15 Best Waterfalls in Ohio
Author Anietra Hamper is an Ohio native who specializes in writing about the outdoors and loves finding the state's waterfalls in both the spring and winter.
You might not know that mostly agricultural Ohio is home to an abundance of waterfalls, but there are some great places to find them in designated wildlife areas, state nature preserves, and Ohio State Parks.
While the spring is a nice time to capture the cascading flow of waterfalls, they can be especially impressive during the winter as well, when the frigid Ohio weather turns them into stunning displays of ice formations. Some of the best areas for hiking to waterfalls are in the rolling Hocking Hills region and southern Ohio.
If you are looking to photograph or visit multiple waterfalls in the same trip, you might consider basing yourself near Cleveland and branching out from there, as there are clusters of fantastic waterfalls located in northern Ohio. Find out where to go with our list of the best waterfalls in Ohio.
- 1. Cedar Falls
- 2. Amphitheater Falls
- 3. Horseshoe Falls
- 4. Hayden Run Falls
- 5. Dundee Falls
- 6. Blackhand Gorge Waterfalls
- 7. Cascade Falls
- 8. Big and Little Lyons Falls
- 9. Ash Cave Waterfall
- 10. Chagrin Falls
- 11. Paine Falls
- 12. Sheepskin Hollow Falls
- 13. Brandywine Falls
- 14. Great Falls
- 15. Buttermilk Waterfalls
- Map of Waterfalls in Ohio
1. Cedar Falls
The magnificent Cedar Falls, located within Hocking Hills State Park in southeastern Ohio, is one of the most popular waterfalls in the state. It is relatively easy to get to with a half-mile hike. Hocking Hills is noted for having some of the best outdoor adventures in Ohio, but hidden within the dense forests are some of the state's most spectacular waterfalls.
Layered sandstone beneath the falls creates the cascade of water that is captured in so many photographs and paintings depicting the region. The falls drop into a pool below, where you will often spot visitors cooling off their feet or skipping rocks in the summer.
The dynamics of Cedar Falls depend on how much rain comes during the spring and summer. Oftentimes in the spring, the waterfall has rushing water that ends in an ocean-like crash into the pool below. By summer, the waterfall is not rushing as much, and sometimes it can dry up completely if there is little rainfall.
The best time of year to experience Cedar Falls is during the spring, when there is the emergence of tiny wildflowers on the forest floor and cooler temperatures for your hike. Another great time to visit is during the fall, when the vibrant colors on the trees make this a popular place for an autumn hike.
Address: Hocking Hills State Park, 19852 State Route 664 S, Logan, Ohio
Accommodation: Where to Stay near Hocking Hills State Park
2. Amphitheater Falls
The one promise that comes with a place like John Bryan State Park and the protected wildlife area of Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve is the immersion into Mother Nature's untouched display of water.
The Gorge Trail in the state park leads to the stunning Amphitheater waterfall, which is as beautiful frozen in the winter as it is with rushing water in the summer. The trail entrance is located near Yellow Springs in western Ohio.
As you continue along the Gorge Trail into the state nature preserve, you can see the rushing waters in the steep and narrow limestone gorge. There are several lookouts above the gorge where you can stand and listen to the water's force.
Plan some extra time to hike the trails and grab lunch at the Clifton Mill located in the tiny village of Clifton, which you can access from the rim trail running along the top of the Clifton Gorge.
Address: Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, 2381 State Route 343, Yellow Springs, Ohio
3. Horseshoe Falls
A trip to see Horseshoe Falls will have the benefit of a nice hike in Caesar Creek State Park. The park is located in southwestern Ohio near the town of Wilmington. The Horseshoe Falls waterfall is located on a 1.8-mile loop within the park, which is fairly easy to navigate on a flat, unpaved path. You can find the trailhead in the Wellman Area inside of Caesar Creek Park.
While Horseshoe falls is not a big waterfall, it is one of the most beautiful in the state, in part because of its surrounding landscape and wildlife that you are likely to see while you are here. The waterfall drops into the creek below and is a quiet place to sit and enjoy a picnic.
Before you head back to the parking lot be sure to take a walk across the 109-foot-long Caesar Creek Swinging Bridge that spans the waterway.
Address: Caesar Creek State Park, 9000 Center Road, Wilmington, Ohio
4. Hayden Run Falls
While most of Ohio's top waterfalls are located in forested areas and parks, Hayden Run Falls is in the middle of urban development in Central Ohio. The waterfall is located next to a busy roadway near the Columbus suburb of Dublin.
The tiny two acres that surround Hayden Run Falls is a nice place for a picnic, a post-lunch stroll, or just some time for solitude. There are picnic tables in the park. The waterfall itself has a 35-foot drop and is especially exciting to see after heavy rainfall.
