10 Lakes with Breathtaking Water Cliffs and Waterfalls | LakeWizard

Key Takeaways

  • Explore lakes that blend aquatic serenity with cliffside thrills.
  • Discover a range of majestic lakes, from Oregon's gem to the vastness of Lake Superior.
  • Insights backed by rigorous research ensure you're privy to the best in natural beauty.

Have you ever stood on the edge of serenity, where water meets sky in a dramatic cascade?

Magnificent lakes with breathtaking cliffs and waterfalls offer more than just a view; they're a full sensory immersion into nature's grandeur.

Imagine the symphony of water thundering down a sheer cliff face or the silent magnificence of a deep, tranquil lake surrounded by rocky grandeur.

Each lake on our journey is a chapter in Earth's geological narrative, offering a tapestry of ecological splendor and geological might.

From the sheer plunges of water to the deep, crystalline blues, these water bodies enthrall with their spectacle and stories.

Picture Oregon's Crater Lake with its mesmerizing deep blue waters, or Lake Superior’s rugged shores, guarded by tall cliffs and echoing with the sounds of crashing waves.

Trusting your guide in this journey means accessing insights and marvels to enrich your next adventure.

Our list is backed by research and a passion for unearthing the splendors dotting our planet.

It's not just about rattling off names; it's about bringing these natural wonders to life, exploring each lake's unique backdrop and the drama of cliffs and falls that define them.

So grab your travel notebook, and let's see which stunning locations made the cut!

Table of contents


Crater Lake, Oregon

Have you ever gazed upon water so clear and blue it takes your breath away?

Look no further than Crater Lake in Oregon, a true natural wonder with cliffs that could make your heart skip a beat.

Being the deepest lake in the United States, you won't be able to peel your eyes away from its mesmerizing depths.

Plaikni Falls and Vidae Falls are among the picturesque waterfalls you can spot cascading into the lake.

Imagine the sound of water tumbling down as you take in the sights:

  • Plaikni Falls: Just a 2-mile easy hike away, with a gentle incline of 130 feet, this waterfall offers a perfect family-friendly adventure.
  • Vidae Falls: For more of a scenic drive-by experience, Vidae Falls is your go-to. It's one of those rare natural spectacles that doesn't require a hike. Simply enjoy the view from the road.

Now, if you're feeling a bit more athletic, the nearby trails provide ample opportunity to stretch your legs.

The 2-mile Cleetwood Cove Trail, with an elevation gain of 620 feet, is a fantastic choice for those who want a moderate challenge paired with stunning vistas.

Don't forget, summer here is a bustling time.

If you're planning to take a dip and revel in the clear waters, you'll be in good company.

Ready for some spectacular cliff jumping?

It's a favorite way to enjoy the lake when the weather's warm.

Just remember to stay safe and regard the natural environment with respect.

In a nutshell, bring your camera, pack a lunch, and wear comfortable shoes.

Trust me, your memories of Crater Lake's majestic cliffs and lovely waterfalls are going to be as deep and vivid as the lake itself!

Lake Superior, Minnesota/Wisconsin/Michigan

Have you ever stood beside a giant, felt the mist on your face from a plunging waterfall, and watched the sun play upon cliffs towering above you?

Welcome to Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake by surface area, sprawling over an awe-inspiring 31,700 square miles.

Fancy a trip to somewhere both vast and vibrant?

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore beckons with its sandstone cliffs etching the horizon.

It's where colors and textures come together to create a masterpiece that only Mother Nature could paint.

Why not gaze up at these mighty cliffs by boat, or hike a trail for panoramic views that will leave your Instagram followers in awe?

Don't think we forgot about waterfalls!

Minnesota's own Gooseberry Falls State Park invites you with open arms.

Imagine the soothing sounds of cascading water at one of the park's many falls, where the water's journey ends in Lake Superior’s embrace.

If you're yearning for a peaceful yet majestic encounter with nature, here's where your compass should point:

  1. Size: 31,700 square miles
  2. Things to Do:
  1. Boat tours along Pictured Rocks
  2. Hiking and photo ops at sandstone cliffs
  3. Gooseberry Falls State Park exploration

Ever pictured a waterfall that dives right into a lake from a 70-foot cliff?

While tales of shipwrecks and forgotten tales lay beneath these waters, your focus will be the raw beauty above.

