Photo: Mumemories/Shutterstock

41 Photos of the World's Most Spectacular Waterfalls

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by Rory Moulton May 7, 2014

What is it about waterfalls that so enraptures the human imagination? Is it the sheer, humbling power they project? Is it the beauty they possess — like nature’s version of jewelry bedazzling the cliffs and rivers to which they cling?

Heck, maybe it’s just because they look so damn cool.

Whatever it is that keeps us coming back, feast your eyes on these 41 photos of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls.

Angel Falls, Venezuela

Angel Falls in morning light instagrammed waterfalls

Photo: Alice Nerr /Shutterstock

Salto Ángel, better known to English speakers as Angel Falls, is considered the highest in the world at 979 meters.

Dragon Falls, Venezuela

Another spectacular cascada from Venezuela in the same region as Angel Falls. 

Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Iceland

Photo: Cheng Yuan/Shutterstock

This picturesque 60m plunge has appeared on the likes of The Amazing Race. Hikers get a kick out of the trail that leads behind the falls.

Large Waterfall, Croatia

Photo: Artur Bogacki/Shutterstock

The creatively named Large Waterfall splits into many braids as it meanders through the Lower Lakes of Plitvice Lakes National Park. 

Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil

Iguassu Falls Argentina is a perfect destination for Scorpios

Photo: Nido Huebl/Shutterstock

There are 275 separate falls along this 2.7km stretch of the Iguazu River. Yeah, they’re awesome. 

Bridal Veil Falls, California

Yosemite at sunset as seen from the Tunnel View viewing point, showing the Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks and the Bridalveil Falls being lit by the setting sun. Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Photo: Jane Rix/Shutterstock”

Every year, millions of people behold the majesty of Bridal Veil Falls, the most prominent falls in the much-touristed Yosemite National Park.

Athirapally waterfalls, India

Photo: Sids/Shutterstock

If you can avert your gaze from these falls long enough, be on the lookout for endangered hornbill birds that live in the area.

Baatara Gorge waterfall, Lebanon

Photo: Luka Virag/Shutterstock

Discovered in 1952, it free falls over 255 meters behind three natural bridges into a cave of Jurassic limestone known as the Baatara Pothole.

Jog Falls, India

Jog Falls, Karnataka instagrammed waterfalls

Photo: rohitnair.photos/Shutterstock

Just two thin streams in dry season, the 253-meter Jog Falls goes ballistic during monsoon. 

Palouse Falls, Washington

palouse-falls-waterfalls-in-washington-state

Photo: kan_khampanya/Shutterstock

Thanks to forward-thinking locals who voted against building a hydroelectric dam on this site in 1984, Palouse remains one of Washington’s most beautiful falls.

Gullfoss, Iceland

Photo: Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock

This wide, staircase waterfall is most notable for its hidden “infinity” edge – the river seems to simply vanish into the earth.

El Chiflon, Mexico

Photo: Rubi Rodriguez Martinez/Shutterstock

The “Big Whistle” is actually two waterfalls that are equally impressive during dry season as they are during rainy season. 

Voringfossen, Norway

Photo: 1Photographer/Shutterstock

Owing to its relative easy access between Oslo and Bergen, Voringfossen is Norway’s most famous falls despite only being the 83rd largest in this waterfall-spoiled country. 

Barron Falls, Australia

Photo: Tracey Jones Photography/Shutterstock

Only a trickle for much of the year, the Barron Falls roar after a hearty rainy-season downpour.

Nohkalikai Falls, India

Photo: Vikz Window/Shutterstock

It’s no surpise that one of the wettest places on Earth produces the largest plunge waterfall on the subcontinent.

Elakala Waterfalls, West Virginia

Photo: Richard345/Shutterstock

These wonderfully photogenic falls are actually four different waterfalls that comprise Shays Run in Blackwater Canyon. 

Salto Grande, Chile

Photo: oryx/Shutterstock

Sunrise over the Salto Grande cascades with the Cuernos del Paine mountains in the background.

Yosemite Falls, California

yosemite amtrak trip

Photo: Stephen Moehle/Shutterstock

One of the most photogenic falls in California’s Yosemite National Park, and that’s saying a lot.

