30 Best Waterfalls in New York with Secret Local Tips!

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 New York are just so dang beautiful that I NEED to hardcore frolic after all of the best New York waterfalls NOW!. 

Do you know what I mean? Of course, you do! Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here learning about the best waterfalls in NY.

Because as a New York local for well over thirty 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. 

So, stick around you Instragm maven you (Kidding because we’re about to swan dive into best waterfalls in NY. Just not literally since, well, that would be beyond dangerous.

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Table of Contents

Best Waterfalls in New York Near Buffalo

1. Niagara Falls

An aerial view of Niagara Falls and the Maid of the mist.

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

I mean it’s easily one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the USA. So yeah, it clearly had to take the number one spot on this list of some of the best waterfalls in 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. 

2. Eternal Flame Falls

Flame behind Eternal Falme Waterfalls. One of the best waterfalls in New York near Buffalo.

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, thereby creating one of the most unique and best waterfalls in New York.

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 eventually 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 as you see now of the top waterfalls in New York.

Best Waterfalls in New York Near Ithaca

3. Taughannock Falls

View of Taughannock Falls surrounded by fall foliage in New York, one of the best hikes in Upstate New York.

Just a short 15-minute drive from Ithaca is one of the most beautiful and best waterfalls in New York. It also sits inside the Taughannock Falls Park and is easily the park’s most iconic attraction since, well, the entire park was 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 layers of sandstone, shale, and limestone in 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 its big brother in Buffalo. So yeah, let that fun factoid sink it for a hot minute as you contemplate the awesomeness of all the best New York waterfalls.

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 enter the park).

 However, the rocks along many of these trails can get quite slippery, so be sure to wear good hiking shoes 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. 

4. Rainbow Falls in Watkin Glen

Fall foliage surrounding Watkins Glen in NY

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. 

It’s also home to 19 of the best waterfalls in New York 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 best New York 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. 

5. Eagle Cliff Falls

View if Eagle Cliff Falls in Montour Falls near Watkins Glen.

Visiting Watkins Glen and want to see another one of the best waterfalls in New York? If so then check out Eagle Cliff Falls in nearby Havana Glen Park. 

It’s one of the best waterfalls in NY that stands at a stunning 40-feet tall, ethereally cascading down two giant rock walls to the ground below. 

And while this park does have many fantastic playgrounds, camping areas, and sports fields for visitors to enjoy, the real highlight of any trip here is seeing one of the best waterfalls in New York.

So, if you want to see this marvelous waterfall for yourself, you’re in luck because the hike to this waterfall is an easy, 0.3 mile, out and back “hike”. Therefore, it will take you all of five minutes to complete reach the base of the falls. 

So while there will be a set of metal stairs that you will have to climb up, the trail is almost completely flat otherwise. There’s also a handy railing on one side that will prevent you from slipping on the Gorge below. 

Other than that, all you need to know about one of the best waterfalls in New York is that when you get into this park, you’ll need to pay $2 per car. The park is also only open from mid-May through mid-October. 

Address: 135 Havana Glen Rd, Montour Falls, NY 14865

Cost: $2.00 per car.

Hours: Open mid-May through mid-October from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Best Time to Visit: Spring

6. Ithaca Falls

Gorgeous view of Ithaca Falls, one of the best New York waterfalls.

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 New York that 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. 

 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. 

7. Lucifer Falls

View of Lucifer Falls in the autumn. One of the best waterfalls in New York.

Located in the 1,110 acre Robert H Treman State Park, this is one of the best waterfalls in New York 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 as you trek to see one of the best waterfalls in New York.

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. 

8. Buttermilk Falls

View of Buttermilk Falls from one of the best hikes in New York State.

Just a hoot and holler down the road from Lucifer Falls is Buttermilk Falls – another one of the best waterfalls in New York.

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 two of the top waterfalls in NY at the same time.

Now, not surprisingly, this awesome, 165-foot tall waterfall 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, as 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. 

Best Waterfalls in New York Near Syracuse

9. Chittenango Falls (Cazenovia)

One of the top waterfalls in New York is Chittenango Falls in Chittenango Falls State Park.

Located inside the aptly named, 193 acre, Chittenango Falls State Park in Cazenovia, this immortal New York waterfall stands at 167 feet tail 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 New York, 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 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 slightly 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 NY. 

10. Salmon River Falls

Salmon River Falls in the autumn.

This stunning, 110-foot wide waterfall is part of the Salmon River Falls Unique Area. It falls down a steep shale and limestone cliff as the water here heads west into Lake Ontario. 

Luckily for you, this is one of the best waterfalls in New York that is REALLY easy to get to. Yeah, you basically just head to the main parking lot and walk along a gravel trail for about 1100 feet, until you reach the Salmon River Falls Overlook.

