New York is famed for its glistening lakes, rough mountains, and large, busy metropolises. The most sumptuous and magnificent features of this East Coast state, on the other hand, are sometimes overlooked. We’re talking about the city’s breathtaking waterfalls – natural wonders that are so lovely that they’re among the top sites to photograph in New York.
Tourists go to New York’s most stunning waterfalls because they are so breathtaking that they will trek through lush forests, ascend rugged terrain, scale cliff faces, and meander down highway shoulders just to marvel at their grandeur. Once you’ve experienced the gentle, refreshing mist on your face, heard the deafening roar of the water, and seen the stunning plunge for yourself, you’ll understand why so many tourists rush to these natural wonders.
If you want to view the waterfalls at their most spectacular, make sure to arrange your vacation around their peak season. Seeing waterfalls in New York is best done during the early spring when they are bursting at their seams with water from the snowmelt. During other seasons of the year, particularly between late spring and early fall, you’ll often discover trickles where there should be gushes owing to dry weather, which can be frustrating. This does not rule out the possibility of visiting the falls at these times. It simply means that you will not have the opportunity to watch the most amazing surge of their cascades.
The best waterfalls in New York are diverse in size, ranging from trickling cataracts to roaring chutes, and they are well worth a visit regardless of their size. Even better, keep returning to them time and time again. Are you unsure of where to begin? With our list of the best waterfalls in New York, you may pick and choose the best areas to visit.
- 1. Niagara Falls
- 2. Middle Falls, Letchworth State Park
- 3. Plattekill Falls
- 4. Buttermilk Falls
- 5. Taughannock Falls
- 6. Eternal Flames Falls
- 7. Kaaterskill Falls
- 8. Rainbow Falls, Watkins Glen State Park
- 9. Rainbow Falls, Ausable Chasm
- 10. Chittenango Falls
- 11. Mine Kill Falls
- 12. Fawn’s Leap
- 13. Awosting Falls
- 14. Eagle’s Cliff Falls
- 15. Diamond Notch Falls
- 16. Lower Falls
- 17. High Falls in Rochester
- 18. Ithaca Falls
- 19. Upper Falls, Letchworth State Park
- 20. Bash Bish Falls
- 21. OK Slip Falls
- 22. Salmon River Falls
- 23. Carpenter Falls
- 24. Verkeerderkills Falls
- 25. Indian Brook Falls
- 26. Vernooy Kill Falls
1. Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is unquestionably the best waterfall in New York, and it tops the list of the best in the state. This magnificent wonder is the greatest waterfall in the state and one of the largest in the world, and it is a must-see location on many people’s bucket lists.
The Horseshoe Falls, the greatest of the three plunges that make up Niagara Falls, is located on the Niagara River. It stands 173 feet tall and spans approximately 2,600 feet in width, making it the tallest structure in the world. Every second, more than 150,000 gallons of water are poured over this breathtaking scene. It’s no surprise that this site has been designated as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of North America.
From the Canadian side, the best view of the falls is said to be. Niagara Falls, Canada, is known for its kitschy attractions such as Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and a number of wax museums. It goes without saying that a visit to the amazing Journey Behind the Falls, which allows guests to explore tunnels that lie 125 feet below the falls, is a must.
Take a ride on the Maid of the Mist to get a close-up view of the falls from the American side of the border. Wear one of the ponchos that will be given because you will almost certainly get wet! The American Niagara Falls is more tranquil and serene than the Canadian Niagara Falls. The city has been dubbed the “Honeymoon Capital of the World,” which is not unexpected.
2. Middle Falls, Letchworth State Park
The Genesee River rushes magnificently through a massive valley in Letchworth State Park, plunging loudly over three stunning waterfalls on its way to the Finger Lakes region. Middle Falls, at 107 feet in height, is the most impressive of these cascades and is unquestionably one of the best waterfalls in New York.
