Location: Castile, Western New York
Letchworth State Park is renowned for its striking resemblance to the Grand Canyon, earning it the moniker “The Grand Canyon of the East.” Nestled along the Genesee River, this park is home to not one, but three majestic waterfalls: Upper Falls, Middle Falls, and Lower Falls. The Middle Falls is the most iconic, with a horseshoe shape and a sheer drop of about 107 feet.
Hike: The Gorge Trail offers a moderate hike along the rim of the gorge, providing captivating views of all three waterfalls. The trail spans approximately 7 miles and is suitable for various skill levels.
Location: Trumansburg, Finger Lakes Region
Taugannock Falls is a true spectacle of nature, boasting a stunning 215-foot plunge. This waterfall’s unique feature lies in its towering height, making it one of the tallest single-drop waterfalls east of the Rocky Mountains.
Hike: A short, well-maintained trail leads visitors to a prime viewpoint for observing the falls. The total hike is around 1.5 miles, making it accessible for families and casual hikers.
Location: Catskill Mountains, Eastern New York
Kaaterskill Falls is a two-tiered marvel that collectively drops a total of 260 feet, making it one of the most famous waterfalls in New York. The upper falls plummet around 175 feet, while the lower falls add another 85 feet of cascading beauty.
Hike: A moderately challenging hike, the trail to Kaaterskill Falls is approximately 1.5 miles round trip. The path offers mesmerizing views of the falls from different angles, culminating in an awe-inspiring sight at the base.
Location: Ithaca, Finger Lakes Region
Buttermilk Falls offers a serene and tranquil escape, with a series of cascades that tumble a total of 165 feet. The falls are surrounded by lush greenery, creating a picturesque setting.
Hike: The Gorge Trail offers a moderate hike through woodlands and rocky terrain, covering roughly 1.5 miles round trip. The trail follows the course of the stream, allowing hikers to admire the falls from various vantage points.
Location: Watkins Glen, Finger Lakes Region
Hike: The Gorge Trail spans approximately 2.5 miles, guiding visitors through 19 waterfalls and captivating rock formations. The trail is moderately strenuous, rewarding hikers with magnificent views along the way.
15. Roxbury Falls
Location: Catskill Mountains, Central New York
Roxbury Falls is a hidden gem nestled within the Catskill Mountains. This serene waterfall features a 50-foot drop that cascades over a rocky ledge, creating a soothing atmosphere perfect for relaxation.
Hike: The trail to Roxbury Falls is relatively short, around 1 mile round trip. The path winds through lush woods, leading to a viewing area where you can enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the falls.
Location: Cazenovia, Central New York
Chittenango Falls presents a splendid display of nature’s artistry, with a 167-foot waterfall that tumbles over striking shale cliffs. The surrounding gorge is equally captivating, showcasing the geological wonders of the region.
Hike: The Gorge Trail spans approximately 1 mile and offers a moderate hike through the gorge. Hikers can enjoy breathtaking views of the falls and the picturesque landscapes that encompass the area.
13. High Falls Gorge
Location: Wilmington, Adirondack Mountains
High Falls Gorge is a place of adventurous beauty, featuring four distinct waterfalls along the Ausable River. The main attraction, High Falls, drops a stunning 70 feet amidst a backdrop of lush Adirondack forest.
Hike: The trail system at High Falls Gorge is well-maintained and allows visitors to explore the falls from various angles. The total trail length is approximately 1 mile, offering both leisurely and educational experiences.
Location: Tannersville, Catskill Mountains
Bridal Veil Falls lives up to its name with its graceful, cascading beauty. This 120-foot waterfall gently flows down a rocky slope, resembling a delicate bridal veil.
Hike: The hike to Bridal Veil Falls is relatively short, about 0.5 miles round trip. The trail offers a peaceful stroll through the forest, leading to an open area where you can admire the falls up close.
Location: Orchard Park, Western New York
Eternal Flame Falls offers a unique twist with a natural phenomenon—a perpetually burning flame behind the waterfall. The flame is fueled by a natural gas seep, creating a mesmerizing sight against the backdrop of a 30-foot waterfall.
Hike: The trail to Eternal Flame Falls covers roughly 1.5 miles round trip. The hike involves some challenging terrain, but the allure of witnessing fire and water unite in nature is well worth the effort.
10. Hector Falls
Location: Hector, Finger Lakes Region
Hector Falls graces the shores of Seneca Lake with its splendid presence. This multi-tiered waterfall descends around 165 feet in a picturesque setting that perfectly captures the essence of the Finger Lakes.
Hike: The view of Hector Falls is easily accessible from the road, allowing you to admire its beauty without an extensive hike. The falls can be seen from various angles, making it a great stop for a leisurely sightseeing drive.