Lake Superior isn't shy about showing off its wild side.

So, are you ready to answer its call?

Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Ever peered over a cliff with the wind in your hair, gazing at a shimmering lake below?

Lake Tahoe is just that kind of thrill.

Straddling California and Nevada, it's like nature's masterpiece, boasting crystal-clear waters and majestic cliffs.

Have you ever heard of Eagle Falls?

With a moderate hike leading to it, the falls cascade into the sapphire depth of Tahoe.

The trail is short but sweet, at just 2.5 miles, and rewards you with a view you'll want to brag about.

But wait, there's more!

Catching sight of Cascade Falls feels like stumbling on a secret.

It's a spectacular show of gravity as the water rushes down from craggy heights, framed by the evergreens and the wide sky.

You don't have to be an experienced hiker to enjoy these wonders.

Pack a picnic and your sense of adventure, and you're set for a day of exploration.

Remember to take plenty of water and your camera – with views this good, you'll want to remember them.

Incidentally, the adventure doesn't end at waterfalls:

  • Angora Lakes – A duo of alpine lakes just a hop away from South Lake Tahoe, inviting for a refreshing swim or paddle.
  • Hikes with lake views – Trails like the one connecting D.L. Bliss State Park and Emerald Bay State Park hug the shoreline, offering perspectives of Tahoe that'll make your heart skip a beat.

And if you're wondering about the best time to visit, summer is the jackpot.

The weather's warm, the trails are calling, and Lake Tahoe's water cliffs and falls are in full, mesmerizing motion.

Shasta Lake, California

Ever found yourself daydreaming about a place where water cascades down magnificent cliffs right into pristine waters?

Well, pack your bags because Shasta Lake in California is your dream come true!

Now, imagine this: you're cruising along the lake, and there—amidst the towering pines and flourishing greenery—are waterfalls that look like they've been painted into the landscape just for you.

Why Shasta Lake, you ask?


It's home to some pretty impressive waterfalls.

Take McCloud Falls, for instance.

Not just one, but three drops in a single location!

Here's the scoop:

  • Lower Falls: A spot perfect for a refreshing dip, and it's super family-friendly.
  • Middle Falls: Gear up for the most powerful and photogenic of the trio.
  • Upper Falls: Secluded and serene, it's a reward for those who venture a bit further.

It doesn't stop there, though.

Heard of Potem Falls?

It’s tucked away, with a 70-foot plunge that’s a sight to behold.

You’re in for a bit of a hike to reach it, but trust me, it’s worth every step.

What makes Shasta Lake special?

It’s enveloped by towering mountains and, of course, this is waterfalls central.

Whether you’re a hiker, a photographer, or just someone looking to chill, these falls are a treat for the senses.

  • Distance to Falls: 10-15 minute hike; it’s practically a stone's throw away!
  • Waterfall Views: Unbeatable. Pack a camera or regret it forever.

And the cherry on top?

You're in prime territory for some kayaking, fishing, or just blissfully floating on the water.

So come experience the rush of the Shasta Lake waterfalls.

Trust me, it's the splash of adventure you've been looking for!

Watkins Glen State Park, New York

Have you ever imagined wandering through a place so enchanting that it feels like stepping into a storybook?

If so, Watkins Glen State Park in New York's Finger Lakes region might be the page you're looking to turn.

This isn't just a walk in the park; it's an adventure through a geological masterpiece carved by nature's own handiwork.

Why is Watkins Glen State Park such a big deal?

Well, let's tally up the wonders:

  • 19 Waterfalls: Each turn and climb along the 2-mile gorge reveals a new cascade, more beautiful than the last.
  • 400 feet descent: That's how much the stream drops as you progress through the park. The elevation change adds a thrilling dynamic to your journey.
  • 200-foot Cliffs: Towering above Glen Creek, these cliffs are a dramatic backdrop for the waterfalls.

The trail itself is a marvel of design, winding over and beneath waterfalls—like the misty thrill of Cavern Cascade—giving you a chance to feel the cool spray and hear the water's soothing roar.

Ever heard of the term "potholes" outside of driving woes?

Here, they are circular cavities in the rock, sculpted by swirling pebbles and water over millennia—a geological feature that adds to the park's allure.

Now, you won't find Watkins Glen sitting right on a lake, but it's cozily tucked nearby Seneca Lake.

It's a perfect example of how a place doesn't need to be lakefront to be a spectacular water feature.

Thinking about when to visit?

Each season offers a different palette of sensations, but remember, the park's popularity is no secret—so plan your trip to avoid the peak crowds for a more serene experience.

Don't forget to check the entrances: Main Entrance, South Entrance, and Upper Entrance, each offering distinct access points to this nature-made wonder.

So, grab your hiking boots, and let the mesmerizing pull of Watkins Glen State Park lead you on a journey you won't soon forget.

Ready for the trip of a lifetime?

Lake Ouachita, Arkansas

Have you ever heard the splash of water cascading down a lush, green cliff?

At Lake Ouachita, you get an earful of that soothing sound, coupled with breathtaking views.

Nestled in the Ouachita National Forest, this lake isn't just Arkansas's largest—it's a treasure trove of natural beauty.

Think pristine waters and peaceful vibes.

Imagine kayaking over 40,000 acres of the cleanest lake in the country.

Did you know that Lake Ouachita is so clear and clean because it's vigilantly looked after?

That's right, you're floating on a well-preserved gem.

  • Outdoor Fun: Grab your fishing rod—bream, crappie, and largemouth bass are calling your name. Not a fan of fishing? No problem! Dive into swimming, boating, or even scuba diving.
  • Water Cliffs & Waterfalls: Embark on a trail to discover the area's waterfalls. From Little Missouri Falls to Cedar Creek Falls, these waters make a grand entrance into the lake's tributaries, offering spectacular scenes you'll definitely want to snap a photo of.

And let's chat about hiking!

Are you up for a bit of a challenge?

Eagle Rock Loop will test your mettle with an elevation gain of 3,877 ft.

Prefer something a bit more easy-going?

Lake Sylvia to Crystal Prong Creek is gentler at 3,540 ft, but no less beautiful.

Remember, whether you're a seasoned adventurer or just looking to unwind, Lake Ouachita's got you covered with both thrills and tranquility.

So, pack up your gear, bring along your sense of wonder, and don't forget your camera.

Ready to explore one of Arkansas's finest?

Lake Ouachita awaits!

Lake Cumberland, Kentucky

Ever stumbled upon a spot so awe-inspiring you had to pinch yourself?

Welcome to Lake Cumberland, Kentucky’s crowned jewel for nature enthusiasts and waterfall chasers like you!

Imagine boating on a crisp morning, turning a corner, and suddenly, there it is—a cascading waterfall, sunlight hitting the spray, rainbow included.

Sounds like a dream, right?

Alright, let's talk specifics.

Yahoo Falls, standing tall at 113 feet, isn't just another trickle in the woods—it’s the tallest waterfall in Kentucky.

Now that's something you don’t see every day!

It’s tucked away in Whitley City and, trust me, absolutely worth checking off your bucket list.

But wait—there’s more!

Hidden gems sprinkle the lake’s vast landscape:

  • Seventy-Six Falls: Named after the historical first town of Seventy Six, KY, this fall is not just a sight to behold but a piece of history.
  • Mystery Falls: Shrouded in as much intrigue as its name suggests, it's 54 feet of pure beauty accessible by boat. Perfect for an adventure, don’t you think?

Fancy a trip on the water?

Lake Cumberland is not called the Houseboating Capital for nothing.

Imagine cruising to different waterfalls, fishing rod in one hand, camera in the other.

Remember Cumberland Falls, nicknamed the "Niagara of the South"?

Just upstream of Lake Cumberland on the Cumberland River, it's a massive, roaring reminder that Kentucky's natural wonders stand second to none.

With this lake's water cliffs and waterfalls, every selfie you take is postcard-worthy, and every moment spent is a memory locked in for life.

Don’t forget your waterproof gear—you’re about to get splashed with the best kind of Kentucky charm!

Lake Powell, Arizona/Utah

Ever imagined kayaking through waters with cliffs towering overhead, where nature’s artwork is boldly splashed across the landscape?

That's Lake Powell for you!

Spanning the Arizona-Utah border, this massive man-made reservoir isn't just a feast for the eyes; it's a playground for the adventurous.

Imagine paddling or boating across nearly 2,000 miles of shoreline.

You’ll find yourself surrounded by red rock cliffs and sandstone formations, making the views simply irresistible.