This watery beauty is more than twice as wide as it is tall. Also, because of the pleasant walking pathways that wind around the area, you’ll want to capture this scene in a billion shots, which is simple to do from virtually every vantage point. You’re not a huge walker, are you? Leaving from the Falls Area parking lot, hike up Trail 1 (also known as the Gorge Trail) for a quick and easy way to this spectacular natural wonder.
Tip from the insider: Visit during the summer evenings when the falls are illuminated for an even more remarkable experience.
Letchworth State Park, also known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” is a natural wonderland that is really breathtaking in its beauty. When you’re standing next to its towering trees, cliffs, and waterfalls, you’ll feel insignificant and insignificant. Along with 66 miles of hiking trails, the Humphrey Nature Center, a pool, white river rafting, and hot air ballooning, the area is also home to a variety of other attractions.
3. Plattekill Falls
The walk to Plattekill Falls is only half a mile long, but it is extremely steep. This is also a great place to cool off after hiking the Huckleberry Point Trail, which is located nearby. By the time you reach the private land signs at the bottom of the cove, you should have counted at least 15 waterfalls along the way. Remember to wear appropriate footwear when hiking up to the falls because the rocks might be slippery and sharp on the way.
4. Buttermilk Falls
Buttermilk Falls is a place where you can have some old-fashioned fun. Buttermilk Falls State Park, in Ithaca, is home to a series of ten cascades, the most remarkable of which is the gorgeous waterfalls that are worth photographing.
The falls, which are divided into two sections, plunges from a height of more than 165 feet, curving around a gorge as they make their way to their ultimate, ultra-fun destination: a swimming hole. One of the most enjoyable activities in Buttermilk Falls State Park is to go swimming here.
Buttermilk Falls, in contrast to many of the other cascades on this list, maybe seen without taking a hike. You won’t have to walk for miles to get a glimpse of this breathtaking location, which is conveniently located near the parking lot, which is convenient given that you’ll want to have towels on hand to dry off after a refreshing plunge in the pool.
If you’re wanting to catch a peek of the park’s other waterfalls, make sure to wear sturdy shoes and be prepared to travel for anywhere from one to three hours through the trails of the park.
5. Taughannock Falls
Taughannock Falls State Park is one of the most popular places to visit in the Cayuga Lake region, and it is one of the most magnificent natural wonders in the area.
Camping, cottages, and a plethora of hiking paths are all available in the park. Winter ice skaters spin on the skating pond and tubers slide down the sledding hill, while summer brings the beach and bathing area to life; both seasons bring a variety of activities.
The falls themselves are, without a doubt, the most notable feature of Taughannock Falls State Park. There is a waterfall here that cascades down from a height of 215 feet, passing through granite cliffs that rise almost 400 feet above the valley floor.
There are several hiking trails that go to the falls, and the falls can also be seen from an elevated vantage point. If you do decide to get up close to the falls, proceed with caution. If you enter the water, a park ranger will come out and publicly ridicule you, therefore avoid doing so (I saw this happen with my own eyes; it was pretty funny). This is owing to the rocks that have fallen. However, there were certain spots where we observed people swimming peacefully along the riverbed.
Furthermore, the rocks, which are composed of slick shale, limestone, and crumbly sandstone, can become extremely slippery during the wet season. So revel in the surroundings, but make sure to have your best pair of sticky water shoes with you.
6. Eternal Flames Falls
Eternal Flames Falls, with barely 30 feet in height, is dwarfed by the colossal Niagara Falls in terms of sheer size. While you’re there, the spectacular cascade’s heart is sure to illuminate your visit in a manner that no other waterfall in the country, and perhaps the globe, can match. It may even blow your head a little bit in some cases.
The eternal flame is a little flame (between four and eight inches tall) that can be found in a small cave to the right of the middle section of the falls. It can be found in a small cave to the right of the middle section of the falls. This one-of-a-kind phenomenon is said to be created by natural gas discharged from a spring within the cave. It is normally lit, providing hikers with a spectacular photo opportunity, but if the flame goes out, hikers can relight it with a lighter if they are in a hurry.