Location: Ausable Chasm, Adirondack Mountains
Indian Head and Rainbow Falls offer a double delight within the Ausable Chasm. Indian Head Falls drops around 20 feet, while Rainbow Falls, known for its colorful spray, plunges approximately 70 feet.
Hike: The chasm offers guided tours that allow you to experience both waterfalls up close and personal. The tour includes a series of well-maintained trails and bridges, offering breathtaking views of the falls and the chasm’s unique rock formations.
8. Grimes Glen
Location: Naples, Finger Lakes Region
Grimes Glen is a well-kept secret nestled in the Finger Lakes. This charming waterfall features a series of small cascades that collectively create a soothing and tranquil atmosphere.
Hike: The trail through Grimes Glen is relatively short, about 0.5 miles round trip. The path involves walking in the creek itself, so wear appropriate footwear. The natural beauty and peaceful ambiance make it a hidden treasure worth exploring.
Location: Robert H. Treman State Park, Finger Lakes Region
Lucifer Falls is a captivating centerpiece within Robert H. Treman State Park. This waterfall plunges around 115 feet through a narrow gorge, creating an enchanting spectacle of nature’s power.
Hike: The Gorge Trail provides an immersive experience as it winds along the creek, offering views of Lucifer Falls and other smaller cascades. The trail is approximately 2.5 miles round trip and offers a moderately challenging hike.
Location: Elizabethtown, Adirondack Mountains
Split Rock Falls is a serene oasis tucked away in the Adirondack wilderness. The falls consist of two tiers, with the upper tier dropping around 30 feet and the lower tier cascading down the rocks.
Hike: The trail to Split Rock Falls is moderately short, about 1 mile round trip. The path takes you through lush forest and rocky terrain, leading to a tranquil spot where you can unwind by the falls.
Location: Cold Spring, Hudson Valley
Little Stony Point Falls offers a secluded retreat for those seeking tranquility. This gentle waterfall flows over a rocky ledge, creating a soothing ambiance that complements the surrounding lush greenery.
Hike: The trail to Little Stony Point Falls is relatively short, around 1.5 miles round trip. The path meanders through woodlands and along the riverbank, providing a peaceful journey to this hidden gem.
Location: Adirondack Mountains, Keene
Cascade Falls lives up to its name with a stunning cascade that descends around 150 feet, surrounded by the scenic beauty of the Adirondacks.
Hike: The trail to Cascade Falls is part of the popular Cascade Mountain trail. The hike is moderately challenging, covering around 4.8 miles round trip. Along the way, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas and the majestic sight of Cascade Falls.
Location: Keene Valley, Adirondack Mountains
Roaring Brook Falls is a testament to the dramatic beauty of the Adirondacks. This impressive waterfall plunges around 300 feet, making it one of the tallest falls in New York.
Hike: The trail to Roaring Brook Falls is relatively short, approximately 0.6 miles round trip. The trail leads to a viewing area where you can appreciate the grandeur of the falls and the surrounding wilderness.
Location: New Baltimore, Hudson Valley
Hannacroix Creek Preserve Falls offers a peaceful oasis where nature’s beauty takes center stage. The falls cascade over a rocky slope, creating a serene backdrop for relaxation.
Hike: The preserve offers a network of trails, including one that leads to the falls. The hike is around 2 miles round trip and takes you through woods and meadows, allowing you to reconnect with nature before reaching the tranquil falls.
Location: Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Hudson Valley
Hike: The hike to Awosting Falls is roughly 2.5 miles round trip, providing a scenic journey through the park’s landscapes. The trail takes you past stunning views and ultimately rewards you with the serene beauty of the falls.
What is the best time of year to visit these waterfalls in New York?
The best time of year to visit the waterfalls in New York depends on what you’re looking for.
In general, spring and early summer are the best times to see the waterfalls at their fullest and most impressive, as the snowmelt and rainfall from the previous season create a surge of water flow. However, this also means that the trails and viewing areas may be more crowded during this time.
If you’re looking for a quieter experience, the fall can be a great time to visit, as the autumn foliage adds a stunning backdrop to the waterfalls.
Winter can also be a beautiful time to visit, as some waterfalls freeze over and create a unique winter wonderland scene. However, keep in mind that the trails may be icy and slippery during this time, so be sure to take proper precautions.
Camping Near New York Waterfalls:
These are some of our favorite campgrounds near New York waterfalls.
Watkins Glen State Park Campground – Located in the Finger Lakes region, this campground offers easy access to the stunning Watkins Glen State Park waterfalls. The campground features tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and cottages for rent.
