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Okay, I know TLC fervently stated, “don’t go chasing waterfalls”. And I for sure do not want to be a traitor to my 90s era upbringing. But, I just can’t help myself! I mean, some of the best waterfalls in NY are just so dang beautiful that I NEED to hardcore frolic after a few.

Do you know what I mean? Of course, you do! Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here learning about 17 of the BEST waterfalls in New York.

Because as a New York local for well over twenty years, I know exactly where all of the prettiest waterfalls in NY are hidden. So yes, some of the best waterfalls in NY mentioned here are super snazzy hidden gems…and some will be beyond obvious.

Yes, Niagara Falls, I’m looking at you. 

Also, because I’m a super savvy local, you’ll get expert tips on how to see these waterfalls, photograph them, and even receive helpful info on where to stay during your visit.

So, stick around you Instragm maven you (Kidding. You don’t have to be an Istagram junkie to appreciate the beauty of a waterfall), because we’re about to swan dive into 17 of the best waterfalls in NY. Just not literally since, well, that would be beyond dangerous.

1. Niagara Falls, Buffalo

An aerial view of Niagara Falls in Buffalo NY. Easily one of the best waterfalls in NY.

An aerial view of Niagara Falls in Buffalo NY. Easily one of the best waterfalls in NY.

Real talk for 2.5 seconds here people? No list of the best waterfalls in NY could possibly be complete without mentioning the man, the myth, the legend, Niagara Falls.

I mean it’s one of the most iconic natural wonders of the world (right up there with the Grand Canyon). So yeah, it clearly had to take number one spot on this list of some of the best waterfalls in upstate NY.

Now, does the fact that Niagara Falls sits smack dab in the middle of the urban metropolis that is Buffalo and that it’s within walking distance of dozens of strip malls detract from its beauty? Yeah, a little. 

I know I’ve personally been a couple of times and I am always more than a little disappointed to see that Niagara Falls isn’t tucked away amidst the awe-inspiring natural beauty of some gorg, national park. 

But, the raw power and sheer size of this enormous waterfall is still uber impressive and makes a trip here totally worthwhile – whether you’re planning a romantic getaway in upstate New York or want to go on an awesome road trip from NYC

Whatever you do though, be sure to bring your passport since Niagara Falls consists of three smaller waterfalls that sit at the southern end of Niagara Gorge and that straddle the border between the US and Canada.

So, if you want to snag some of the best views (and photos) of this massive, 167-foot tall waterfall, be sure to head to the Canadian side, eh?

Because from there you can marvel at the fact that a whopping, 65,000 cubic feet of water from Lake Eerie cascades down these falls every second. Yeah, let that mind-boggling statistic sink in for just a second. 

You can also get up close and personal with the falls during a scenic boat tour or, if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, zipline 67 meters above the falls themselves for an all too brief but totally once in a lifetime experience.

Address: Buffalo, NY (They’re right in the city center and straddle the border with Canada)

Cost: Free! But you will need to pay to park anywhere near the Falls. 

Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day (They’re not inside a national park so you can visit any time you like)

Best Time to Visit: Summer. Yes, it’s insanely crowded. But, Buffalo gets hella cold. And since I loved ziplining above the Falls and getting sprayed by the mist of the Falls during my boat tour, I think summer is really the best time to visit. Just get up mad early to avoid the crowds, per usual. 

Where to Stay:

Cavalier Motel (Canadian side) (budget) – With a great location and breakfast included, this motel is a total steal at $41 per night. The staff here are also super friendly and all rooms come with a flat-screen TV, on-demand movies, a mini-bar, toiletries, a sitting area, a bathtub, heating and air-conditioning, and access to the wicked awesome on-site pool. This motel is also within walking distance of several main attractions, including the House of Frankenstein, the Sand Sculptures Exhibition, and the Rock Legends Wax Museum.

Hanover House Bed and Breakfast (American Side) (mid-range) – A charming bed and breakfast in Buffalo, NY that will quickly become your favie fave home away from home. I mean, rooms start at an affordable, $129 per night and include WiFi, a flat-screen TV, a sofa, a clothes rack, ironing facilities, and toiletries. Plus, added bonus? Each morning starts with a full-English breakfast that is made to order and included in the cost of your stay. Something that me and my forever hungry stomach can always get behind.

2. Eternal Flame Falls, Orchard Park

A view of the Eternal Flame Falls near Orchard Park.

A view of the Eternal Flame Falls near Orchard Park.

Located in Shale Creek Reserve in Western NY (near Orchard Park), what this waterfall lacks in size it more than makes up for in majesty.

Because although this upstate New York waterfall is a mere thirty feet tall, it gently falls in front of a natural, eternal flame (hence the name of the falls) that perpetually burns brightly.

Yeah, apparently, this slightly bizarre natural phenomenon is the result of a neverending stream of natural gas that comes up through the cave below.

And truth be told, the flame can sometimes get extinguished. So, bring a lighter and spark this natural gas up if you want to guarantee that you see the flame. 

Also, while this waterfall is truly unlike anything you’ve ever seen, the downside is that you will have to hike along a moderately challenging, 1.4-mile, round trip trail (the hike is along the Shale Creek Trail and should take you a total of 40 minutes) to get there.

So, be sure to wear good hiking clothes, sport a pair of sturdy hiking boots, bring some water, and pack snacks. I’d also try and go earlier in the day since this is a popular local attraction.