The hike to Eternal Flame Falls, which comes from Shale Creek in western New York’s Chestnut Ridge Park, is a bit of a slog, but it is well worth it. In order to appreciate this amazing, flaming sight, visitors must climb a hard 1.5-mile trek, so make sure to bring sturdy shoes and plenty of water.
7. Kaaterskill Falls
Kaaterskill Falls, a landmark of the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, knows how to put a person at ease with its tranquility. The sight of the water cascading dramatically over the two tiers, the sound of it crashing along its path, and the sensation of cool mist on your face are all enough to melt away any worries.
This spectacular wonder drops approximately 260 feet to the pool below between its two cascades, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in the state of New York and one of the most photographed. As a bonus, it’s one of the most beautiful, especially if you go around autumn when the surrounding palette is awash in vibrant red, orange, and yellow shades.
You’ll have to hike a long way to get here. Don’t be concerned, the distance between the two points is only roughly 1.4 miles. It is easy to see why hiking in this area is one of the most enjoyable activities once you are surrounded by the natural beauty of the area.
Unless you’re feeling really daring (and have a Spiderman-like grip), avoid walking the ledge that leads to the upper tier of the falls. The view from its base is breathtaking, and you won’t have to put your life in danger to take advantage of it. Keep in mind that the rocks are extremely slippery!
8. Rainbow Falls, Watkins Glen State Park
Though only a few miles long, Watkins Glen State Park contains an abundance of breathtaking natural beauty that will make you unwilling to leave. This western New York destination is unmissable because of its towering, jagged cliffs, deep gorge, and lush forest, but it’s also beautiful. In addition to being one of New York’s top waterfalls, Rainbow Falls is one of the most captivating attractions in the area.
When you stroll behind the cascading waterfalls on your approach to the gorgeous stone bridge, be prepared to get soaked.
Travelers who visit the falls in the afternoon are frequently rewarded with a rainbow, which is how the falls received their name.
A total of 19 waterfalls are created by the mainstream as it winds its way through the park past the towering rock faces. The most notable are Cavern Cascade, Central Cascade, and Pluto Falls, which are all worth seeing. The Gorge Path, which is right next to it, is a short, easy trail that takes tourists over, under, and behind waterfalls, among other things. In terms of gorge views, the Rim Trail offers the best. Aside from being exceedingly unusual, the old stone steps and bridges also increase the area’s appeal ten-fold.
9. Rainbow Falls, Ausable Chasm
Another one of New York’s most beautiful waterfalls, Rainbow Falls, makes it onto our list of the top waterfalls in the state. This one is located in the picturesque Ausable Chasm of the Adirondack Mountains. The Rainbow Falls are a series of waterfalls that come from the Ausable River and are frequently the location of rainbows, hence the name.
A hydroelectric power company regulates the flow of the river, and as a result, the severity of the falls, so you can never be certain what you’ll see when you go. You may be fortunate enough to watch the falls in all their dazzling splendor, or you may be fortunate enough to view them in more subdued light. No matter how you look at them, they are a beautiful sight to behold and one of the most beautiful sites to visit in the Adirondacks.
Would you like to witness the falls without having to go into the chasm? Take a drive to the bridge on Route 9, just outside of Keeseville, for a picturesque panorama that is sure to please. In fact, many would argue that this is the most effective approach to see the falls in their full from every angle. There is no doubt that, in spite of all this, the view from the chasm is breathtaking, with water dripping from your skin as you gaze down into the depths of nature.
10. Chittenango Falls
While strolling down Chittenango Falls, it’s easy to lose track of which century you’re in at any one time. This 167-foot-tall glacier cascade is located among bedrocks that could be as old as 400 million years and is a true work of art. Being in its presence is both peaceful and stimulating — the powerful rush of water makes it almost impossible to resist the temptation to cool down in the stream below as the temperature rises.
