Hiking Mountains or Waterfall Trails | Which Is Better?

Mountain vs. Waterfall Hikes, which is better and why? The truth is, they’re both great in their own ways. It also depends on the hike and one’s opinion on which of the two is better.

However, each one generally has its own objective benefits. So in this article, I’m going to lay out the 4 benefits of waterfall hikes, and the 4 benefits of hiking mountains based on my experience.

Benefits Of Mountain Hikes

Quieter (Peaceful)

Starting with mountain hikes. Unlike waterfall trails, the first upside of hiking mountain trails is they’re much quieter and more peaceful. The majority of almost every waterfall trail is near a stream with many rapids which are quite noisy.

In mountains, however, all you normally hear is the peaceful sound of nature without the fast-moving water in the background. And it seems that the further up you go the quieter it gets.

Summit View

Regardless of what type of trail you hike or where the summit almost always provides a nearly unbeatable view. Don’t get me wrong, waterfalls are incredible. But the view from the summit of a mountain is truly next level.

Unless there’s a swimming hole at the waterfall, most people generally don’t stick around any longer than 15 minutes gazing at the waterfall. Even if it’s spectacular. But for the peak of most mountain treks, it’s difficult to leave the top within the hour.

Always Easier Coming Back

Another reason I love hiking mountains is you’re rewarded after the difficult part which is going up the mountain. Knowing that the hardest is over with at the end makes it easier to relax and enjoy the view. Afterward, coming back down is much easier and quicker.

On the flip side, waterfall hikes are either reversed where your elevation increases on the way back, or the difficulty is about the same coming back.

Fewer Snakes Than Waterfalls

If you hate snakes, just know the overwhelming majority of my snake encounters were waterfall hikes since they usually hang around water. Some mountain hikes might have a little stream at the base, but rarely up the mountain.

Mountain vs. Waterfall Hikes

Benefits Of Waterfall Hikes

Swimming Holes/Playing In The Falls

Many waterfall hikes have either a swimming hole or give you the ability to play within or around the falls. Some even have a rope swing. Especially if you love playing in the water in the summertime, most waterfall hikes give you the option where mountains do not.

If you haven’t swum in a natural swimming hole or cove near a waterfall, there’s something about it that’s so much more fun and rewarding than a standard swimming pool.

Usually, More Split Off Trails To Find Unique Places (Or Landmarks)

Many mountain trails do have split-offs that lead to cool landmarks. But in general, waterfall trails usually provide more split-offs that either leads to unique landmarks, hidden coves, mini waterfalls, and so on.

Therefore, if you want to explore more than just the standard path of the hike, there are generally more split-offs at waterfall hikes.

Better For Cold Temperatures

If you hate the cold but still want to hike, waterfall hikes are a better option for two reasons. One, it’s much easier to find shorter waterfall trails than mountain trails.

That’s if you don’t want to hike in the cold for very long. And two, the further up a mountain you go in the winter, the colder it gets.

Generally Easier For Dogs & Kids (Able To Find Easier Waterfall Hikes)

Not all, but many waterfall hikes are easier for both dogs and kids. Not only is the steep incline going up a mountain and decent back down difficult for dogs and kids, but also the rocky terrain can be a challenge. I usually see more dogs on waterfall hikes than on mountain trails.

As I touched upon previously, it’s also easier to find shorter waterfall hikes than mountain hikes in case your dog or kids prefer shorter miles.

Summary | Mountain vs. Waterfall Hikes

Overall, both mountains and waterfall hikes are good in their own ways. Luckily you don’t have to pick between the two, you can do both. Switch off depending on your mood. Especially if you’re hiking in the south, be sure to take these 3 things!

If you’re looking for over-ear headphones, see our top picks here.

See the top made-in-USA sunglasses here.

Need a modern outdoor coffee table? See the top picks here.

Need an alarm clock? See the top choices here.

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