Tag Archives: Top 10

Top 10 Waterfalls in the National Park Service System

Who doesn’t love a beautiful waterfall?  America’s National Park Service (NPS) sites are full of some of the prettiest examples of flowing water in the world.  A few can be seen from drive-up overlooks, while others require a hike, but they are all worth the effort.  We already ranked the best waterfalls of the 62 National Parks and now are releasing a top 10 list for the other 358 NPS units (click here to see all our Top 10 lists).

10. Lake Chelan National Recreation Area (Washington)

The Cascade Mountains are named for their waterfalls, including Rainbow Falls in Stehekin.

9. Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park (New Jersey)

Unobstructed views of this 77-foot tall waterfall are difficult to find in its urban setting.

8. Buffalo National River (Arkansas)

Hemmed-In-Hollow features a 210-foot tall waterfall, accessible by a long hiking trail or a shorter walk from the river.

7. Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (Minnesota)

St. Anthony Falls is the only true waterfall on the entire river, plus check out the falls in Minnehaha Regional Park.

6. Delaware Water Gap (Pennsylvania-New Jersey)

Raymondskill Falls and Dingmans Falls are located at the end of short hikes in the Poconos.

5. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Michigan)

Short hikes lead to Munising Falls and Sable Falls, or boat to falls along the cliffs of Lake Superior.

4. Niobrara National Scenic River (Nebraska)

Pull ashore on your float down the river to visit waterfalls in Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge and Smith Falls State Park.

3. Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area (California)

Four scenic waterfalls (Whiskeytown, Boulder Creek, Brandy Creek, and Crystal Creek) are accessible by hiking a total of 11 miles.

2. Little River Canyon National Preserve (Alabama)

The wide Little River Falls plunges 45 feet, but Graces High Falls drops 133 feet.

…and finally our #1 waterfall in a National Park Service unit:

1. Devils Postpile National Monument (California)

Rainbow Falls is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the world, plus check out Minaret Falls.

Honorable Mentions

George Washington Memorial Parkway (Maryland-Virginia)

Great Falls Park on the Potomac River also contains ruins of George Washington’s Patowmack Canal.

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area (Tennessee-Kentucky)

Yahoo Falls is one of several waterfalls visible within this diverse park.

Lowell National Historical Park (Massachusetts)

It is manmade, but the waterfall created by the Lower Locks in downtown Lowell is still beautiful.

Top 10 Waterfalls in the 62 National Parks

Who doesn’t love a beautiful waterfall?  America’s 62 National Parks are full of some of the prettiest examples of flowing water in the world (dry Death Valley even has Darwin Falls).  A few can be seen from drive-up overlooks, while others require a hike, but they are all worth the effort.  Niagara Falls is in the nation’s oldest State Park and photogenic Havasu Falls is actually outside of Grand Canyon National Park, so they did not even make the list.  We will release a ranking of the other 358 National Park Service units, but first check out our Top 10 National Parks for waterfalls (click here to see all our Top 10 lists).

For more information on visiting all 62 National Parks, check out our travel guidebook, A Park to Yourself: Finding Adventure in America’s National Parks (available on Amazon).

10. Rocky Mountain (Colorado)

Not known for its waterfalls, this park has Alberta Falls, Calypso Cascades, Ouzel Falls, Fern Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and many others.

9. Katmai (Alaska)

Brooks Falls is not the highest waterfall, but it does bring together brown bears and salmon.

8. Mount Rainier (Washington)

Silver, Cougar, Narada, and Comet Falls are just some of the countless cascades fed by melting glaciers.

7. Cuyahoga Valley (Ohio)

Brandywine Falls is the most spectacular, but don’t miss Blue Hen or Bridal Veil Falls either.

6. Haleakalā (Hawai‘i)

180-foot tall Falls at Makahiku and 400-foot Waimoku Falls are both seen along the Pīpīwai Trail.

5. Shenandoah (Virginia)

A hike is required to access any of the park’s cascades, including the numerous falls along the 8.2-mile Cedar Run/Whiteoak Circuit.

4. Kings Canyon (California)

Mist Falls lives up to its name and is worth the hike, plus check out Roaring River Falls at the end of a half mile trail.

3. Great Smoky Mountains (Tennessee-North Carolina)

Ramsey Cascades tops our list of the numerous falls you can hike to in this incredible park.

2. Yosemite (California)

There are countless massive waterfalls in Yosemite Valley, plus a couple great ones in Hetch Hetchy.

…and finally our #1 waterfall in a National Park:

1. Yellowstone (Wyoming-Montana-Idaho)

Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River is our favorite waterfall, whether viewed from the brink or Artist’s Point.

Honorable Mentions

Olympic (Washington)

You might expect bigger waterfalls in the wettest place in North America, but Sol Duc Falls and Elwha Falls are still worth checking out.

Grand Teton (Wyoming)

Hidden Falls is a great stop on the popular hike to Inspiration Point and into Cascade Canyon.

Glacier Bay (Alaska)

Summer snowmelt feeds the numerous unnamed cascades in Glacier Bay, much like Kenai Fjords National Park.

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Top 10 Civil War Non-Fiction Books

This past summer, we covered the many National Park Service (NPS) sites dedicated to remembering the Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in American history with the greatest outcome (freedom for the country’s enslaved people).  We previously ranked our Top 10 novels and films about the war, but for the non-fiction list we widened the time frame to include antebellum and postbellum works (click here to see all our Top 10 lists).

10. Raising the Hunley: The Remarkable History and Recovery of the Lost Confederate Submarine by Brian Hicks and Schuyler Kropf (2002)

The discovery of the wreck of the world’s first submarine is a fascinating story.