During other times of the year, the waterfall is much smaller, but its secluded location still makes it nice to enjoy. You can see the falls from the boardwalk or overlook above, or you can walk down to the lower part of the falls. The terrain to get to the waterfall is fairly easy to navigate.
Address: 4326 Hayden Run Road, Dublin, Ohio
5. Dundee Falls
The waterfall of Dundee Falls in northeastern Ohio is one of the must-sees in the Beach City Wildlife Area. The natural terrain and forested region makes for a beautiful hike to the falls.
Unlike some other waterfalls in Ohio that flow heavily only during certain times of the year or after a rainfall, Dundee Falls has fairly consistent water flow year-round. The water from Dundee Falls drops into a picturesque gorge and flows into nearby Sugar Creek.
The waterfall is part of the nearly 2,000-acre Beach City Wildlife Area, which has hiking trails and rock climbing and is close to the town of Dundee. The walk to the falls is easy. You will want to access the trailhead to the falls from the parking lot off Dundee Wilmot Road NW.
Address: 96 Dundee Wilmot Road NW, Dundee, Ohio
6. Blackhand Gorge Waterfalls
There are several nice waterfalls at the Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve in the eastern part of Central Ohio near Newark. Blackhand Gorge is a great option if you want to see multiple waterfalls in one outing and can make a day out of it.
The waterfalls are best to see in the springtime, when they have the most water flow. The first waterfall in Blackhand Gorge is along the Chestnut Trail, which will take you on a 1.4-mile trek.
You will need to access Chestnut Trail from Blackhand Gorge Trail, which is a main paved trail through the park. The walk to the trail is fairly easy.
The other waterfalls in the area are along the Marie Hickey Trail. There are several waterfalls to see on this trail, which you can access from the north parking lot.
Address: 2200 Gratiot Road SE, Newark, Ohio
7. Cascade Falls
If you love waterfalls but do not love the hikes that are often required to access them then Cascade Falls in Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park is your best option. The park and waterfall are located in northeast Ohio near the town of Garrettsville.
It is a short half-mile walk to Cascade Falls along the Yellow Trail, and there is a nice boardwalk that you can use to get here. Cascade Falls offers three vantage points: from above and below and from the cave behind the waterfall.
If you have time to explore more of the park, you will enjoy seeing the topography of the narrow passages and crevices and the unique rock formations called the Devil's Icebox and Old Maid's Kitchen.
Address: State Route 282, Nelson Township, Ohio
8. Big and Little Lyons Falls
Why just plan a visit to one waterfall when you can see two of the best in Ohio in the same outing? The Big and Little Lyons Falls are located within the Mohican State Park in Central Ohio, about 30 minutes southeast of Mansfield.
Big Lyons Falls is an impressive cascade of rushing water that drops 80 feet into the Clear Fork Gorge. The cave behind the waterfall adds a dramatic element to the imagery in this forested area.
Little Lyons Falls is a small waterfall that also drops into the Clear Fork Gorge. Due to the rock formations, it is tough to see the entire 25-foot drop of the falls but it is still impressive to observe from above.
The best way to see both of the waterfalls is to take the two-mile loop with a trailhead that starts at the Covered Bridge. The best time to see the Big and Little Lyons Falls is after heavy rainfall, when they have the most water rushing over them.
Address: 3116 State Route 3, Loudonville, Ohio
9. Ash Cave Waterfall
The Ash Cave waterfall in the Hocking Hills State Park is as impressive for the recessed cave that surrounds it as it is for the towering water falling from the limestone cliff. The Ash Cave waterfall is one of the most accessible in the state, and it even has a wide, half-mile wheelchair and stroller path to the lower section. You pass through old-growth hemlock trees and tall cliffs as you walk back to the waterfall.
The cave itself is 700 feet wide and recesses approximately 100 feet. The 90-foot-high cliff ledge is where the waterfall flows into a small pool below. The cave was once used by early settlers as a shelter.
The waterfall is refreshing to see in the summer, as the spray from the plunging water hits you, creating a cooling effect. The winter time is a fascinating time to experience the Ash Cave waterfall as well. The frozen water from above nearly connects to the pile of frozen water below, making almost a seamless connection of layered ice.
Address: Hocking Hills State Park, 27291 State Route 56, South Bloomingville, Ohio
10. Chagrin Falls
An easy-to-find and beautiful waterfall is in Chagrin Falls, located in the village of the same name. Chagrin Falls is about 25 miles east of Cleveland in northern Ohio. The waterfall is located on the Chagrin River, which flows right through the heart of Chagrin Falls.
The main street bridge is located above the falls, but you can easily take a boardwalk down to the lower levels. If you are spending extra time in the area or making a day trip out of it from Cleveland, you should also stop by the nearby Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which has several other waterfalls.