Got your camera ready?

You wouldn't want to miss snapping a few shots of this masterpiece!

Now, get this — after a rainstorm, the area around Rainbow Bridge National Monument reveals hidden gems: waterfalls.

Sure, you're there to kayak, but who says you can’t enjoy a little surprise from mother nature?

Keeping it real — Lake Powell wasn't always a lake.

This reservoir began filling up after the Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963, reaching its full size in 1980.

Today, it serves a vital role, storing water for several states.

But that doesn't mean it's all work and no play!

Here's what you've got for an unforgettable visit:

  • Kayaking and boating: Enjoy smooth, vast waters.
  • Stunning scenery: Sunlight warms the colossal red cliffs.
  • Waterfalls: Visible near Rainbow Bridge after rainfall.
  • A photographer’s paradise: Every angle is a postcard-worthy picture.

So, have your adventure mapped out yet?

Lake Powell awaits your discovery, ready to dazzle you with its tranquil yet thrilling essence.

And who knows, maybe you'll leave with stories and photos that'll be the envy of every traveler's heart!

Lake Champlain, Vermont/New York

Ever wondered where you can find dramatic water cliffs and stunning waterfalls without venturing too far off the beaten path?

Well, let me guide you to Lake Champlain, which straddles both Vermont and New York.

This lake is not just about its vast expanse of water – it's the place where nature puts on a real show!

You might be asking yourself, what makes Lake Champlain a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts like you?

Here's the scoop: think about the thrill of seeing Ausable Chasm and Split Rock Falls.

Now, imagine witnessing the majestic beauty of water carvings through cliffs, right before your eyes!

What You’ll Discover:

  • Ausable Chasm: Are you ready for an adventure? Often referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks", this spot presents a series of waterfalls cascading over rugged terrain. It's where water sports, hiking, and picturesque views all collide.
  • Split Rock Falls: While not as grandiose as Ausable Chasm, these falls are nonetheless a hidden gem. Tucked away and perfect for a refreshing dip, it’s also a delightful scene to capture on camera.

Here’s a quick list of activities to keep you busy while at Lake Champlain:

  • Kayaking or canoeing amidst the serene waters
  • Fishing for the catch of the day – don't forget to brag about your big one!
  • Hiking the trails for that sweet panoramic view

And if you're worried about missing out on the finer details, fear not!

With a shoreline that stretches an impressive 587 miles, your itinerary can be as packed or relaxed as you want it to be.

So, ready to grab your hiking shoes and camera?

Lake Champlain is waiting to impress you with its natural artistry.

Whether you're solo or with friends, it's an experience that's bound to make your heart race with excitement.

Happy exploring!

Lake Crescent, Washington

Have you heard about the sapphire jewel nestled in the Olympic National Park?

Yes, I'm talking about Lake Crescent, a true gem with its clear, deep waters gracing the north of the Olympic Peninsula.

Imagine dipping your toes into the shimmering blue while gazing at the steep, forested cliffs that hug its shoreline.

Got your attention?

Thought so!

Now, before you pack your bags, let's talk waterfalls.

Trust me; you don't want to miss Marymere Falls and Sol Duc Falls.

These cascading beauties are just a trail away and perfect for that Instagram-worthy shot.

  • Marymere Falls – Accessible via a nature-filled 1.8-mile round trip hike, expect lush greenery and the soothing sounds of falling water.
  • Sol Duc Falls – A little further afield via a 1.6-mile trail, and you'll be rewarded with the powerful roar of a multi-tiered waterfall.

If you're a fan of getting active, Lake Crescent won't disappoint.

Kayaking, sailing, or simply relaxing on the beach – take your pick!

If you fancy a stroll, the Spruce Railroad Trail offers fantastic lake views and is part of the longer Olympic Discovery Trail network.

  • Spruce Railroad Trail: Easy walk, big views!

Fancy a swim?

Venture to the northeastern tip and find the hidden gem known as Devil's Punchbowl.

It's chilly but oh, so refreshing, and for the brave, a jump off the bridge is a rite of passage!

Finally, accommodation is aplenty with historic lodges and scenic campgrounds waiting to welcome you.

Whether you're here for a day or a week, Lake Crescent is that idyllic escape we all dream of.

So, what are you waiting for?

Get your wilderness fix and dive into the adventures at Lake Crescent!