Chittenango Falls State Park is home to this lovely cascade, which is surrounded by pathways, making it easy to admire its beauty from all perspectives. A charming footbridge adds even more charm to the romantic setting. Although sections of the terrain can be extremely steep, caution should be exercised, and hiking shoes should be worn.
11. Mine Kill Falls
Located on the border of central New York and the Catskills, Mine Kill Falls, in Mine Kill Falls State Park, is a hidden gem worth visiting. The falls are comprised of three distinct drops that cascade around 80 feet in total height.
In order to see the falls, park just off the highway and walk 5-10 minutes to the park’s viewing area, which is free. Or, hike a number of connected trails to the southeastern portion of the park to get a feel for the area. Swimming is not permitted on this property, so don’t come expecting to go swimming. If you need to cool off, you can take advantage of the free swimming pool in the state park.
12. Fawn’s Leap
Fawn’s Leap Falls, in Woodstock, dances over Fawn’s Leap, a high cliff over a primitive swimming hole, creating a beautiful spectacle. The neighborhood is extremely popular, especially among families. Make sure to arrive early in the day to secure a parking spot because the town has implemented parking restrictions in order to prevent overcrowding of this magnificent jewel. Pack a picnic breakfast from a nearby eatery and relax in the refreshing waters of Kaaterskill Creek..
13. Awosting Falls
As part of Minnewaska State Park, Awosting Falls can be found in New Paltz, NY. The falls plummet 60 feet into a natural lake at the bottom of the waterfall. Right inside the state park is the primary trailhead for Awosting. Walking down an old carriage route, past streams, and around switchbacks will take you about a mile and a half in total. In order to visit the area in both the winter and summer months, you must wear spiked shoes and bring a trekking stick, which should be brought with you. There is a lot of ice on the trail in the winter months.
14. Eagle’s Cliff Falls
Eagle Cliff Falls, located in Havana Glen Park, is the next waterfall in New York that we would like to show you. The park is open from the middle of May to the middle of October. Already on your way to the well-known Watkins Glen resort? Havana Glen Park is also within walking distance. Additionally, because the park is operated by private individuals, you will not be charged a high admission fee!
The half-mile journey to the falls includes a few stairwells but is largely flat and easy to navigate. Bring your swimsuit along, and once you get to the ocean, you can cool off. You will enjoy the scenery as well! With a 40-foot drop, Eagle Cliff Falls carves a rectangular shaft in the heart of towering granite cliffs, creating a natural amphitheater.
In addition, Eagle Cliff Falls offers a location for campers to stay overnight. If you opt to camp, make sure to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the local environment.
15. Diamond Notch Falls
Diamond Notch Falls, located near Lanesville, New York, is a little more than two and a half hours away from New York City by car. The walk to Diamond Notch Falls will take you deep into the verdant Catskill State Park on a quest for discovery. There are a variety of ways that lead to falls. The first part of the Diamond Notch road is a 4-mile out and back trail. Alternatively, you can go for a shorter hike on Spruceton Road, which will provide you with 2 miles of exploration. In the end, the entire loop begins and ends on State Highway 214 and is a total of 12 miles in distance.
Several wooden bridges may be found on the trail, which are over 100 years old. The Mohawk Indians were the first people to employ it, according to historical records. Hiking, dog walking, running, and snowshoeing are all popular activities on the trail throughout the winter months. When you arrive near the falls, you’ll find that there are two twin falls that are approximately 15 feet high. Cool yourself in their waters, or ascend to the little viewing bridge above the falls for a bird’s-eye view of the falls.
16. Lower Falls
There are 12 prominent waterfalls in Robert H. Treman State Park, the most scenic of which is perhaps Lower Falls, which is located in the park’s southern section. This beautiful waterfall, which is also known as Enfield Falls (after the rocky, wooded canyon of the same name), provides tourists with a fun-filled environment that is brimming with adventure.