FYI, you’ll also want to hop on the trail not at the main park entrance but about 1.5 miles south of the park entrance, further down Route 277.

And once you find the trail, follow the signs to the “Eternal Flame” and “Shale Creek”. You’ll eventially get to a fork in the trail and will want to turn left so that you can walk another 8 minutes to the waterfall. 

Address: Eternal Flame Hiking Trail, Orchard Park, NY 14127

Cost: Free. 

Hours: The Chestnut Ridge Park is open daily from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. 

Best Time to Visit: Fall (late September and early October) This way you can avoid the crowds, enjoy not-so-cold weather, and marvel at the park’s beautiful fall foliage.

Where to Stay (Since the Eternal Flame Falls are about a thirty-minute drive from Buffalo, I’d stay in Buffalo):

Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino (mid-range) – This luxurious resort has rooms that start at just $105 per night and that come sweeping panoramic views of the city (and if you’re extra lucky, of Niagara Falls itself). There’s also an indoor pool and hot tub, as well as a game room, several restaurants with food delivery, a bar, a coffee shop, a casino, and a salon. All rooms also come with free WiFi, satellite TV, a game console, a private shower, toiletries, a hairdryer, ironing facilities, a safe, and coffee making facilities. If you can afford it, DEFO upgrade to the corner king suite with an in-room jacuzzi! I pinkie promise, you will not regret it. 

Hanover House Bed and Breakfast (mid-range) – SEE ABOVE FOR MORE DETAILS. 

3. Indian Brook Falls, Philipstown

Indian Brook Falls near Phillipstown, NY.

Indian Brook Falls near Phillipstown, NY.

Located right near Cold Spring, NY, Indian Brook Falls is one of those awesome, hidden gems that only locals really know about. 

So, if you want to discover one of the best waterfalls in NY for yourself, then just head to the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve and take the easy, 0.6 mile Indian Brook Falls Trail to this stunning, natural oasis.

Do try and arrive early though since there are only about five parking spots in the lot and they do fill up quickly. And since cops in the area WILL give you tickets for parking elsewhere, I wouldn’t risk going rogue and parking on a random side street.

And if you have time, definitely hike the trail to the left, which will take you to the Falls, and the trail to the right, which will take you to the boardwalk and nearby Constitution Marsh.

Also, bring bug spray since it can get quite buggy in the summer.  Oh, and watch out for snakes since I saw a bunch of them the last time I was was here – including in the water so definitely don’t go swimming here. 

Address: 3260 NY-9D, Cold Spring, NY 10516

Cost: Free!

Hours: The Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve is open daily from dawn until dusk. 

Best Time to Visit: Fall (October) so that you can admire the area’s beautiful fall foliage. 

Where to Stay:

Hilton Garden inn (Mid-range) – Offering a selection of rooms that start at just $100 per night, this contemporary hotel in Poughkeepsie offers guests plush, modern rooms with custom-designed beds. Flat-screen TVs with premium cable, microwaves, minifridges, and free WiFi are also included with your stay, as is access to an on-site bar, cooked-to-order continental breakfast (for an additional fee), evening room service, an indoor pool/hot tub, and fitness center.

Roundhouse (Luxury) – Located in downtown Beacon, Roundhouse is a place where you can enjoy a bit of luxury without breaking the bank. All the rooms here start at $175 per night and come with a flat-screen TV and satellite channels, a private bathroom with bathrobes and complimentary toiletries, heating and air conditioning, and of course WiFi. Many of the rooms here also feature charming brick decor that enhances the overall ambiance of your stay. 

4. Lower Falls, Genesse River, Rochester

Lower Falls of the Genesee River in Rochester, NY.

Lower Falls of the Genesee River in Rochester, NY.

Fair warning, the next three insanely beautiful, “best waterfalls in NY” are all located along one river. And that river is the Genessee River. 

So, let’s attempt to make this post as un-confusing as possible (Is that even a word? If not, just humor me and go with it) and start at the Lower Falls along the Genesee River and work our way upstream. 

And the best thing about the Lower Falls? Yeah, they’re located right in the middle of Rochester. So, although the surrounding urban sprawl may detract from some of their natural beauty, you definitely won’t get lost trying to find this immortal, natural wonder of Rochester. 

You also don’t need to endure any elaborate hikes to get here and can stand on a nearby bridge and look at the water as it picturesquely falls beneath you. 

If you want. you can also descend to the base of the Falls and get a totally different perspective from there, where you might even encounter a local fisherman or two. 

Plus, the Falls are located inside the cute and aptly named Lower Falls Park. So, you can always pack a picnic lunch or walk along some of the walking paths that this greenspace has to offer. 

Address: 50 Hastings St, Rochester, NY 14613

Cost: Free!

Hours: Open daily from 5:00 am to 11:00 pm. 

Best Time to Visit: Summer. Yeah, Rochester is hella cold most other times of the year.

Where to Stay: 

School 31 Lofts (mid-range) – Located right in the heart of Rochester, this amazing establishment offers guests all the benefits of modern living and has big flatscreen TVs, hot tubs, room service, and WiFi in every single room. There’s even a golf course nearby and if you want to make your experience extra special, you can book a penthouse apartment right now! Otherwise, all of their other rooms are priced at $150 per night.