For another, unique perspective of one of the best waterfalls in NY, you can also visit one of two overlook platforms at the top of the gorge since they give you a  fantastic, aerial perspective of this amazing place.  

Address: Falls Rd, Richland, NY 13144

Cost: Free

Hours: Open daily from 6:30 am to 8:00 pm.

Best Time to Visit: Fall for the foliage.

11. Carpenter Falls and Angel Falls

View of Carpenter Falls, one of the best watrfalls in New York

Located in the Bahar Nature Preserve, this is one of the best waterfalls in New York that sits on the west side of Skaneateles Lake.

In fact, it’s a 90-foot tall waterfall that was formed by water cutting through the overhanging limestone at the base of Bear Swamp Creek.

And while you’re at one of the best waterfalls near Syracuse NY, you can also enjoy Angel Falls too. In fact, it’s a super snazzy, 60-foot waterfall that can be accessed using a steep trail off the main Jug Path that will take you to the bottom.

But, if that doesn’t sound supremely appealing, you can always hop on the main trail and take that for a 1/10th mile walk to the top of one of the best waterfalls in New York (aka Carpenter Waterfall).

If you start to hear the waterfall then you know you’re moving in the right direction. Just keep descending the trail until you reach a creek bed that offers sweeping views of the gorge beneath you.

Also, be super careful as you go behind and below the waterfall since the rocks here can get slippery.

Pro Tip: If possible, stop by at an off time. The parking lot at Appletree Point Road and Carver Road is small and can only accommodate six cars. If it’s full though, you can always park on Appletree Point Road.

Address: 3800 Appletree Point, Skaneateles, NY 13152

Cost: Free

Hours: Open daily from dawn til dusk.

Best Time to Visit: Between spring and fall.

12. Cowshed Falls

View of Cowshed Falls in Fillmore Glen State Park

This is one of the best waterfalls in New York that is small but beautiful since it’s only 30-foot tall. It also sits inside the enchanting, Fillmore Glen State Park, right near the start of the Gorge Trail.

So, if you’d like to see one of the top waterfalls in New York for yourself, park your car in the lot at the main entrance and take the Gorge Trail to the foot of the waterfall.

Yup, it’s a short and easy hike that is only 1/4 mile long. Afterward, descend the Gorge Trail to see some of the other four other waterfalls that are in the park, including the Upper Falls near the terminus of the Gorge Trail (The waterfall is about 40-feet tall and the trail is two miles round trip).

Also, try to avoid the park in the winter since many of the trails close due to snow.

Address: 1686 NY-38, Moravia, NY 13118

Cost: $8.00 car fee.

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

Best Time to Visit: Spring or Fall.

13. Pratts Falls

View of Pratts Falls near Syracuse NY.

Easily one of the most stunning waterfalls in New York, Pratts Falls stands at an awesome 140-feet tall and is hidden away inside the well-named, Pratts Falls Park.

Visitors will love the ample parking here since there’s a spacious, 40-car parking lot on-site where you leave your car before visiting one of the best waterfalls in New York.

Also hit up the viewing platform here for impressive views of the falls before going on a leisurely, half-mile hike down the Falls View Trail and into the gorge below. Stay to the left and you’ll come across a second platform with stellar views of Pratts Falls.

Also, be on the lookout for remnants of an old mill that are near the waterfall and that are from the first settlement in the county.

Address: 7671 Pratts Falls Rd, Manlius, NY 13104

Cost: $2.00 fee for vehicles.

Hours: Open April through August from 7:30 am to 8:30 pm and in September and October from dawn until dusk.

Best Time to Visit: Any time other than winter since the park is closed between November and March.

14. Tinker Falls

Tinker Falls near Syracuse.

Easily one of the best waterfalls in New York near Syracuse, Tinker Falls stands at 80-feet tall and is a cascading waterfall that can be found in the Labrador Hollow Unique Area.

In fact, it’s one of the best New York waterfalls that features two unique falls – a 50-foot waterfall down an overhanging rock at the top and a 30-foot tall waterfall near the bottom.

It’s also really easy to visit since Tinker Falls is a mere 1500 feet from the parking lot, which sits on either side of the trail and has space for up to twenty cars.

But, if you’d actually like to get out and stretch your legs, then you can always take the Gorge Trail behind the falls itself. Next, continue along the 1.5-mile-long path and enjoy impressive views from the local Hang Glider Launch once you finish the hike.

Address: Tinker Falls Trail, Tully, NY 13159

Cost: Free.

Hours: Open year-round.

Best Time to Visit: Spring.

15. Delphi Falls

View of Delphi Falls in New York

Wanna know the cool thing about Delphi Falls County Park? It features two of the best waterfalls in New York that include the lower, 65-foot tall Delphi Falls and the upper, 52-foot tall falls.

