15 Of The Best Waterfalls In New York State
By nmwgroup | Updated June 16th, 2022
What are the best waterfalls near New York? If you’re looking to get away from the city and into nature, you’re going to love these scenic spots. From the popular waterfall at Letchworth State Park to quiet and secluded ponds, these natural treasures offer some of the best views in the state (and great Instagram photos!). Check out this list of 15 of the best waterfalls near New York state, complete with pictures of each one.
One of America’s most iconic waterfalls, Niagara Falls, is located on both sides of the border between Canada and New York. On the New York side is an impressive view of American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
There are two attractions you can enjoy. The first is a boat ride to the falls on the maiden mist, and the second is called The cave of the winds, where you can experience hurricane-like weather and physically touch the water flowing over, so be prepared to get soaked!
Both events allow you to enjoy views of this massive waterfall from above and at the base. At night, the falls are usually lit with beautiful colors, and around 10 pm, there is a lovely fireworks display.
This natural wonder is also one of North America’s biggest tourist attractions, so it should be on your top list of waterfalls to see in New York.
Checkout more stuff to do in New York
Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park is famously known as the Grand Canyon of the East but with some of New York’s finest scenery. The Genesee River rumbles through a deep canyon and then over dozens of falls.
Upper, middle and lower waterfalls are the most significant, with the Upper falls being the absolute best. There is a short hike to the upper falls, but the view is worth it.
An active railroad bridge above creates a unique background for the perfect picture. It’s also relaxing to take a break and watch as the trains go by.
With miles of trails to enjoy hiking and other available activities such as white water rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, and in the winter months, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, and hot air ballooning; when visiting New York, there is enough here to entertain for days.
Shequaga Creek runs about eight miles before falling over Shequaga falls as high as 156 feet and empties into the Seneca Lake inlet.
This is the largest waterfall in Montour, with vast cascading flows down the cliff side on the Western edge of Montour and into a large basin at the of the park.
There is a pleasant walking trail to get to the base of the falls, where you can enjoy a nice picnic and enjoy the views and sounds of the falls.
Eternal Flame Falls
Located inside Chestnut Ridge Park you will find the famous Eternal Flame Falls. It is well known by locals and a must-do waterfall when visiting New York for its eternal flame shining brightly through the water at the base.
Legend says a native American lit the flame a long time ago and it has stayed lit since. Believe what you must but seeing this phenomenon should be on your bucket list! The hike is moderate, so most people can do it quickly as long as they wear proper shoes.
Shelving Rock Falls
Enjoy a short hike past mature trees and beautiful natural scenery to get to Shelving Rock Falls. This is a perfect hike for younger kids to manage and enjoy when visiting Lake George, New York.
The falls empty into a shallow pool for all to enjoy, and there are several large rocks on either side of the falls to sit, splash around and take pictures.
Visitors are in for a treat when heading to Naples, New York. Enjoy a hike about one mile long to see two of the three 60 feet waterfalls in Grimes Glen.
The path to the falls is quite pleasant, be sure to bring hiking shoes and water shoes unless you don’t mind getting your shoes and feet wet.
The third waterfall is tougher to get to, there are ropes to help you get up the very steep paths, but still, it is left to the most daring to climb and is well known as the better choice as far as the accomplishment of achieving this hike as well as enjoying the beautiful views.
One of the best things about Ithaca is its gateway to several incredible waterfalls. You can take a day trip or even drive past them on your way to hike other trails throughout New York state.
At the end of the hanging valley is the famous Ithaca Waterfalls. The falls are in an amphitheater that makes up most of the gorge walls. The falls pool into a nice splash at the base, where many go fly fishing and enjoy the view.
A great time to visit is during spring, when heavy rainfall makes the waterfalls even more powerful and glorious. Even if you have seen many waterfalls in your lifetime, these falls are well worth checking out.
Havana Glen Park
A cluster of waterfalls with steep stairs and a slight climb to reach them, Havana Glen Park offers some of Upstate’s best views.
Grab your friends and head here during a hot summer day for a nice swim under the cool falls. The most significant falls is Eagle Cliff Falls, a 41 ft high and 16 ft wide majestic flow over the rocks.
Campsites are available for those wanting to enjoy more of the outdoors. Some sites offer electricity.
High Falls Gorge
High Falls Gorge is a privately owned park that has well-preserved forests. The falls are popularly known for their deep crevice carved over a billion years ago, where native Americans named it ‘The Ancient Valley of Foaming Water” due to its naturally developing foam within the Gorge.
The paths lead up to four splendid waterfalls with stairs and walkways strategically placed so you can enjoy all the beauty the falls offer.
Parts of the falls are wheelchair accessible, and there is a gift shop where you can purchase items to make your visit memorable. River View Cafe serves delicious food and drinks so you can plan a special occasion or get together with friends and family, where everyone should be happy and entertained.
Ellicott Creek flows into the beautiful Glen Falls in the heart of Williamsville, New York. The hydropower provided by the falls in the early days made it an ideal site for water mills used to power sawmills.
The falls are over 30 ft high and are a popular tourist attraction. There are several high-end shopping stores and restaurants to visit so that you can finish the day off quite happy and content.
Eagle’s Cliff Falls
Eagle Cliff Falls is in Havana Glen Park, New York, and is a privately owned park. The trail through to the falls is quite enjoyable. Bring a swimsuit to enjoy playing in the water if you wish.
The park also features a large picnic and camping area; there is so much to do when visiting here you are sure to have a great time.
At 30 feet high, Buttermilk Falls is among a group of smaller waterfalls near Watkins Glen, New York. While you can see it from Route 14, you’ll need to cross a bridge to get up close.
What you’ll find at Buttermilk is beautiful scenery and a vast rushing flow of water perfect for that big splash-and-soak you’ve been craving during your trip through New York state. Pets are welcome as long as they are on a leash.
If you’re not into hiking so much but love the waterfall, Fitzgerald Falls is perfect for you. With a short walk you can enjoy the 30 ft waterfall and nice sized swimming pool at the base. This Falls is perfect when visiting New York with little kids as they would be able to keep up.
Although it’s only 5 feet tall, Agers Falls offers excellent kayaking and white water rafting experiences. You can go swimming in one of its pools. To get there, you have to hike into a gorge, which is fun and interesting enough to keep kids entertained.
There are also more enormous waterfalls for those who like that sort of thing, but Agers falls much better for children. A fun fact about this area is that it is entered into the Geographic Names Information System due to its history. Take a hike and learn about the history of Angers Falls.
Labrador Hollow Unique Area
Labrador Hollow Unique Area is well known for its unique Tinker Falls. The falls are formed by a small stream that flows through a 40 ft thick limestone that rests on top shale pieces.
A recessed amphitheater was formed as the shale eroded at a much faster pace than the limestone, and there are trails that lead to the amphitheater behind the falls and also to the top of the falls for beautiful views of the surrounding areas.
The falls flow into a pond about 5 ft deep for swimmers to enjoy. The overflow of the pond leads to Labrador Creek and eventually streams out to the Tioughnioga River.
If you love waterfalls, New York is a great state to visit for stunning natural beauty. Our list contains some of the most stunning waterfalls in all five boroughs, so whether you’re looking for a weekend trip or planning your summer vacation, consider visiting one of these gorgeous waterfalls. With such an abundance of natural beauty and diversity in scenery, it’s hard not to fall in love with New York.