Woodcliff Hotel and Spa (luxury) – It’s pampering time! And there’s no better place for a little TLC than the Woodcliff Hotel and Spa, where all guests enjoy access to a sauna, massage parlor, steam room, full gym, hot tubs, and indoor and outdoor pools. There’s also free WiFi in every room, a bar, an on-site restaurant serving 4-star meals, a coffee shop, and room service. The staff here is also super friendly, which means you’ll never want to leave, even if rooms here start at $201 per night.

5. Middle Falls, Genesee River, Letchworth State Park

The Middle falls in Letchworth State Park on the Genesee River in NY.

The Middle falls in Letchworth State Park on the Genesee River in NY.

Standing at an impressive 107 feet tall, a hike to the Middle Falls along the Genesee River is easily one of the best things to do in Letchworth State Park. 

And the good news? While you’re in the area, you can admire one of the best waterfalls in NY from a variety of different vantage points, all of which are easily accessible from well-paved, walking paths that are just a hop, skip, and jump away from the parking lot (PSST…there’s also a great vantage point from the historic, Glen Iris Inn in the park. And yes, you can actually book a room here and spend the night). 

So, a big hooray for supremely lazy people like me who don’t really feel like walking very far to see the Middle Falls. 

Oh, and just in case you’re not in the know, the canyon here, AKA Portage Canyon, is fondly referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East” since the rugged, sweeping depth of this canyon, with the beautiful Genessee Rivers running through it, definitely reminds people (me included) of it’s bigger cousin in the west. 

And for a fantastic view of both the Upper and Middle Falls, as well as the canyon itself, head to Inspiration Point for panoramas that will quite literally, take your breath away. 

You’ll also be delighted to know that:

  1. The Upper Falls (which I’ll talk about next) are just a quick walk upstream
  2. The rectangular shape of these falls make it the perfect place to set up your tripod and take some long-exposure photos. 
  3. If you don’t feel like lugging around your beyond heavy tripod, then you can always place your camera on some nearby concrete barricades and take photos from there. No really, the angle is pretty dang good. 

Yup, you’re welcome and happy photographing my Insta loving homie. 

***I also haven’t seen this myself since I left before dark but rumor has it that the park actually light’s these waterfalls up in the evening, from May through October. Yup, mind blown.***

Address: 1 Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427

Cost: Since this waterfall is located within a New York State park, you’ll typically pay between $6 and $10 per vehicle for day use of the park.

Hours:  Open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm. 

Best Time to Visit: Fall to avoid the crowds and to see beautiful fall foliage surround the waterfall. 

Where to Stay:

See above for hotel recs since the park is about a 45-minute drive from Rochester, making it the perfect day trip. Or, if you actually want to stay in the park itself, then you could always book a room at the aforementioned Glen Iris Inn. I haven’t stayed there myself, but this hotel dates all the way back to 1914 and actually overlooks the falls themself. The rooms here, which start at $170 per night, are also modest, feature simple decor, and include private bathrooms, with suites offering more elegant furnishings, a private whirlpool tub, a private porch,  a separate sitting room. and waterfall views. A delicious, upscale, American restaurant is also on-site that is known for serving damn good food. 

6. Upper Falls, Genesee River, Letchworth State Park

The stunning, Upper Falls of Letchworth State Park with the railway bridge behind it.

The stunning, Upper Falls of Letchworth State Park with the railway bridge behind it.

Oh, hello dear reader! Are you ready to mosey on up the Genesse River with me?

If you are then, brace yourself. Because we’re about to walk an arduous…five minutes up the river

And by arduous, I mean not at all since another one of the best waterfalls in NY is a mere hop, skip, and jump away from the Middle Falls that I just mentioned.

So yeah, while you’re in Letchworth Park, be sure to visit the Upper Falls and take copious amounts of photos of this ridiculously beautiful feature of the region’s vibrant, natural landscape.

This way, you can adeptly use social media to make all your friends super jelly of your beyond fabulous life.  

And like the Middle Falls, this is one the best waterfalls in upstate NY that is super easy to get to, and that provides you with a ton of epic photo ops. So yes, come duly prepared and rejoice in the fact that you’ll have easy access to multiple vantage points. 

Also, while this waterfall might be infinitely smaller than its downriver brother, with a drop that measures just 40 feet, what it lacks in size it more than makes up for with charm since an old railway bridge that dates back to the mid-19th century, and that towers 230 feet in the air, serves as its majestic backdrop. 

Address: 1 Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427

Cost: Since this waterfall is located within a New York State park, you’ll typically pay between $6 and $10 per vehicle for day use of the park.

Hours: Open daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm. 

Best Time to Visit: Fall to avoid the crowds and to see beautiful fall foliage surround the waterfall. 

Where to Stay:

See above since it’s literally in the same national park. 

7. Rainbow Falls at Ausable Chasm in the Adirondacks

Fall foliage surrounds the impressive Rainbow Falls of Ausable Chasm in the Adirondacks.

Fall foliage surrounds the impressive Rainbow Falls of Ausable Chasm in the Adirondacks.

AHH! I love this waterfall so much! Why? Not only is it insanely beautiful but it’s a 30-minute drive from where I’m currently living and where I basically spent every summer of my natural born life.

Yup, Adirondacks life for the win.

This is also one of the best waterfalls in NY that is really easy to get to since it is literally right off the main road.

So, if you don’t want to pay to actually hike through the interior of Ausable Chasm, you can always just admire this stunning waterfall from outside the main entrance. I mean, not gonna lie, this free view is probably one of the best places from which to photograph this waterfall.