A diving board may be found to the right of the falls, near the sparkling pool at the bottom the falls. This fantastic feature truly gives you a spring in your step as you fling yourself (by a cannonball, swan dive, or front flip) into the refreshing water below the deck. Hike along one of the park’s nine miles of paths to see some of the other waterfalls and amazing views that will leave you breathless once you’ve dried off.
17. High Falls in Rochester
If you’re in Rochester, you can’t go to the city without seeing High Falls. Located on the Genesee River, this roaring 100-foot-high bulk gives a spectacular touch to the city’s skyline. A beautiful waterfall, it’s one of three located in Rochester, New York (the other two being Middle and Lower Falls).
The easiest way to see the falls and the rail bridge behind them is to cross the pedestrian Pont de Rennes Bridge. If you’re going to be taking pictures around sunset, make sure your camera is fully charged.
If you’re looking for a great spot to take shots, come to the High Falls Terrace Platform on the river’s east bank. You may get a nice panoramic view of the city from a distance away from the falls.
18. Ithaca Falls
In Ithaca, you’ll see plenty of bumper stickers and banners advertising the city’s tourism slogan: “Ithaca is gorges.” This play on words is meant to draw attention to the area’s extraordinary natural beauty (think deep gorges and soothing, flowing streams). The city’s most famous waterfall unquestionably belongs in this group.
The Finger Lakes region contains more than 150 waterfalls spread out over a 10-mile area (including Taughannock and Buttermilk Falls).
This beautiful cascade spans approximately 175 feet, tumbling down 150 feet to the popular plunge pool below.
It’s simple to get here. Simply cross the Lake Street bridge to get there. It’s worth spending at least a few minutes here because you’ll be rewarded with an unbeatable view of the waterfalls. A short trail goes alongside the creek, making it easy to get a closer look at this natural wonder.
19. Upper Falls, Letchworth State Park
While this waterfall on the Genesee River is a lesser version of Middle Falls, it is no less impressive. Despite the fact that it only drops around 70 feet, as opposed to Middle Fall’s 107-foot plunge, the scenery at Letchworth State Park is incomparable. There are gigantic rock cliffs surrounding it, as well as a verdant forest and a gorgeous bridge crossing the river (a.k.a. the Portage High Bridge). Your camera will tremble in anticipation of the breathtaking photographs that are going to be captured.
From the parking lot, it takes only a few minutes to walk to these falls. Beautiful views of the falls and surrounding gorge will greet you as you make your way through the forest. With a little bit more time and stamina, you may make your way even farther up the route to the bridge, which is another one of the park’s primary attractions.
20. Bash Bish Falls
Bash Bish Falls is technically located in Massachusetts, but it is so close to the New York state border that it has a parking lot in both Massachusetts and New York. Bash Bish Falls State Park, located in the Taconic Mountains, is a sight to behold. It is comprised of a series of drops that total around 200 feet in height. Even though Bash Bish Falls is not quite as high as New York’s Buttermilk Falls, it is considered to be the state’s highest single-drop waterfall.
The lower falls, which are a sequence of several cascades, are possibly the most picturesque of the entire system. The flow 80 feet to a pool below, passing around a massive boulder and splitting into two smaller falls on their way down to the water. The entrance to the falls is through the lower parking lot if you are viewing them from within New York. To get to the base, you’ll need to take a short hike (approximately two-thirds of a mile).
21. OK Slip Falls
In the years before to 2014, getting to the OK Slip Falls was a significant challenge. In July of that year, the Adirondacks’ tallest waterfall became significantly more accessible thanks to the addition of a three-mile official trail.
The Hudson Gorge Waterfall, which drops 250 feet, is one of the most magnificent attractions in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area, and it is one of the greatest sites to visit in the area. You can select between two viewing places once you reach the falls, or you can visit them both if you have the time.
