikes. As the summer progresses, ferns and Indian Rhubarb along the river add to the hike's rural nature. You will almost always see swimmers and fishermen there. The best time to go is from May to September.

Little River Falls, Alabama

The 45-foot waterfall is one of the most scenic and most popular in the South. The amount of water going over the falls depends on the amount of rainfall, according to NPS. In the winter and early spring the water level is high. Kayakers love to go then. During the summer and early fall, the water level is much lower, which is when swimmers visit the beautiful area. The waterfall has been preserved in its natural state.

Jump Creek Falls, Idaho

This is "a surprising waterfall and lush riparian community filled with waterbirch and red osier dogwood trees," according to the Bureau of Land Management. The falls is about 50 feet high. It stands out due to the mix hanging, colorful, and narrow walls of Jump Creek Canyon, which surrounds the falls itself. The trail leading to the falls is a less than half a mile.

Cummins Falls, Tennessee

Locals have been coming to this incredible swimming hole for over a century. Cummins Falls is Tennessee's eighth largest waterfall in volume of water and is 75 feet high, according to TN State Parks. You may get in the water at the base of the waterfall. The gorge and waterfall accessed only by foot, but the effort is worth every effort along the steep one-mile hike.

McWay Falls, California

The 80-foot waterfall flows directly into the ocean. Getting there is easy – it takes a short scenic hike along a trail in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park which provides stunning both southern and northern Coastal views. This is close to the road near Big Sur. In fact, the most famous photos of Big Sur are with the falls seen from the trail.

Palouse Falls, Washington

Palouse Falls, an incredible waterfall for kayaking is at 189 feet – that is 17 feet higher than Niagara Falls. Palouse Falls remains as one of the magnificent and lasting remnants of the glacial floods, known as the Missoula Floods, at the end of the last ice age, according to the Washington Trails Association.

Alamere Falls, California

Imagine sunbathing next to a waterfall? Alamere Falls is a gorgeous waterfall deep within the Phillip Burton Wilderness. The falls cascades over a 30 foot tall cliff onto the south end of Wildcat Beach. It takes a 7-mile hike to get there. But that hasn't stopped visitors. Beware getting too close to cliff edges and be mindful of coastal erosion, the NPS says.

Pe'epe'e Falls, Hawaii

Pe'e Pe'e Falls, which is 60 feet high, is fed by the Wailuku River. The closer you get the more impressive it looks. Getting close requires a short hike down a hill and some rock skipping, according to Hawaii Guide. The multi-spouted falls fills up a small pool at the base. To swim in the pools, follow a trail from the side of the lookout point down to the river. Beware of mosquitoes. 

Stony Kill Falls, Delaware

This is a remarkable 87-foot high falls. A swimming hole can be found above the falls, but you can certainly cool off below as well. The waters flow off of a high ledge and down into shallow green pools. The falls is the town of Wawarsing, on the northwestern edge of the Minnewaska Preserve, on land that was acquired in 2001 by New York State.

Sawmill Falls, Oregon

The 30-foot Sawmill Falls are stunning but the hike that will get you there is equally amazing. You'll pass trees that are more than 5 centuries old, a river, forest and a mine shaft. Just follow the Opal Creek Trail, a very popular trail off of Highway 22, to the east of Salem.

Mooney Falls, Arizona

The Rim Trail may the most famous hike in the Grand Canyon National Park but Mooney Falls should be right up there. You will be descending through caves, down ladders and rocks until you get to the shoulder of a cliff looking at the almighty 200-foot waterfall. Continue going down to see deep pools, creeks, and green grape vines.

Hali'i Falls, Kauai, Hawaii

You will find the stunning falls deep in the jungle. You can only get to the multifaceted waterfall by hiking through a bamboo forest, which is an adventure in itself. Hali'i means "spread out," which is exactly what the waterfall looks like.

Pools of 'Ohe'o, Haleakala National Park, Hawaii

Ohe'o means "something special" and the falls certainly is. The popular tiered, swimmable pools located in Oheo Gulch are just 15 minutes south of Hana on Highway 31 on the lower slopes of Haleakala. The Pipiwai Trail, one of the best trails on the island, is nearby, according to Go Hawaii. It leads to the 400-foot Waimoku Falls.

Brandywine Falls, Ohio

Carved by Brandywine Creek, the 65-foot falls shows classic geological features of waterfalls, according to NPS. A layer of hard rock covers the waterfall, shielding softer layers of rock below. They include Bedford and Cleveland shales, which are soft rocks formed from mud found on the sea floor that covered this area 350-400 million years ago. Shale is finely chunked, giving water a veil-like appearance as it falls down.