Just be forewarned that the flow of the waterfall is controlled by a nearby hydro-electric company. So, on some days, this waterfall can appear less than impressive. 

Because although it’s in a “developed” area, the surrounding landscape is still pretty picturesque and the waterfall itself is flanked by some charming AF, uber-historic buildings. 

However, if you have the cash and are coming here as part of a nice day trip from Lake Placid (it’s less than an hour drive away from Lake Placid) or Saranac Lake, then I’d definitely pay the $17.95 for an adult ticket and hike through the wealth of incredibly easy, well-paved walking trails that line the gorge.

Skip the white water rafting though since my family and I did it and it was pretty lame. I’m also used to class four rapids though, so if you’re looking for a nice, easy, quiet paddle through a beautiful gorge, then you’ll enjoy it.

The wealth of trails here are also incredibly well-marked and suitable for people of any age since you have a  0.05% chance of getting lost. 

PSST…if you’re into history then you can also visit the North Star Railroad Underground Museum (right across the street) while you’re here and stop by the Turtle Island Cafe for some lunch (about 20 minutes down the road) since this informal eatery serves some pretty good burgers and sandwiches. They even have a delicious veggie burger on the menu that I’ve tried and personally enjoyed many times.

Address: 2144 U.S. 9, Ausable Chasm, NY 12911

Cost: You don’t have to pay to photograph the waterfalls from the bridge above. But, if you want to actually enter Ausable Chasm and explore the area, you’ll need to pay a minimum of $17.95 for adults and $9.95 for children between the ages of 5 and 12 since kids under 5 are free. Not gonna lie, Ausable Chasm in kind of a tourist trap so I’d pay the minimum fee of $17.95 to see it once and that’s it. That’s why I personally would NOT splurge on any of the more expensive packages that you’ll find on their website. 

Hours: Ausbale Chasm is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm between June 26th and September 7th. The last admission is also typically an hour before they close. 

Best Time to Visit: Spring since runoff from the melting snow means that the flow of the waterfall is pretty intense and thereby impressive.

Where to Stay (There are not a lot of places to stay in the area so I’d base yourself in Lake Placid and then take a day trip here):

High Peaks Resort (Mid-range) – With rooms that overlook Mirror Lake and that start at $130 per night, High Peaks Resort is the place to be. Because you’ll adore the central location of this hotel, as well as bright rooms and suites that showcase sophisticated, Adirondack-themed decor that includes stone-tiled walk-in showers, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and minifridges. Splurge on one of their premium suites and you’ll get direct shore access, an in-room fireplace, and a private whirlpool tub. If you want, you can even borrow one of the resorts free kayaks or paddleboards and go out onto the lake. Afterward, feel free to relax at either their on-site, casual American restaurant or at the refined bar and lounge with a lovely fireplace. Finally, enjoy some of the hotel’s many other amenities, including a fitness center, as well as one indoor and two outdoor pools.

Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa (Luxury) – A Lakeview room here starts at $374 per night and offers enchanting views of nearby Mirror Lake. Warm blankets are also provided so that you can fully enjoy your outdoor balcony on even the coldest, winter night. There are also two onsite restaurants and an indoor pool for you to enjoy, as well as a wonderful spa. There are also several communal sitting areas where you can cozy up next to a roaring fire and enjoying complimentary afternoon cookies.

8. Waterfall at Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla

The New Croton Dam and waterfall in Valhalla, NY.

The New Croton Dam and waterfall in Valhalla, NY.

Okay, can I be real with you for about 2.5 seconds?

Yes, this is a stunning waterfall in NY, which is why it makes it onto my list of the best waterfalls in New York. But, and this is a big but, there really is not much else to do here.

Sure, you can walk around the park and venture atop the Kensico Dam (that’s what us locals call it), but that’s about it. So, I would definitely not make a special trip here if you’re from outside NYC or from another state entirely.

However, if you’re based in Westchester or are looking for an easy day trip from NYC, then you can always hop on MetroNorth, get off at Valhalla, and explore the park here since it’s within walking distance of the station.

I would also try and visit in the summer since a lot of great events are held here (think outdoor movies, carnivals, festivals, etc.). You can also pack a picnic lunch, relax on the vast lawn, and take in the greenery all around you. 

FYI, this waterfall is also insanely easy to find since it’s right off the Bronx River Parkway and is surrounded by concrete paths that you’ll have no trouble traversing. 

Plus, if you have time, you can go down the road to Sleepy Hollow (it’s a fifteen-minute drive away) and check out some of the fab eateries and charming shops that line the main street there. This lovely little town sits right on the Hudson so you can go down to the river and enjoy the sweeping views there too. 

Address: 1 Bronx River Pkwy Rd, Valhalla, NY 10595

Cost: Free!

Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm but closes at dusk in the winter.

Best Time to Visit: Summer. This place is big so it never feels crowded and the summer is when many fun, special events come to the area, You can also picnic, stroll along the many walking paths, marvel at the waterfall (it will be on your left when facing the dam), and visit the small, on-site 9/11 Memorial (adjacent to the dam and to your right). 

Where to Stay (There are really no hotels in the area so I’d stay in nearby Cold Spring, which is a 40-minute drive away):

Hilton Garden inn (Mid-range) – Rooms here start at $100 per night and for more information, please see my entry about Indian Brook Falls. 

