Waterfalls You Need To See In This Lifetime

Waterfalls You Need To See in This Lifetime

A waterfall is defined as an area in a stream or river where running water falls down from a high place such as over the side of a cliff. Words like breathtaking, otherworldly, awe-inspiring and majestic should be added to this simplistic description. Cascades can occasionally be dangerous if you choose to run them, an extreme sport that is not for every paddler. For the most part, though, they are gorgeous. Seeing them roar up close or from a distance should be on every traveler's bucket list.

Yosemite Falls, California

Yosemite Falls is one of the tallest in the world at 2,425 feet. The water flows approximately November through July, with peak flow in May. [See: Most Spectacular National Parks to Visit this Spring] Look for the ice cone at the base of the upper fall during winter and for roaring runoff April through June, the NPS says. The waterfall is actually made up of three separate falls: Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet), and Lower Yosemite Fall (320 feet).

Plitvice Falls, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park, a dangerous place to take selfies, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is famous for its 16 terraced lakes that are joined by waterfalls. The waters have flown over the limestone and chalk for thousands of years, creating natural dams which have formed some of the most spectacular lakes, caves and waterfalls.

Iguazu Falls, bordering Brazil and Argentina

Iguazu Falls is not like any waterfall you can imagine. Spanning 1.6 miles, it is made of 275 waterfalls or cataracts. Exploring them by foot or hopping on a boat to experience Iguazu by water is an absolute thrill. You can actually get very close to the waterfall. Walk over the many wooden footbridges that are elevated over the Iguazu River to see amazing falls, magnificent panoramas and even a rainbow.

Victoria Falls, bordering Zimbabwe and Zambia

This is one of the greatest attractions in all of Africa. Victoria Falls is classified as the world's largest sheet of falling water with a width of 5,604 feet and height of 354 feet. Spray from the falling water can be seen miles away during the wet season. You can go on the wildest one-day whitewater trip in the world. The trip from Victoria Falls to about 17 miles downstream is a mixture of huge flows, water around 80 degrees, and significant drops, followed by a mile of flatwater.

Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil, Oregon

This magnificent 611-foot-tall attraction is just about half an hour away from Portland. The Multnomah Falls, which does not dry up in the summer unlike many other waterfalls, is an awe-inspiring cascade of icy water. Native American folklore says that Multnomah Falls was created to win the heart of a young princess who wanted a hidden place to bathe. See it from the Benson Bridge for an ideal view of the top tier's full 542-foot height and a knee-wobbling vantage point over the second tier's 69-foot drop.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfalls, Iceland

If you want to see many breathtaking waterfalls in a small amount of time, go to Iceland. The country is full of them. You can actually walk behind this almost 200-foot stunning waterfall. This photo is taken during the incredible sunset at about 1 a.m.

Kaieteur Falls, Guyana

You'll be glad you made the trip to see the Kaieteur Falls. It stands 820 feet tall, making, according to some, the the world's highest single-drop falls. The best time to see it is after a rainy day when the 30,000 gallons of water will be in full flow. Depending on the season, the falls can be about 370 feet wide. The plateau that allowed this waterfall to possess its mammoth drop, the Guyana Shield, was the oldest layer of rock on the earth's surface at 2.99 billion years.

Bigar Waterfall, Romania

It looks like a liquid veil from a fairytale. [See: Postcard-Perfect European Villages Straight Out of a Fairytale] Bigar, located in the Anina Mountains on the Mini River, is only about 26 feet tall. What makes it enigmatic is the water falling over an unusual and vivid green carpet of moss, creating some fascinating patterns. Locals call it "the miracle from the Minis Canyon."

Angel Falls (Salto Ángel), Venezuela

Angel Falls, the highest waterfall on Earth, is 3,230 feet in height with a vertical drop of 2,647 feet. Since it's located in a jungle, it is only accessible by river from June to December, when the river is deep enough for boat travel. You'll also have to hike through the jungle for about five hours. Angel Falls is one of the most insane BASE jumping destinations. Be prepared for a very intense jump, as seen in this video.

Palouse Falls in 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.

Detian Waterfall, bordering China and Vietnam

Detian Waterfall is the largest transnational waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest transnational waterfall in the world, according to China Highlights. "In the spring, the fiery-red kapoks peculiar to the south scatter around the waterfall and make it more beautiful." The Detian waterfall, divided into three layers, has the largest water flow in the summer.

Dudhsagar Waterfall, India

The superb Dudhsagar Waterfall, measuring at a mighty 1,968 feet is soaring in the high peaks of the Western Ghats. Try to see it during the monsoon season when it is in full and furious flow. The falls' name literally means "sea of milk," perhaps because when seen from a distance, the waterfall appears like streams of milk rushing down the mountainside.

Wall of Tears, Hawaii

About 17 waterfalls flow into the Wall of Tears, according to H Tours Hawaii. The wall is located at 165 feet on the island of Maui. Wall of tears,  is known to be the second wet surface in the world. Visitors need to book a helicopter to see the majestic views of the waterfalls flowing down. A legend has it that gods punched their fingers all over the surface of the cliffs to get a picture of expressing grief.

Murchison Waterfalls, Uganda

Some people on TripAdvisor call it "the world's most powerful waterfall." [See: Craziest Adventures to Check Off Before You Die] That's because the wide Victoria Nile River is basically squeezed into a 20-foot cascade at the base of the 100-foot falls. Murchison Falls, also known as Kabarenga Falls, is one of Uganda's most famous tourist destinations. People love to go on trips there also because they get the rare opportunity to see a powerful waterfall and big game wildlife in one trip.

Nuorilang Waterfall, Sichuan, China

Lying on the highest tableland in the world, Jiuzhaigou Valley, a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site, covers altitudes ranging from 6,561 feet to about 14,107 feet, according to Travel China Guide. There are a lot of lake groups and waterfalls. Nuorilang Waterfall is the widest one. It is about 105 feet wide and 82 feet tall. The name means "rand and magnificent' in Tibetan."

Kirkjufell, Iceland

Kirkjufellsfoss, which means "Church Mountain Falls" is short – just about 16 feet – but very well-situated waterfall near the distinctive Kirkjufell mountain on the north side of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Photographers love it because of the way it reflects in the inlet. The falls also has several levels and the water is channeled into three separate spouts, providing plenty of chances for unique photos. Visit during the Northern Lights season for even more otherworldly views.

Stirling Falls, New Zealand

Stirling Falls is one of permanent waterfalls on the Milford Sound, a famous fiord in South Island. [See: Why You Should Travel to New Zealand Now] The falls drops more than 500 feet below a hanging valley. The waters flow from mountain glaciers. You can see the fall by kayak, boat (and you may even see dolphins) or a helicopter.

Niagara Falls, between U.S. and Canada

Straddling the U.S.-Canada border, Niagara Falls is home to some of the best known waterfalls on Earth. Formed by receding glaciers at the end of the last ice age, this natural wonder is composed of three separate falls: Horseshoe Falls (which is the largest and most powerful of the three), the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall on the continent.

Ayers Rock (Uluru), Australia

This is probably the most iconic destination in all of Australia. Uluru is an enormous sandstone rock that is about 1,140 feet high. The best time to be there is at sunrise or sunset when the sun is reflected off its surface. When it rains, most often between November and March, famous monolith is covered with innumerable streams of water that changes the very color of Ayers Rock to a rare shade of violet. Only 1 percent of visitors  get to witness the waterfalls flowing from the rock.