Top 5 Waterfalls in Alaska

March 10, 2023

waterfalls in Alaska

You don't need to travel far or spend much time hiking in Alaska to find an abundance of spectacular waterfalls. They're found throughout the state wherever highways wind through mountains and glaciers.

Some are easy for families with kids, and others are moderately challenging for professional hikers. So whether you're traveling with your dog, or are looking for a beautiful and relaxing hike, these waterfalls are sure to delight!

Pitchfork Falls

A 2,000-foot cascade into the Skagway River, Pitchfork Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Alaska. It’s viewable from the Klondike Highway between Skagway and the Canadian border, as well as on a flightseeing tour or train ride on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad.

Pitchfork Falls gets its name from the pitchfork shape the water takes as it tumbles down the side of the cliff. It’s a waterfall with a reputation, though it may not live up to it.

It tumbles down the unnamed discharge stream from Goat Lake about six miles north of Skagway on the opposite side of the valley from the Klondike Highway. According to some sources, it drops nearly 2,100 feet in all, making it a contender for various World’s Tallest lists in the past.

Thunderbird Falls

Tucked into a gorge and tumbling over a granite outcrop, Thunderbird Falls in Alaska is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the region. This 200-foot wall of water tumbles over a drop in the Eklutna River and can be accessed via a short trail, making it a popular family hike.

During winter, it often freezes into stunning ice sculptures and is worth visiting during this time to see it in all its glory.

The waterfall is located within Chugach State Park, and can be reached on a 1.6-mile trail that traverses a beautiful birch forest. This is an easy hike that can be accessed year-round. However, cleats or spikes are recommended for hiking in the winter because the initial climb can be slippery.

Nugget Falls

Nugget Falls is a beautiful waterfall in Juneau, Alaska. This stunning destination has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area due to its unique appearance and dazzling views of the surrounding glaciers, mountains, forests, and wildlife.

Located near the Mendenhall Glacier, this magnificent waterfall is considered a must-see in the region. It cascades down Nugget Creek over three distinct tiers and eventually empties into Mendenhall Lake.

To get up close to the falls, visitors can take a short walk or go on a hike. The latter is a moderately easy trail that takes about 45 minutes to complete. It leads to the base of the falls and offers the closest views of the Mendenhall Glacier in the area. It also provides a great photo opportunity.

Blackstone Falls

Blackstone Falls is an impressive sight to see. Its location is quite unique for Alaskans as well as visitors from other countries who want to get a glimpse of this stunning wilderness.

Located inside Blackstone Bay, the waterfall is named for a 19th-century miner who was tragically lost during a snowstorm.

This spectacular waterfall can be viewed from the shore or by taking a boat trip. The falls are a popular destination for photographers.

It's not a difficult hike to get to the falls, and you can enjoy amazing views of them from several observation platforms along the way. You can also hike around the area and visit other attractions, such as Lake Mendenhall.

Portage Falls

Portage Falls is a gorgeous waterfall located in Alaska, just a short drive from Girdwood. The falls are an easy hike that is perfect for photography or family adventures.

A short hike from a residential area in Girdwood, this is a perfect place to stop and see a beautiful local waterfall before heading to Anchorage or Seward. The trail is a short 15 minutes round-trip and you’ll have plenty of time to snap photos of the waterfalls and the surrounding landscape.

The short 4-mile round-trip trail to Portage Pass leads to incredible views of Portage Glacier, Portage Lake, and back towards Whittier and Passage Canal on Prince William Sound. The hike is not for the faint of heart but if you’re up for it, this is one of my favorite walks in the state.


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