9. Andrew Johnson by Annette Gordon-Reed (2011)

After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, President Andrew Johnson had impossible shoes to fill.

8. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs (1861)

One of many heart-wrenching, first-hand accounts of slavery published by abolitionist groups before the Civil War.

7. West from Appomattox: The Reconstruction of America after the Civil War by Heather Cox Richardson (2007)

An in-depth look at the history of the country after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House.

6. Black Reconstruction in America by W.E.B. DuBois (1935)

A seminal work on the period of Reconstruction following the Civil War.

5. Company Aytch by Samuel Watkins (1882)

An interesting autobiography from a soldier in the Confederate Army.

4. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave by Frederick Douglass (1845)

Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who became an impassioned voice for freedom before and after the war.

3. A Diary from Dixie by Mary Chestnut (1905)

A lengthy narrative of one woman’s experiences living in the south during the Civil War.

2. Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington (1901)

Autobiography of Booker T. Washington, the founder of Tuskegee Institute who was born into slavery.

…and finally our #1 non-fiction book about the American Civil War:

1. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin (2005)

One of the best history books ever written, it tells the story of the competing egos within President Lincoln’s Cabinet.

Honorable Mentions

Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy by Elizabeth R. Varon (2003)

There are so many excellent histories of this period, but this biography is especially interesting.

Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton (2004)

Any biography of Harriet Tubman is worth reading.

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Top 10 World War II Sites in the 62 National Parks

The official end of World War II occurred on September 2, 1945 on the deck of the battleship USS Missouri (now docked at Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Hawai‘i).  To celebrate the 75th anniversary of this event we previously assembled our Top 10 National Park Service (NPS) units dedicated to the war.  This list ranks the best sites within our 62 National Parks.  Click here to see all our Top 10 lists, including our favorite WWII books and films.

For more information on visiting all 62 National Parks, check out our travel guidebook, A Park to Yourself: Finding Adventure in America’s National Parks (available on Amazon).

10. Yosemite National Park (California)

The “U.S. Naval Convalescent Hospital Yosemite National Park, California” opened in 1943.

9. Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

Soldiers were sent to recreate at the caverns from Hobbs Air Field, located 100 miles away.

8. Olympic National Park (Washington)

Two of the park’s coast guard and aircraft warning stations still exist.

7. White Sands National Park (New Mexico)

In 1942, the U.S. military established a weapons testing range in the Tularosa Basin that still functions today.

6. Denali National Park and Preserve (Alaska)

Denali’s rugged terrain was a great place to test soldiers and equipment.

5. Redwood National Park (California)

The Klamath River Radar Station B-71 is a rare early-warning radar station.

4. Haleakalā National Park (Hawai‘i)

The numerous antennas atop Red Hill led locals to dub this WWII radar station “Haleakalā National Forest.”

3. Acadia National Park (Maine)

The park’s Big Moose Island was home to a U.S. Navy radio station during WWII.

2. National Park of American Samoa (American Samoa)

These islands hosted soldiers and provided essential communications operations in the Pacific.

…and finally, our #1 National Park dedicated to World War II:

1. Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)

The 10th Mountain Division tested their mountaineering skills and equipment at Mt. Rainier.

Honorable Mention

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (Hawai‘i)

After Pearl Harbor, this federal land on the largest of the Hawaiian Islands held several military installations.

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Top 10 World War II National Park Sites

The official end of World War II occurred on September 2, 1945 on the deck of the battleship USS Missouri (now docked at Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Hawai‘i).  To celebrate the 75th anniversary of this event we have assembled our Top 10 National Park Service (NPS) units dedicated to the war.  There are more than you might think for a war fought predominantly overseas (including sites in our 62 National Parks, which we will rank in a separate list).  Click here to see all our Top 10 lists, including our favorite WWII books and films.

10. World War II Memorial (District of Columbia)

This large memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. opened in 2004.

9. Gateway National Recreation Area (New York-New Jersey)

Fort Hancock and Floyd Bennett Air Field were busy places during WWII.

8. American Memorial Park (Northern Marianas Islands)

This 133-acre park honors the 5,204 soldiers and civilians who gave their lives during the Marianas Campaign.

7. Fort Sumter National Monument (South Carolina)

Coastal fortifications from the 1940s are well-maintained on the Charleston Harbor islands.

6. Manhattan Project National Historical Park (New Mexico-Tennessee-Washington)

The Manhattan Project raced humanity into the atomic age and helped end the war.

5. War in the Pacific National Historical Park (Guam)

The battlefields on Guam represent the many sacrifices made while “island hopping” across the Pacific Theater.

4. Manzanar National Historic Site (California)

The shameful internment of thousands of Japanese Americans is remembered here and also at Idaho’s Minidoka National Historic Site (under development).

3. Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site (Alabama)

Racism in the military and American society is directly addressed at this excellent interpretive site.

2. Pearl Harbor National Memorial (Hawai‘i)

Take the ferry to the emotional USS Arizona Memorial and step aboard the battleship USS Missouri.

…and finally our #1 NPS site dedicated to World War II:

1. Rosie the Riveter/WWII Homefront National Historical Park (California)

An excellent museum interprets the work done by women and minorities to supply the war effort.

Honorable Mentions

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park (Oregon-Washington)

Multiple WWII coastal fortifications are preserved in this park, as well as at Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve in Washington.

Aleutian WWII National Historic Site (Alaska)

An affiliated site on the remote island of Unalaska interprets the fighting that took place in Alaska.

Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Monument (California)

Prior security clearance is required before visiting this site where 320 men died in a 1944 accident; for more local WWII history visit San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

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