California's Waterfalls

Viewing the Best in Waterfall Magic
Page 1 of 7   |  

There's magic in waterfalls. In the space where rock meets water, resulting in the steep descent of a river or stream, something occurs that is far richer than just a geologic irregularity. You can see it in the faces of people watching a waterfall. A star-filled sky can be compelling, a snow-capped mountain range can be awe-inspiring, an after-storm rainbow can stop you in your tracks, but only a waterfall can make you feel like you've fallen in love.

Some scientists explain this phenomenon by pointing out that fast-flowing water ejects ionized particles into the air, supercharging the atmosphere with energy. Others say that because our human bodies are mostly water, and water is the lifeblood of the earth, we have a natural affinity with free-flowing rivers and streams.

It seems we humans cannot contain our delight at finding a river or stream that appears to fall from the sky. Perfectly responsible adults get downright giddy at the base of a plummeting cataract. Children forget all about the miles of trail you forced them to walk when faced with a shimmering cascade. As my friend said when I took her on a waterfall hunt: "Oh, I see. We get to visit all of God's art museums."

Some waterfalls are world famous, and others are secret, hidden spots, far from the madding crowd. Some have luscious swimming holes; some occur in streams and rivers that are laden with hungry trout. All of them are places you'll want to visit again and again. In your travels, please remember to take care of this beautiful land. I wish you many inspiring days in the outdoors.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 23 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »