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14 Stunning Frozen Waterfalls Across North America

The only thing more beautiful than a waterfall? How about a frozen one?

Winter waterfalls are perhaps one of the most breathtaking phenomena to witness for outdoor adventurers. When temperatures drop and the weather becomes chillier, the liquid in these cascading water features freezes, transforming them into one-of-a-kind sparkling ice sculptures. From Ontario, Canada, to Yosemite Falls in California, travelers across North America who don’t mind a bit of frost can plan an engaging trip to explore these 13 stunning winter wonderlands across the continent.

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Yosemite Falls

WHERE: California

Winter in Yosemite is a magical time. During the colder months, the tourist crowds die down, and Mother Nature draws out a bit of sparkle as the snowfall transforms this park into a magical snow-white winter sight. Spectators can watch the snow cones form at the base of the park’s already remarkable Yosemite Falls, which creates a beautiful vision—while also witnessing another striking phenomenon that only happens in winter, called “frazil ice.” This very rare and unpredictable occurrence happens when small crystals of frozen mist form in the waterfalls, and tumble down toward the earth appearing to mimic flowing red lava. Frazil ice can also be seen at a few of the other falls across the park.

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Garden Creek Falls

WHERE: Wyoming

Sitting at the base of Casper Mountain in Casper, Wyoming, is Garden Creek Falls, an easily accessible waterfall just a short walk from Rotary Park. All trekkers will need to admire this frozen display is a pair of snow boots, because it only takes a few minutes to trek from the parking lot to the base of the falls. Visitors can stand at the base of Mother Nature’s show and soak up the tranquility of the open forest while being surrounded by towering aspens and ponderosa pines.

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North Clear Creek Falls

WHERE: Colorado

Those seeking a more adventurous frozen waterfall experience can embark on a snowshoeing trek to Colorado’s North Clear Creek Falls—one of the most annually photographed waterfalls in the state. Most visitors have only ever seen these 100-foot falls in the summer months, but when the weather cools down in the winter, typically from November to March, this dramatic cascade of water transforms into a beautiful frozen sculpture of solid ice. North Clear Creek Falls sits about halfway between Lake City and Creede on the Silver Thread Scenic Byway, Highway 149, which is plowed year-round—but be warned that the last half mile road to the falls is not cleared (which means it an easy half-day winter snowshoe adventure from Lake City!). The views will make the journeys of climbers, snowshoers, and snowmobilers who set out to make this trip well worthwhile.

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Minnehaha Falls

WHERE: Minnesota

Minneapolis’ Minnehaha Falls is located in Minnehaha Park, which is a popular spot in every season, typically attracting over 850,000 visitors each year. This urban park is open year-round, which means visitors don’t need to go far outside the city to experience nature. The 193-acre open space’s main feature is a stunning 53-foot waterfall, supported by a surrounding myriad of other outdoor scenery, including rocky bluffs and river vistas. In the winter, visitors can enjoy a special show when the waterfall freezes and turns into a cascade of twinkling icicles. The Dakota people originally inhabited this land surrounding the falls, and “Minnehaha” is a word originating from the Dakota language, which is said to translate to “waterfall,” or “rapid water.”

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Tamanawas Falls

WHERE: Oregon

In the winter, those who make the hike to the frozen Tamanawas Falls on Mount Hood in Oregon are lucky enough to encounter just as stunning views—on a less crowded trail than in the summer months with arguably even better scenery. This 3.4-mile out-and-back trail is a relatively flat, moderate trail that meanders through the forest to a breathtaking, tumbling trail of water that transforms into an icy blue frozen curtain in the colder months.

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Niagara Falls

WHERE: New York and Ontario, Canada

Niagara Falls is perhaps one of the most beautiful and well-recognized bodies of water in the world. Whether visitors are viewing from Niagara Falls, Ontario or on the American side of the cascade, it’s a bucket list experience for most world travelers. Even though most tourism happens in the summer, in the winter, these falls freeze over, creating a dazzling, sparkling winter wonderland to admire. There are even free guided winter hikes that depart from the U.S. side of Niagara Falls for those who want to explore the outdoors. Those feeling extra adventurous can admire these natural wonders while snowshoeing in Niagara Falls State Park.