Roundhouse (Luxury) – Rooms here start at $175 per night and for more information, please see my entry about Indian Brook Falls. 

9. Taughannock Falls, Ulysses

Fall foliage surrounds the beautiful, Taughannock Falls in Ulysses, NY.

Fall foliage surrounds the beautiful, Taughannock Falls in Ulysses, NY.

Just a short 15-minute drive from Ithaca is one of the most beautiful and best waterfalls in NY. It also sits inside the Taughannock Falls Park and is easily the park’s most iconic attraction since, well, the entire park was actually named after this waterfall.

So, if you’re looking for one of the best waterfalls in Ithaca, NY then look no further than this 215-foot tall waterfall, which carves a 400-foot deep gorge through the layers of sandstone, shale, and limestone that make up the ground below.

And just for a bit of added perspective, although this waterfall may not be as big as Niagara Falls, it’s much taller and stands a full three stories higher than it’s big brother in Buffalo. So yeah, let that fun factoid sink it for a hot minute. 

However, not surprisingly, this park is hella popular. So, try to get here as early as possible since parking lots can fill up quickly and become closed off to additional visitors. 

There are also multiple hiking trails that will offer you stunning views of the falls and the gorge below, including the easy 0.75 mile Gorge Trail, the 1.125 miles moderate South Rim Trail, and the 1.5 miles moderate North Rim Trail (these trails will be to your left as you enterthe park).

 However, the rocks along many of these trails can get quite slippery, so be sure to wear good hiking boots and stay on the well-marked path.

And if you don’t really feel like hiking, then as you enter the park, turn left on Taughannock Park Road and follow the signs to a scenic overlook that will offer you sweeping views of the Falls below.

Address: 1740 Taughannock Blvd., Trumansburg, NY 14886

Cost: $8 per vehicle to enter the park. 

Hours: Open daily from dawn to dusk. 

Best Time to Visit: Fall. You’ll deal with fewer people,  will appreciate the brisk temperatures while you’re hiking, and can enjoy the beautiful fall foliage that surrounds the waterfall. 

Where to Stay: 

La Tourelle Hotel and Spa (mid-range) – With rooms that start at just $120 per night, you can enjoy all the amenities of a posh, upscale establishment, but without the high price tag of one. Guests will also love that the building is set on a secluded, 70 acres of land that is still just 3.5 miles away from downtown Ithaca. Rooms also feature traditional style decor that includes free WIFI, flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, minifridges, and dual showerheads. A farm-to-table bistro is also on-site, as is a steak house and an enchanting little spa. And yes, those spa treatments are NOT included in the cost of your room. 

Hilton Garden Inn Ithaca (mid-range) – For a quiet stay inside Ithaca, this hotel is ideal. It’s just a 2-minute walk from Ithaca Commons and offers guests delightful, contemporary rooms that include custom-designed beds, flat-screen TVs with premium cable channels, microwaves, minifridges, desks with ergonomic chairs, and free WiFi. Suites are also available and feature separate living areas that include pull-out sofas, and whirlpool tubs. For a reasonable $120 per night, you can even enjoy cooked-to-order breakfast and take advantage of access to an on-site fitness center, indoor pool, and whirlpool. 

10. Chittenango Falls, Cazenovia

One of the best waterfalls in NY is Chittenango Falls in Cazenovia.

One of the best waterfalls in NY is Chittenango Falls in Cazenovia.

Located inside the aptly named, 193 acre, Chittenango Falls State Park in Cazenovia, this immortal New York waterfall stands at 167 feet tails and sends a cascade of water through an area filled with 400-million-year-old bedrock. 

At the bottom of one of the best waterfalls in NY, you’ll also find the lovely, Chittenango Creek, which meanders beneath a delightful little wooden bridge. 

For the best views of the Falls though, take the park’s winding, 0.25 mile Gorge Trail into the gorge and you can snag a killer view of the falls from the footbridge and scenic overlook area. Once you’ve gotten as many photos as your camera can hold,  proceed to go back along the Gorge Trail on the opposite side and continue on to the 0.17 mile Creekside Trail. 

However, if you’re looking for a lsightly more challenging hike, you can always do an easy trek along the 0.85-mile Chips Trail, which funnels into the 0.55 mile Meadow Trail on the opposite side of the park. And no, neither of these trails will take you past Chittenango Falls. 

Address: 2300 Rathbun Rd, Cazenovia, NY 13035

Cost: $3 per car during weekdays and $5 per car on the weekends and holidays. 

Hours: Open daily from dawn to dusk. 

Best Time to Visit: Fall. Fewer crowds and beautiful fall foliage all around you. Because yeah, I love me some fall foliage up in the NY. 

Where to Stay:

Hampton Inn and Suites in Cazenovia (mid-range) – Yeah, there aren’t a whole lot of places to stay in Cazenovia. But, if you’re looking for a nice hotel to stay in, you really can’t go wrong with the Hampton Inn and Suites. Yes, it’s a chain, but rooms start at a reasonable $95 per night and sit only a mile away from beautiful, Cazenovia Lake. And although slightly standard in nature, rooms here include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, minifridges, and breakfast from a hot, on-site buffet. There’s also an indoor pool and a fitness center. You know, just in case you wanna work off some of those glorious breakfast carbs that we all love just a little too much.  

