Stony Brook State Park NY

8 Gorge Trails Near Rochester to Hike Before Winter

There is something magic about our gully, glen and gorge trails. They call out to us from their deep, dark, cool, and quiet caverns. They lead us along their timeline, exposing history as their waterfalls walk backwards. Characterized by their crumbling Devonian-shale walls, crater-like Tully Limestone creek beds, and unique wild flowers, plants, and trees, gorges feel other-worldly at times. To repurpose John Muir’s feelings about mountains, “The gorge is calling, and I must go.”

Gorge Trails: Letchworth State Park Lower Falls

1. Letchworth

Gorge Trail #1 is 7 miles. You do not need to start in one specific spot as it passes through some of the most popular areas and overlooks. You could also park a second vehicle at the end to transport you back to where you started. Stairs and steep cliff edges make this a challenging hike, albeit spectacular!

Gorge Trails: Taughannock Falls Gorge Trail

2. Taughannock Falls

Gorge Trail is .75 miles one-way. It is one of the only gorge trails open in winter. It is also one of the flattest walks, unlike many of the other gorge trails that use stairs to navigate the stark changes in elevation.

Gorge Trails: Watkins Glen Gorge Trail

3. Watkins Glen

Gorge Trail is 1.5 miles one-way, many stairs.

Gorge Trails: Buttermilk Falls State Park

4. Buttermilk Falls

Gorge Trail is .65 miles one way, many stairs.

Gorge Trails: Grimes Glen

5. Grimes Glen

Gorge Trail is roughly 1 mile, in-and-out. No stairs, but lots of creek-walking if you plan to visit the waterfalls.

Stony Brook State Park NY

6. Stony Brook

Gorge Trail is .7 miles one way, many stairs. Be advised, though many of my photos show people in the water, wading into the water is not allowed and there could be fines issued for doing so.

Gorge Trails: Eternal Flame Gorge Trail Chestnut Ridge Park Buffalo

7. Eternal Flame

Gorge Trail is .5 miles, or 1 mile in-and-out. No stairs, but some climbs, crawls and creek-walking to get to the waterfall.

Gorge Trails: Cascadilla Gorge

8. Cascadilla

Gorge Trail is .5 miles, or 1 mile round-trip, many stairs.

Even more gorge trails!

Find more trails to explore!

Debi Bower

Born, raised and living life as a digital designer in Rochester, NY! I am also a day-tripper, writer & photographer, exploring the nooks and crannies that make our part of New York State so special.

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