Letchworth State Park Campground – Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park boasts three major waterfalls and numerous smaller cascades. The campground offers tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and lodges for rent.
Buttermilk Falls State Park Campground – This campground is located near the beautiful Buttermilk Falls, which features a natural swimming hole and several cascades. The campground offers tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and cottages for rent.
North-South Lake Campground – Located in the Catskill Mountains, this campground offers easy access to the stunning Kaaterskill Falls. The campground features tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and cottages for rent.
Ausable Chasm Campground – This campground is located near the Ausable Chasm waterfalls, which feature stunning rock formations and cascades. The campground offers tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and cottages for rent.
Niagara Falls Campground – This campground is located just minutes from the iconic Niagara Falls, one of the most famous waterfalls in the world. The campground offers tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and lodges for rent.
Taughannock Falls State Park Campground – This campground is located near Taughannock Falls, which features a 215-foot waterfall and stunning gorge views. The campground offers tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and cottages for rent.
Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort – Located in the Adirondacks, this campground offers easy access to the beautiful Indian Head and Rainbow Falls. The campground features tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and cottages for rent.
Allegany State Park Campground – This campground is located near the stunning Allegany State Park waterfalls, which features several cascades and a beautiful gorge. The campground offers tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and cottages for rent.
Chenango Valley State Park Campground – This campground is located near the Chenango River and features easy access to the beautiful Chenango Valley State Park waterfalls. The campground offers tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and cottages for rent. In addition to the waterfalls, the park also offers hiking trails, fishing, and other outdoor activities.
What Are The Best Waterfalls In New York For Families?
If you’re traveling with young kids then you won’t want any hikes that are too intense. Here are the best New York waterfalls to visit with little kids.
Taughannock Falls State Park – Located near Ithaca, Taughannock Falls State Park features a stunning 215-foot waterfall that is easily accessible for families. The park offers several hiking trails, including a kid-friendly trail that leads to a viewing platform overlooking the falls. In addition to the waterfall, the park also features a playground, picnic areas, and swimming areas in the nearby Cayuga Lake.
Watkins Glen State Park – Known for its stunning gorge and numerous waterfalls, Watkins Glen State Park is a must-visit destination for families. The park features several hiking trails, including a kid-friendly trail that leads through the gorge and past several waterfalls. The park also offers picnic areas, a playground, and swimming areas in the nearby Seneca Lake.
Letchworth State Park – Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park features three major waterfalls and numerous smaller cascades. The park offers several hiking trails, including a kid-friendly trail that leads to a viewing platform overlooking the Middle Falls. The park also features picnic areas, playgrounds, and swimming areas in the nearby Genesee River.
Overall, these waterfalls offer stunning natural beauty and plenty of opportunities for families to explore and enjoy the outdoors. Be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen, and always follow posted signs and warnings to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.
More FAQs About The Best Waterfalls In New York:
Are there any waterfalls in New York that are wheelchair accessible?
Yes, there are several waterfalls in New York that are wheelchair accessible or have designated viewing areas for those with mobility issues. Some examples include the Lower Falls at Letchworth State Park, the High Falls Gorge in the Adirondacks, and the Lower Falls at Buttermilk Falls State Park. It’s best to check with each individual waterfall’s website or contact them directly to inquire about their accessibility options.
How long does it take to hike to the waterfalls in New York?
The length of time it takes to hike to the waterfalls in New York varies depending on the location and trail difficulty. Some waterfalls, such as Niagara Falls and Taughannock Falls, are easily accessible and require little to no hiking. Others, such as Kaaterskill Falls and Buttermilk Falls, require a moderate to strenuous hike to reach. It’s best to research each individual waterfall’s location and trail difficulty before visiting and plan accordingly.
Which waterfall areas allow swimming?
While swimming in the waterfalls in New York is generally not recommended due to safety concerns, there are some waterfall areas that allow swimming. For example, Watkins Glen State Park and Taughannock Falls State Park both offer swimming areas in nearby lakes. Additionally, some smaller cascades and pools near waterfalls may be suitable for swimming, but it’s important to exercise caution and follow all posted signs and warnings. It’s best to check with each individual waterfall’s website or contact them directly to inquire about their swimming policies and safety guidelines.
New York’s waterfalls are truly a sight to behold. From the thundering power of Niagara Falls to the serene beauty of Kaaterskill Falls, each waterfall offers a unique experience that is worth exploring. Whether you’re a native New Yorker or visiting the state for the first time, make sure to add these stunning waterfalls to your bucket list.
So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to discover the natural beauty of the waterfalls in New York. With so many incredible options to choose from, you’re sure to find a waterfall that will take your breath away. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to witness the majesty of these natural wonders – plan your trip to the waterfalls in New York today!