11. Rainbow Falls, Watkins Glen

The beautiful waterfalls and bridges you'll find in Watkins Glen State Park.

The beautiful waterfalls and bridges you’ll find in Watkins Glen State Park.

I recently visited Watkins Glen state park for the first time and let’s just say, I was not disappointed. It’s basically like a thin slice of Middle Earth right here in New York (all of my fellow LOTR fans will get that reference and know what I mean). 

It’s also home to 19 different waterfalls that cascade down stunning, sheer cliffs and deep gorges that make up the center of the park. 

The park is also really easy to find. Just type “Watkins Glen State Park” into your GPS and, tada, you’ll discover this glorious little park sitting just along the edge of town/.

And while you can get some pretty stellar waterfall views from outside the main entrance of the park, I would highly recommend going for a hike along the stunning, 3-mile round trip, Gorge Trail, which leads into the Indian Loop. It’s not a difficult trail, is well-paved, and should take about an hour and a half to complete (other trails you may want to check out include the South Rim Trail, the Indian Trail, and Punch Bowl Road).

It also offers you beyond stunning, up close and personal views of the many waterfalls in the area, including Rainbow Falls. 

But, it can get slippery, so be sure to wear shoes with good grip and bring plenty of water, unless you want to buy some at one of the park’s many entrances. 

There’s also no entrance fee into the park, per se, but if you use the designated parking lot, you will have to pay an $8, day-use fee for your vehicle that includes access to the on-site pool. 

FYI, this fee is waived when the Gorge Trail is closed throughout the late fall and into the winter season. You can also get around this by parking on one of the many side streets in town and then just taking a quick 15-minute walk to the park. 

Address: 1009 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891

Cost: $8 per vehicle unless the Gorge Trail is closed. 

Hours: Open daily from dawn until dusk (This park is popular and fills up quickly so get here EARLY, especially on weekends). 

Best Time to Visit: Fall because the foliage is just stunning. The crowds also aren’t THAT bad. Just try and visit before the end of October since that’s when the Gorge Trail typically closes. 

Where to Stay: 

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel (Mid-range) – With reasonably priced rooms that start at just $125 per night, this stylish hotel offers guests a wealth of contemporary rooms and suites that include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and charming sitting areas. Some suites even feature patios, balconies with sweeping views of the lake; and private Jacuzzis. Access to a complimentary coffee station is also available, as is 24-hour room service. There’s even a nice American restaurant onsite, as well as a heated indoor pool, Jacuzzi, and fitness center.

Idlewild B&B (Luxury) – Set inside a Victorian-era mansion from 1892, this charming B&B is just a ten-minute walk from Seneca Lake and a 1.6-mile drive away from Watkins Glenn State Park. However, in addition to the hotel’s amazing location, the 18 rooms here start at $175 per night and are outfitted with traditional 4 poster beds and decorative fireplaces that retain much of the building’s original charm. Sure, some rooms have shared bathrooms. But, this is a small inconvenience that is easily outshone by the stunning views that rooms here have of the lake nearby lake, Breakfast is also included with your stay and served daily in the formal dining room. 

12. Kaaterskill Falls, Catskills

Beautiful Kaaterskills Falls in the Catskills.

Beautiful Kaaterskills Falls in the Catskills.

Located in the Catskills region of the state, Kaaterskills Falls is easily one of the best waterfalls in NY since it is a series of two waterfalls that reach a high of 260 feet in total.

So yeah, it is easily one of the tallest waterfalls in New York since the upper waterfall has a drop of 175 feet, while the lower waterfall features a very respectable, 85-foot drop too.

Now, although this stunning waterfall can be accessed from both above and below, I highly recommend starting at the top and then working your way down since it’s safer. Which is important to someone like me who is, um, hi, a walking disaster.

Taking this route will also give you access to a scenic overlook that is handicapped accessible So yeah, that’s awesome since we are all about inclusivity here at Girl with the Passport.

Also, even though there are a couple of different places to park, I’d opt for snagging a spot in the largest parking lot, which is located near Haines Falls, New York, at the end of Laurel House Road (just off of North Lake Road). Sure, you’ll miss Bastion Falls but you can always catch that waterfall from Route 23A.

Plus, this is just a generally much safer starting point when planning a hike to the falls – a hike with ample signage, that is an easy, 0.3 miles to the upper viewing platform, and the offers visitors enchanting views of the upper portion of the falls and the surrounding Catskills Mountains. 

If you are able to, I would then descend to the bottom of the falls, which is a much more challenging trail since you are going downhill along a path that is lined with a ton of roots and rocks for you can trip on (Yup, been there, done that).

In total, this section of the hike is about 0.75 miles or 1.4 miles round trip and will take you past an old hotel, across a bridge over Spruce Creek,  Just follow the signs (it’s really well marked) and be sure to wear good hiking shoes since portions of this hike can be tricky to traverse. 

Now, when you hit a junction in the trail, continue straight ahead and you will be taken to the mid-level of the Upper Falls. And while this area may be beautiful, the spray from the Falls is intense and makes it almost impossible to take photos. 

So, head back to the junction and ascend to the base of the waterfall for the best and most classic photo ops of one of the best waterfalls in NY.

And when you’re finally finished taking in the natural beauty that surrounds you, just go back the way you came and you’re all set. 

Just be aware that this place is uber-popular. So, if you want to make sure you have a place to park, get there EARLY on the weekends. Or. visit early on a weekday morning and you’ll basically have the place all to yourself. 