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Cedar Falls, Ash Cave Falls, and Upper Falls


The Hocking Hills region of Southeast Ohio boasts multiple waterfall stunners throughout Hocking Hills State Park—13,000 acres of state forest, national forest, state park, and nature preserve land. Perhaps the three most famous falls in this park are Cedar Falls, Ash Cave Falls, and Upper Falls in Old Man’s Cave—but each route hosts multiple smaller frozen cascades along their (dog-friendly) trails. Many of the lodging options offer lower rates in winter when there’s less tourism, which is paired with the chance for travelers to have these trails all to themselves. Hikes to reach the falls range from short, paved trails perfect for beginners to more difficult multi-milers treks with steeper elevations for the more experienced explorers.

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Foster Falls

WHERE: Tennessee

Foster Falls in Tennessee is a wondrous waterfall that plunges into a deep pool 60 feet down below. It’s located at South Cumberland State Park, which is so large, it occupies four separate counties and more than 30,000 acres of land, with some of the best hiking in the area. Walk the Foster Falls Overlook Trail, which is a quick, universally accessible route to see the chute of water dancing down the rocks. It only takes a few minutes to stroll this short path which leads to a viewing platform at the top of the falls. 

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Soco Falls

WHERE: North Carolina

North Carolina’s Soco Falls is located along U.S. 19 between Maggie Valley and Cherokee, offering visitors who stop a special spectacle, as it’s one of the few double waterfall features in the North Carolina mountains. Towering above from more than 120 feet tall, the two falls meet on the way down to create a unique sight to see. The area frequently gets snow in the colder months due to its high elevation, turning the falls into an icy work of natural art. Make sure to exercise caution when the short trail down to the viewing deck overlooking the falls is slippery in the winter—it’s a steep descent that requires adventurers to be extra careful to navigate when it’s snowy.

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Helmcken Falls

WHERE: British Columbia, Canada

Each winter, the beautiful waterfalls of British Columbia’s Wells Gray Provincial Park transform into a scene of sparkling frozen sculptures made of snow and ice. Visitors can take advantage of easy access to see these sights along the side of Wells Gray Park road. When winter brings thinner crowds of travelers to the park, it can be a perfect time to see these frozen falls in their most gorgeous glory. As the fourth tallest waterfall in Canada at over 450 feet, Helmcken Falls is considered the “crown jewel” of this park’s waterfalls and is a stunning spot to spend time at. Viewers can access it via a short walk from the parking lot to the viewing platform that hangs over the side of the canyon, offering maximum views of the park’s sights.

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Cathedral Falls

WHERE: West Virginia

In 2022, West Virginia launched the first-ever statewide waterfall trail, featuring more than 200 waterfalls to discover across the Mountain State. Travelers who want to see an especially memorable winter show should plan a trip to Cathedral Falls, a magical spectacle of icicles and snow-covered stones. Nestled into a narrow canyon near the quaint mountain town of Fayetteville, this fall is one of the highest and most scenic waterfalls in West Virginia at 60 feet. It’s also a relatively easy trip to make since the majestic falls can be seen from the roadside or even closer via a quick trail walk to a dedicated viewing point.


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Cascade Falls

WHERE: Virginia

Southwest Virginia’s Cascade Falls is known as one of the state’s most scenic spots, to spend time year-round. In the winter, these rushing falls transform into a frozen wonderland giving those who are up for a bit of a longer trek along the Cascades Falls Trail the chance to hike through the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest exploring a scenic, four-mile loop pathway, for a special vision of winter.

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Montmorency Falls

WHERE: Quebec, Canada

Montmorency Falls Park, also called Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, is an easy trip for any adventurer to reach as it’s just 15 minutes outside Quebec City. The park’s namesake landmark, Montmorency Falls, is the star spectacle. This waterfall is even higher than Niagara falls, towering above awe-struck onlookers at 272 feet. When the weather cools down in the winter, the splashes from the falls freeze, forming the famous “Sugarloaf” ice cone at its base, which continues to grow throughout the winter season. In addition to exploring on foot, there are multiple ways to see these falls from even greater heights, including a cable car ride or for the brave, strapping on a harness and actually climbing up sections of these frozen falls.

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Maligne Canyon Falls

WHERE: Alberta, Canada

Ice walking in Alberta’s Maligne Canyon makes for the chance to explore the deepest canyon in Jasper National Park, which boasts a whole series of frozen waterfalls, ice caves, and ice formations. Ice walking is made possible with special footwear to walk on a frozen surface, and it’s a special trip made for those wanting to take their exploring to the next level. Experienced winter walkers and ice climbers can enjoy an exceptional opportunity to get up close and personal with the frozen waterfalls of this park, and explore the out-of-this-world ice formations by either booking a local tour company for a guided walk, or trying their own hand at ice climbing with a certified mountain guide for an unforgettable journey.