The park is one of the best national and state parks in Ohio, so there is plenty of other nature and wildlife to see while you are here. Some of the notable ones in the park are Bridal Veil Falls, Blue Hen Falls, and Mill Creek Falls. All of the waterfalls in the national park will require a short hike.
11. Paine Falls
The two-tiered Paine Falls waterfall in northeast Ohio is a unique waterfall in the state to see. It is located in Paine Falls Park, close to the city of Painesville, Ohio. The waterfall is surrounded by forest, but the park has conveniences like restrooms that make it an easy place to visit for an afternoon.
Paine Falls is quite accessible, so there is not much walking involved to see it. Paine Falls is located only about a quarter mile from the parking lot, and there is an observation deck with a great view.
The best times to see the falls in its full glory is after heavy rainfall or during the autumn months, when the lush forest landscape surrounds the waterfall with stunning colors of reds, oranges, and yellows from the changing leaves on the trees.
Address: 5570 Paine Road, Leroy Twp., Ohio
12. Sheepskin Hollow Falls
For the waterfall extremists who will search far and wide for something spectacular, the Sheepskin Hollow Falls should top the list for your next adventure. The reason this Ohio waterfall is unique is that it is considered a wild waterfall, and it is tucked away in the Sheepskin Hollow Nature Preserve in Columbiana County in eastern Ohio, near the town of Salem.
The nature preserve is about as rustic as you can get, and only those who are truly up for a bit of adventure should set out to find Sheepskin Hollow Falls. There are no actual trails back to the falls, and there is no designated parking area, but you can park on the side of the road.
Once in the preserve area, there are signs that point you in the right direction to the waterfall. It is a rustic hike through heavy plant growth and old railroad tracks before crossing the creek to access the falls.
Address: 51766 Pancake-Clarkson Road, Negley, Ohio
13. Brandywine Falls
While there are several notable waterfalls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in northeast Ohio, one of the most spectacular is Brandywine Falls. The 60-foot waterfall is one of the most popular in the park and in the state, especially in the fall, when there is a colorful backdrop from the changing colors on the trees.
The falls can be viewed from a boardwalk but if you have the mobility and the time, it is worth the hike to the base of Brandywine Falls, so that you also enjoy the scenic national park. You can hike from the Boston Mill Visitor Center to the waterfall. The 1.5-mile Brandywine Gorge Trail is a good option. The trail follows the scenic gorge and takes you to the creek level.
Another option is to hike from the Boston Mill Visitor Center to Brandywine Falls on the Ohio & Erie Towpath and Stanford Trails. This hike to the falls and back is almost five miles, but it is a good option for those looking for a longer hike.
Due to its popularity, plan on heading to Brandywine Falls early in the day for the best chance at getting a parking space.
Address: 8230 Brandywine Road, Northfield, Ohio
14. Great Falls
The Great Falls at Tinker's Creek is a top waterfall for photographers because of its beauty but also for the remnants of the area's history surrounding it. You can find vestiges of a grist mill, electric power plant, and saw mill indicating the importance that water played in this area near Cleveland.
Take a walking path to the Great Falls from Viaduct Park as you learn about the other natural elements surrounding Tinker's Creek. The 15-foot waterfall pours over sandstone ledges with a width of nearly 80 feet.
Address: Willis Street, Bedford, Ohio
15. Buttermilk Waterfalls
Besides its catchy name, Buttermilk Waterfalls near Mayfield, just outside of Cleveland, is a great waterfall to see while taking a hike to see some of northern Ohio's best natural scenery. The waterfall is located on the North Chagrin Reservation and gives a fantastic view of Ohio's geological history as it cascades 30 feet down decorative layers of shale.
You can hike to the falls on a trail that follows Spring Creek through the woods for added views of plants and animals in the forest that surrounds the area. It is about a mile one-way from the trailhead to the falls on fairly rugged terrain.
Another way to see the falls is from the Cleveland Metroparks Buttermilk Falls Scenic Overlook. This is an easier option for families or those who aren't up for the hike. The wooden overlook deck gives you a perfect vantage point of the waterfall from above. For information on the falls and nearby hikes stop first at the North Chagrin Nature Center.
Address: 1 Buttermilk Falls Pkwy., Mayfield Village Ohio
Map of Waterfalls in Ohio
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More Waterfalls: If you enjoy finding the best waterfalls in Ohio, you will also want to put a few other states on your waterfall wishlist. There are stunning waterfalls in Oregon, including Multnomah Falls and the 280-foot Salt Creek Falls in the Willamette National Forest. The waterfalls in North Carolina are worth planning a trip to see and include the jaw-dropping Whitewater Falls, which plunges more than 800 feet in the Nantahala National Forest, and the two waterfalls in Dupont State Park, which is famous for its role as a Hollywood backdrop in the Hunger Games movies.