Graphic drawing of a moose standing in waterfall pool
Waterfall artwork produced by Dennis Caldwell for the National Park Service.

Characterized by a river or other body of water's steep fall over a rocky ledge into a plunge pool below, waterfalls are often focal points of beauty and inspiration. The process of erosion plays an important part in the formation of waterfalls. However, they can also form as a result of an earthquake, landslide, glacier, or volcanic activity that disrupts a stream bed.

From plunging to cascading, there are national natural landmarks designated for their outstanding illustration of the different types of waterfalls. Some of these include:

Dismals, AL
Burney Falls, CA
Gulf Hagas, ME
Nancy Brook Virgin Spruce Forest and Scenic Area, NH
Great Falls of Paterson-Garrett Mountain, NJ
Tinkers Creek Gorge, OH
Nay Aug Park Gorge and Waterfall, PA
The Glens Natural Area, PA
Piney Falls, TN

Last updated: January 28, 2022


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