Address: NY-23A, Haines Falls, NY 12436

Cost: Free!

Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day but I 100% would NOT hike in the dark. 

Best Time to Visit: Fall, around late October, since you’ll catch the tail end of the fall foliage, the crowds won’t be as intense, and the weather still won’t be THAT cold. 

Where to Stay (I’d stay in nearby Woodstock and then drive 30-minutes to the Falls):

Morning Glory B&B (mid-range) – What can I say? This place is straight-up ideal since you get a full English/Irish or Asian style breakfast as well as an idyllic setting and comfy AF beds  FYI, some of the rooms here, which start at $115 per night, do come with shared bathrooms. So, if that’s an issue for you, be sure to book one with a private bathroom. All the rooms here also include free WiFi, as well as a garden view. 

Tentrr in Shady Knolls (mid-range) – Located just outside of Woodstock, this is an ideal place to stay since you’ll basically be glamping out in the wilderness. So yeah, there’s no TV or bathroom (this is still camping after all!), but these super snazzy luxury tents do come with their own linens, a heater, a personal balcony, and a comfy queen-sized bed – which is to be expected since tents here cost $150 per night.

13. Ithaca Falls, Ithaca

Beautiful Ithaca Falls in Ithaca, NY.

Beautiful Ithaca Falls in Ithaca, NY.

Located inside the beautiful, and appropriately named, Ithaca Falls Natural Area, this awe-inspiring, 150-foot tall and 175-foot wide waterfall is conveniently located, well, right in Ithaca.

I know, it’s super shocking that it’s in Ithaca given the name of the waterfall. LOL (Insert overt sarcasm here).

But, I digress. Anyway, you’ll be delighted to know that yet another one of the best waterfalls in NY is SUPER easy to find. 

Just take Aurora Street. north about 0.7 miles to Lincoln Street, turn right, and then make a hard left onto Lake Street.

From here, you’ll be able to see the water from Fall Creek making its incredible descent into Cayuga Lake. on your right. You can also park on any of the nearby streets or in the small lot right by the falls.

And, added bonus? The trail is really short and easy. But for the best shots, go to the bridge over Lake Street or walk along the footpath near Fall Creek. 

Yup, you’re welcome.

 Address: Lake St, Ithaca, NY 14850

Cost: Free!

Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day.

Best Time to Visit: Summer. It’s not cold and you can have a nice picnic in the area. 

Where to Stay:

Hilton Garden Inn (mid-range) – Rooms start at $120 per night. For more information, see the hotels listed under entry number 9. 

La Tourelle Hotel and Spa (mid-range) – Rooms here are also $120 per night. For more information, see the hotels listed under entry number 9. 

14. Lucifer Falls, Robert H Treman State Park, Ithaca

Vibrant fall foliage surrounds Lucifer Falls in Ithaca, NY.

Vibrant fall foliage surrounds Lucifer Falls in Ithaca, NY.

Located in the 1,110 acre Robert H Treman State Park, this is one of the best waterfalls in NY that is a mere, 15-minute drive from Ithaca. 

It’s also an impressive 115 feet tall and can be reached by parking at the West Entrance of the park. From here,  take the Gorge Trail directly to the falls. It also connects with the South Rim Trail, which will provide visitors with stellar views of Lucifer Falls as well. 

Just come prepared (i.e. bring water, snacks, and good hiking shoes) since this is one of the longer hikes on this list and is a total of 4.3 miles round trip. It’s definitely not THAT difficult but will probably take you around two and a half hours to complete.

This trail is also currently only operating in one direction. Yeah, kind of annoying since you’ll have to ascend via the Rim Trail and then descend via the Gorge Trail. 

Address: 105 Enfield Falls Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850

Cost: An $8 fee for single, day-use vehicles. 

Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. 

Best Time to Visit: Summer. It’s not cold and you can have a nice picnic in the area. 

Where to Stay:

See above for more information. 

15. Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca

The beautiful Buttermilk Falls just outside of Ithaca, NY.

The beautiful Buttermilk Falls just outside of Ithaca, NY.

Just a hop, skip, and jump away from Lucifer Falls is Buttermilk Falls – another one of the best waterfalls in NY.

Okay, in truth it’s actually about a 15-minute drive away, but you know what I mean. You could easily make a day of it and visit both waterfalls at the same time.

Now, not surprisingly, this awesome, 165-foot tall waterfall that is made up of water that flows from Buttermilk Creek and plummets into Cayuga Lake. it is also located within the well-named, 911 acre Buttermilk Falls State Park – a name that seems totally random, LOL (insert sarcasm here).

FYI, it’s also easily accessible from the park entrance since all you really have to do is take a gorge-ous (Yup, beyond lame puns, are a GO!), 1.7-mile, out and back hike along The Gorge Rim Trail, which starts at the base of the waterfall you’ll see at the entrance of the park. 

As you continue your way down this easy to traverse, stone path, you’ll encounter several slightly strenuous sets of stairs to climb and a few enchanting little waterfalls along the way.

That being said though, most people should have exactly zero problems with this hike since you can stop for a rest at one of several beautiful overlooks of the waterfall. 

Alternatively, you could always take the Rim Trail on the way back. This way, you can admire new natural landscapes and walk along the top of the Gorge and not through it again, like you did on your hike to the waterfall. 