Sunwapta Falls, Canada

Photo: Mumemories/Shutterstock

Sunwapta is an indigenous word meaning turbulent. I think they nailed it.

South Falls, Oregon

Photo: Anderl/Shutterstock

Beautiful colors, the lush natural forest, and sometimes mystical fog all combine in Silver Falls State Park, where you’ll find South Falls.

Basaseachi Falls, Mexico

Photo: Antonio Jacome/Shutterstock

Every spring and summer, two streams merge in the woods above and plunge 246 meters over a sheer cliff face.

Wall of Tears, Hawaii

Photo: YegoroV/Shutterstock

You’ll find as many as 17 waterfalls cascading down the lush tropical cliffs.

Cascata delle Marmore, Italy

Photo: MilaCroft/Shutterstock

The only manmade waterfall on the list, Marmore was built by the Romans in 271 BCE by diverting the Velino River. This masterful feat of engineering solved the problem of malarial wetlands near the city of Rieti but caused massive flooding in nearby Terni. Oops.

Yellowstone Falls, Wyoming

hiking in yellowatone best time to visit

Photo: HTurner/Shutterstock

The largest volume waterfalls in the Rocky Mountains were known to Native American tribes for centuries but not seen by a European until the early 1800s.

Tad Sae falls, Laos

Photo: WeStudio/Shutterstock

Next time you find yourself in Laos during rainy season, grab an inner tube and head to Tad Sae, about 12 miles outside Luang Prabang.

Silverthread Falls, Pennsylvania

Photo: Lydia B/Shutterstock

Find this little slice in the Keystone State’s awesomely named Dingman’s Ferry.

Wallaman Falls, Australia

Photo: Dasun R/Shutterstock

Find this dramatic 268-meter falls in Girringun National Park and be one of 100,000 that visit it annually.

Tegenungan waterfall, Bali

Rear view of young woman standing in front of waterfall with her hands raised. Female tourist with her arms outstretched looking at waterfall., bali on a budget

Photo: Cocos.Bounty/Shutterstock

Near the village of Kemenuh, the cool, crystal-clear water is perfect for swimming.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls by Benson Bridge at Columbia River Gorge Oregon in Spring Season waterfall instagram

Photo: Thye-Wee Gn/Shutterstock

Two falls totaling 189 meters run all year round.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Photo: Eva Mont/Shutterstock

Victoria forms the “largest sheet of falling water in the world.” Its extent is so great that it helps to have a view from the air (below).

Victoria Falls, Zambia

Photo: Danita Delimont/Shutterstock

Yinlianzhuitan waterfall, China

Though not as large as the nearby Huangguoshu waterfall (below), Yinlianzhuitan makes the list for one reason: this sweet pic.

Huangguoshu waterfall, China

Photo: 4045/Shutterstock

Located along the Baishu River, the “Yellow-Fruit Tree Waterfalls” is one of the largest in China.

Glacial waterfall in Queulat National Park, Chile

Photo: Iurii Borisoff/Shutterstock

Sensitive environmentalists, avert your eyes. This one might as well be taken straight from a climate change poster.

Huka Falls, New Zealand

Photo: T.Visual/Shutterstock

Huka is famous for its massive volume of water, not its height. A trip by jetboat to the mouth is a closeup lesson in raw power.

Sutherland Falls, New Zealand

Photo: Piu Piu/Shutterstock

The second-tallest waterfall in NZ drops an astounding 580 meters.

Niagara Falls, USA/Canada

flights to toronto from nyc - niagara falls

Photo: Jam Norasett/Shutterstock

Niagara needs no introduction, but just like Victoria, its true scope can only be appreciated from the air (below).

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Photo: anderm/Shutterstock

Tad Fan twin waterfalls, Laos

Photo: Matyas Rehak/Shutterstock

Twin chutes of water plummet into a jungle gorge just beyond the balconies of the Tad Fane resort.

Takakkaw Falls, Canada

Photo: Pavel Tvrdy/Shutterstock

Takakkaw is one of the star attractions of British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. 

Kaieteur Falls, Guyana

guyana

Photo: Gail Johnson/Shutterstock

Though neither the tallest nor the widest, Kaieteur’s combination of height and volume makes it one of the world’s most powerful falls. 

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