Unfortunately, Delphi Waterfall is the only one currently accessible by way of a 700-foot long gravel pathway that goes directly from the parking lot to the waterfall.

I’ve heard rumors though that a new network of challenging trails is planned and that they will take visitors to the upper of the two waterfalls.

Also, be sure not to start from the well-defined trail since the park has been closed in the past for this reason.

Address: 2006 Cardner Rd, Cazenovia, NY 13035

Cost: Free

Hours: Open daily from sunrise until sunset.

Best Time to Visit: Spring.

16. Wolcott Falls

View of Wolcott Falls, best New York waterfalls.

If you happen to be in Syracuse and are looking for a nice day trip, then head over to Wolcott Falls Park and see one of the best waterfalls in New York.

After all, Wolcott Falls is a gorgeous, 34-foot tall waterfall that is made up of many small ribbons of water. It’s also incredibly accessible since it’s a quick, one-minute walk from a viewing platform that sits right next door to the parking lot.

While you’re here, you can also read a whole slew of informational signs about the area and can even do a 10-minute walk to the bottom of the waterfall. Just use caution since the rocks here can get slippery.

Pro Tip: Visit in the evening to see one of the best New York waterfalls all lit up.

Address: 6063 Auburn St, Wolcott, NY 14590

Cost: Free

Hours: 24/7

Best Time to Visit: Spring

17. Edwards Falls

Edwards Falls is one of the top waterfalls in New York.

One of the trickier best New York Waterfalls to get to, Edwards Falls is difficult to access since no one has any idea who owns the trail from Bluffview Drive to this stunning, 70-foot tall waterfall near Syracuse.

So, once you park your car along Bluffview Drive, catch the hiking path near the Suburban Park Apartments and take that paved path here into the woods.

Keep walking until you discover a dirt path with a steady incline that will eventually lead you to the bottom of a local creek.

Once here, feel free to go through the water or hop from one rock to the next until you find the waterfall.

Pro Tip: Also check out the 30-foot tall dam that sits just upstream from the waterfalls.

Address: (just type Edwards Falls into Google)

Cost: Free

Hours: Open 24/7.

Best Time to Visit: Spring

Best Waterfalls in New York in the Hudson Valley

18. Indian Brook Falls

View of Indian Brook Falls, one of the best waterfalls in NY 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 New York 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. 

19. Waterfall at New Croton Dam, Croton Gorge Park

One of the best waterfalls in New York is at the Kensico dam in Valhalla.

Located in the beautiful, 97-acre Croton Gorge Park, this is one of the best waterfalls in New York that sits along the New Croton Dam, which stands at upwards of 200-feet tall.

So, stop by and understand why this is an amazing place for hiking, walking, fishing, and picnicking near the Old Croton Aqueduct.

While you’re here, also also stroll along the bridge over the Croton River and enjoy stellar views of the spillway that can be found here.

Address: 35 Yorktown Rd, Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520

Cost: $5 with a pass and $10 without one.

Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to dusk, year-round.

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.

20. Bash Bish Falls

View of Bash Bish Falls, one fo the top waterfalls in New York.

Easily one of the best waterfalls in New York, Bash Bish Falls is tucked away in the Taconic Mountains which sit right on the border between Massachusetts and New York. 

Okay, technically speaking, Bash Bish Falls is actually located in Massachusetts. But, these stunning, 80-foot tall waterfalls can easily be reached via the Taconic State Falls or Bash Bish Falls Park in Massachusetts. 

To get to the falls from Massachusetts, embark on an intense, moderately difficult, 2.1-mile out and back hike from the lower parking lot in Bash Bish Falls State Park. 

The hike will take you up 521-feet, through a vast forest and along various stone and wooden steps. The hike culminates in a stunning view of the falls from one of the area’s many picnic tables. 

And while you’re technically not supposed to swim here, many people ignore that rule and do so anyway at one of the best waterfalls in NY. You should also try to visit in the spring when the waterfall has its greatest and most intense flow.  

Address: 4G85+29, Mt. Washington, MA 01258

Cost: Free.

Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Best Time to Visit: Spring when the waterfall is at its most majestic.

Best Waterfalls in New York Near Rochester

21. Lower Falls on the Genesse River

View from a local bridge of the Genesse River, one of the top waterfalls in NY.

Fair warning, the next three insanely beautiful, “best waterfalls in New York” 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 the best waterfalls in NY 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.

22. Middle Falls on the Genesee River (Letchworth State Park)

Aerial view of a hot air balloon above the Middle Falls in Letchworth State Park.

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 top waterfalls in New York 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 one of the best waterfalls in New York.

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. 

Pro Tip: Stop by after dark since the park actually light’s these waterfalls up in the evening, from May through October.