Address: 106 E Buttermilk Falls Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850

Cost: $8 vehicle daily use from April through November.

Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 7:30 pm. 

Best Time to Visit: Summer so that you can actually go swimming at the base of the falls. 

Where to Stay:

See previous entries for info on where to stay in Ithaca. 

16. High Falls, High Falls Gorge, Wilmington

Adirondacks Peak Fall Foliage in upstate New York along the Ausable River and High Falls Gorge.

Located within close proximity to both Whiteface Mountain AND Lake Placid, High Falls Gorge is a 22-acre park in the Adirondacks that has no less than, count em, FOUR different, wonderfully breathtaking waterfalls for you to enjoy.

So, after you purchase your tickets, walk along the well-paved, family-friendly, half-mile-long trail that takes you through the ever-enchanting, High Falls Gorge – a place where the majestic, AuSable River pours into the canyons and crevices of the narrow canyons below. 

In total, this “hike” (it’s really easy so it’s more like a leisurely stroll) should take around 45-minutes to complete and will take you past some of the best waterfalls in NY. Along the way, you’ll also walk over modern bridges with glass platforms and discover a wealth of informational signs that detail the unique history of this amazing place.

And if you’re after a hike that is a bit more challenging, you can always traverse a one-mile long, beginner/intermediate nature trail that with semi-steep inclines and uneven surfaces, a fact that makes closed-toe shoes more than a little essential.

But real talk? Yeah, this nature trail really isn’t all that difficult since I did it with no problem and am easily one of the. most sedentary humans ever. 

Address: 4761 NY-86, Wilmington, NY 12997

Cost:Adult tickets are $13 and children’s tickets are $10 (age 4 – 12)

Hours: Currently closed but generally opens in May, Friday through Tuesday, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  

Best Time to Visit: Spring (AKA May) when the water flow through the area is at its heaviest.

Where to Stay:

Hungry Trout Resort (mid-range) – Also accepts hungry humans! Yeah, I kid, I kid! But in all seriousness, this may not be the most luxurious hotel on the planet. However, that’s totally okay by me since rooms at this western-style fishing lodge cost just $90 per night are anything but fishy (LOL). You can also drop your line in the nearby Ausable River or enjoy a hearty meal at the on-site restaurant. There’s also a seasonal outdoor swimming pool for you to enjoy, as well as a bar that will serve you some pretty decent cocktails by the aforementioned pool.

Adirondack Spruce Lodge (luxury) –  This rustic inn oozes charm and over-the-top comfort. Something that is only outmatched only by the area’s breathtaking views. Plus, not many hotels can brag that they serve their delicious BBQ dinners with delightful, mountainside views! This hotel is also centrally located, has luxurious rooms that start at $245 per night, and is within five miles of both Whiteface Mountain and High Falls Gorge. 

17. Cohoes Falls, Cohoes

An aerial view of Cohoes Falls along the Mohawk River.

An aerial view of Cohoes Falls along the Mohawk River.

Just a short, 30-minute drive from Saratoga Springs is Cohoes Falls, a majestic, 1,000 foot wide, and 180-foot tall waterfall that sits in the middle of the Mohawk River and that is easily one of the best things to do in Saratoga Springs

It’s also really easy to get to since the designated “view park” right near Harmony Mills that is open from May through November.

Yeah, it’s basically this cute little 4-acre park that offers visitors stellar views of the aforementioned waterfall.

Just enter through the park’s upper level on Mohawk Street and walk along the 192-foot pedestrian bridge here. There’s also a wealth of informational signage in the area for you to check out as well as picnic areas, fishing platforms, and a 90-person amphitheater. 

Next, take the stairway down to the lower level where you’ll discover another viewing deck and more fishing platforms.

And although you might want to check out the riverbed access area just beneath you, it’s currently closed to the public,

Yup, womp, womp, womp. 

Address: 231-341 N Mohawk St, Cohoes, NY 12047

Cost: Free

Hours: Open daily from 7:00 am till dusk from May through November. 

Best Time to Visit: Winter since it’s pretty dang stunning. Cold, but stunning., even though the park isn’t technically open. 

Where to stay:

Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa (mid-range) – What I love most about the Gideon Putnam is that it feels like an uber-plush resort but actually comes with a MUCH lower price tag. Because rooms here start at just $110 per night. They also offer comfy beds and free WiFi. As a guest here, you’ll also enjoy access to the on-site spa, sauna, outdoor swimming pool, and fitness center. There’s even an onsite restaurant and bar, in addition to room service if you’re lookinf for a quiet night in.

Brentwood Hotel (mid-range) – Located between downtown Saratoga Springs and Saratoga Spa State Park,  all rooms here start at $119 per night and come with a private bathroom, a minibar, a balcony/terrace, WiFi, satellite TV, a shower, toiletries, air-conditioning, and heating. They are also tastefully decorated with great attention to detail. Complimentary toiletries are also available, as is access to an onsite bar and free parking. 

Alright all you super snazzy cool kids who are infinitely cooler than me, This just about wraps up my guide to 17 of the best waterfalls in NY. 

So, get those magical jazz hands at the ready because we done with this post and about to party up in here.

Or, curl up beneath our nice, warm, snuggies. You know, whichever of these two scenarios seems more likely to you (Cough, the second one. Cough, I’m old). 

And if you found this post even a little bit helpful, then pin this now so that you can read it again later!

 

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