Climb Waterfalls

Climb a waterfall for a wet, exciting adventure.

The United States is home to more than 30 waterfalls, soaring hundreds of feet in the air and releasing barrels of water per second. Hundreds of waterfalls exist outside the United States as well, and the roar of the water calls to outdoor enthusiasts looking to tackle the tall structures. Reaching the peak of a waterfall may be a wet and wild adventure, but savvy hikers put their safety above anything else. Prepare for a waterfall adventure and climb to new heights. Does this Spark an idea?


1. Review the waterfall’s website or a site such as World Waterfall Database for information. The World Waterfall Database, for example, lists waterfalls by region and then in alphabetical order and provides the fall’s height, magnitude, tallest drop and in some cases, recommendations on what time of year to climb.

2. Dress accordingly. Check the waterfall website for advice on climbing gear. Authorities for Jamaica’s Dunns River Falls, for example, suggest aqua socks (specialty sneakers designed for the water) or old sneakers. Barefoot climbing or flip-flops may not be allowed.

3. Let someone know where you and/or your group will be climbing. Set a specific time when you’ll call in to let them know you’ve reached the top and when you’ve climbed back down.

4. Pay any entrance or ticket fees and hike up to the base of the falls. Determine whether you’ll climb the actual falls or, in some cases, a step and railing path built into the side of the waterfall.

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5. Get your feet wet in the basin of the waterfall to adjust to the water’s temperature. Let the water soak completely through your shoes so there isn’t a sucking motion each time you lift up your legs.

6. Put sunblock on all exposed areas of skin (including the top of your head) and wear protective gear such as a hat and sunglasses.

7. Follow the guide, leader or trail up the side of the waterfall. Stick to the path, which is usually flat step-like rocks jutting out. Watch the people in front of you, where applicable, to see where they step. Take caution not to step into puddles or slick wet spots left by other peoples’ shoes, as your foot may slip.

8. Find crags and small rock juts along the falls to help pull yourself up or rest against to take a break.

9. Work your way to the plateau at the top of the falls.