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. 

23. Upper Falls on the Genesee River

View of the best New York waterfalls which is the Upper Falls on the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park.

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 to another one of the best waterfalls in New York.

And by arduous, I mean not at all since this is one of the top waterfalls in NY that 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. 

Best Waterfalls in New York in the Adirondacks

24. Rainbow Falls at Ausable Chasm

Aerial view fo Ausable Chasm in the fall.

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 New York 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. After all, 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 hydroelectric company. So, on some days, this is one of the top waterfalls in NY that 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 is 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 is 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: Ausable 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.

25. High Falls in High Falls Gorge

High Falls Gorge and Waterfall along the Ausable River and  one of the best waterfalls in New York.

Located near 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” should take around 45-minutes to complete and will take you past some of the best waterfalls in New York. 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 with semi-steep inclines and uneven surfaces, a fact that makes closed-toe shoes more than a little essential.

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.

Best Waterfalls in New York in the Catskills

26. Mine Kill Falls

Ready to check out one of the best waterfalls in New York that is conveniently found in the Catskills? If so then mosey on over to Mine Kill Falls. 

It sits inside the aptly named Mine Kill Falls State Park and consists of three distinct drops that measure around 80-feet in total. 

Now, to visit one of the best waterfalls in NY, you can easily get to the falls from the designated park area off of NY-30. 

There’s a sign that basically says, “Minekill Falls Overlook” but you could always head to the coordinates 42.426775, -74.472678 if you’re unsure of where to go. 

Once at the parking lot, it’s a fairly easy hike up the only trail here. Just, when you hit the bottom of a small hill, continue straight to a viewing platform that overlooks the falls or take the path right to the base of the waterfall.

Also, be aware that this is another one of the best waterfalls in NY that does not allow swimming. So, if you really want to go for a dip, just use the pool inside the park. Don’t worry, it’s totally free for visitors to use. 

Address: 161 Mine Kill Rd, North Blenheim, NY 12131

Cost: Free

Hours: Open daily from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm.

Best Time to Visit: Spring

27. Kaaterskill Falls

Kaaterskills Waterfall in Catskills NY

Kaaterskills Falls is easily one of the top waterfalls in New York since it is a series of two waterfalls that reach a height of 260 feet.

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 Travel New York Now.

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 one of the best waterfalls in New York – 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. 

28. Vernooy Kill Falls

Vernooy Falls in the Catskills

Another one of the best waterfalls in New York that can be found in the Catskills, this charming waterfall sits at the end of a 3.5 mile long, out and back trail that takes you to the top of Cherrytown Mountain.

Just follow the blue blazes that signify the Long Path and prepare for a mildly difficult climb that ends when you hit a bridge at the base of Vernooy Kill Falls.

Once here, take a dip in one of the many swimming holes or just sit down to admire the 60-foot tall cascading waterfall that tumbles down local shale rock.

Pro Tip: Be sure to check out the ruins of an old mill here. Also, stand in the center of the stream for the perfect photo op of the bridge here.

Address: 561 Rogue Harbor Rd, Kerhonkson, NY 12446 (inside the Vernooy Kill State Forest)

Hours: Open year-round.

Cost: Free

Best Time to Visit: Spring.

29. Verkeerderkill Falls

View of Verkeerderkill Falls in the Hudson Valley from one of the best hikes in New York State.

Hidden away in Minnewaska State Park, just outside of New Paltz, this is one of the best waterfalls in New York that is accessible by way of an 8.6-mile hike to the awe-inspiring, Sam’s Point.

Along the way, you’ll also marvel at sweeping views of the 200-foot tall, Verkeerderkills Falls and can even check out some pretty neat ice caves along the Ice Cave Trail too (FYI, it’s not open in the winter).

Just be prepared for a somewhat intense hike that features stairs, ladders, and wooden bridges that will take you along the single largest exposed fault system in the country.

Pro Tip: Come on a weekday to avoid the crowds.

Address: 5281 Route 44-55, Kerhonkson, NY 12446

Cost: $10 for a day-use pass.

Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Best Time to Visit: Spring (so you can see the ice Caves and High Point Monument too)

Best Waterfalls in New York in the Capital Region

30. Cohoes Falls

Aerial view of Cohoes Waterfall, one of the top waterfalls in New York

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 waterfalls in New York.  

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

Yeah, it’s basically this cute little 4-acre park that offers visitors stellar views of one of the best waterfalls in New York. 

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,

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. 

Map of the Best Waterfalls in New York

Map of the best waterfalls in New York
Click here for the full map.

Additional New York Resources You’ll Love

There you have it! That just about wraps up this guide to the best waterfalls in New York!

Tell me did your picks for the top New York waterfalls make the list? If not then let me know in the comments below!

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