Recommendation: Arrive early in the morning if you want to get the best shots possible. During the afternoon, the shade can creep in and darken your photographs slightly. This is also the best time to visit if you want to escape the crowds.
22. Salmon River Falls
Salmon River Falls is located in Oswego County, and it is part of the 112-acre Salmon River Falls Unique Area. These 110-foot falls, which are nestled within a breathtaking ravine, are the most popular tourist attraction in the area.
It will only take a quarter-mile from the parking lot to reach the falls, which will be accessible via a wide trail. Those looking for a more challenging hike can take on The Gorge Trail, but be warned: it is steep and dangerous, and should only be attempted by experienced and physically fit hikers and climbers.
The Upper Falls Trail connects Dam Road and the north bank of the river for a mile on the north side of the river. This is also a really tough trek, so be prepared. The River Bed Trail takes hikers to the base of the falls, where they get a better perspective, according to some. It is short, steep, and requires a few flights of stairs.
Summertime is a time when the good times never end. Ice climbing is one of the most enjoyable winter activities available at Salmon River Falls. Before ascending, you must complete and submit a registration form, which should be dropped in the kiosk box before entering the gorge.
23. Carpenter Falls
Carpenter Falls, located in the Bahar Nature Preserve near Skaneateles, is one of New York’s most spectacular waterfalls and is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the state. Each of the waterfalls has a completely distinct appearance. Imagine yourself on the edge of a steep, half-moon cliff, looking down over the deep and potentially treacherous Bear Swamp Creek Ravine.
The primary trail within Bahar Nature Preserve leads not only to Carpenter Falls, but also to a few other waterfalls and the lakeshore of Skaneateles Lake, as well as to a few other waterfalls and the lakeshore of Skaneateles Lake. After taking a trip to see the waterfalls, you can rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard to explore the lake and its surroundings.
24. Verkeerderkills Falls
It is located in the Shawangunk Mountain Ridge, in the Sam’s Point Area of Minnewaska State Park. A number of waterfalls can be seen in this area. Particularly noteworthy is that Verkeerderkill Falls, at about 200 feet in height, is one of the state’s most impressive waterfalls. On either side of the river, there are intriguing rock cliffs to climb upon. Additionally, when the winter months arrive, icy ice caves appear, which are both unique and well worth the trip to experience. It is possible to view some of that ice even in the summertime, because of the cave’s peculiar characteristics.
25. Indian Brook Falls
A relaxing experience in Garrison is sitting on one of the many blouders that surround the spectacular forty-foot Indian Brook Waterfalls, which is one of the most quiet places in the Hudson Valley. The falls have a bit of an amphitheater vibe to them, with the Indian Brook Falls performing on stage and the visitors sitting in the first row of the audience.
The falls are a portion of the Indian Brook, which is on its way to the Hudson River and is a popular tourist attraction. A short half-mile walk from the parking area will take you to the falls. For more specific directions, see the link to the fantastic Hike the Hudson Valley trail guide, which is included below. It is not a pleasant paved route, but it is also not a particularly strenuous trek. It only entails crossing some rocky terrain.
Once you’ve arrived at the falls, you can take a stroll around the region depending on how daring you feel and what Mother Nature has in store for her visitors. In the early spring or after heavy rains, it is extremely difficult to get up to the falls. In the fall, the water flow slows to a trickle, yet it is still beautiful to see because of the magnificent colors that are all around! This is another destination that is completely different in each season, and it is a place that should be visited at least four times per year at the very least.
26. Vernooy Kill Falls
Vernooykill Falls, another must-see waterfall in upstate New York, is a delight to explore. To reach the falls, hikers must navigate a steep trail with a constant ascent for 3.5 miles. There is also a shorter path that runs for slightly more than 2 miles. When you arrive, you’ll see that there are no trails along the falls themselves, only a series of slick steps. It’s possible to trip and fall when exploring, so use caution.