letchworth state park

16 Places to Visit After Heavy Rains

In the heat of summer, some of these creeks and rivers have extremely low water volume. But after heavy rains or quick snow-melts, they rage, offering a spectacular multi-sensory experience.

Beware, there is the potential for land devastation and personal safety threats—always proceed cautiously. It’s a stark reminder of the immense power of water.

During and after a heavy rain storm, many of the gorge trails will close, as well as roads, if an area is hit hard with several inches of rainfall over a short period of time. Be mindful of the potential for flash flooding.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Best of Rochester Award-Winning Book for Best Published Literary Work of 2023.

letchworth state park
letchworth state park
letchworth state park
letchworth state park
Middle Falls, Letchworth

1. Letchworth


Letchworth is well known for the three major falls, but after heavy rains, the ones you don’t typically notice come alive!

There are micro-falls throughout the park that come to life when their tributaries overflow.

The Genesee River and Wolf Creek are great places to start, letting the others surprise you with their presence.

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Explore Letchworth State Park

Letchworth has something for everyone, from hiking one of the park’s 29 trails and picnicking beside a waterfall to taking a scenic drive.

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high falls genesee river rochester heavy rain
High Falls on the Genesee

2. High Falls

City of Rochester

There are several vantage points to experience the mighty Genesee flowing over High Falls, including the pedestrian bridge, several viewing platforms on both sides of the river, and atop the Genesee Brew House restaurant.

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High Falls on the Genesee River

High Falls is the name of the waterfall, the neighboring historic district, and the future Rochester High Falls State Park.

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Lower Falls Maplewood
Lower Falls on the Genesee

3. Lower Falls

City of Rochester

Experience the power of the Genesee River from this vantage point on the Driving Park bridge or from Lower Falls Park.

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Maplewood Park & Rose Garden

Maplewood Park is a linear park that follows the river from Driving Park and the Lower Falls to just north of Route 104, ending at the pedestrian bridge over the Genesee.

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Papermill Falls Avon
Papermill Falls

4. Papermill Falls


Papermill is a fairly secluded fall on Conesus Creek.

Corbetts Glen
Corbett’s Glen

5. Corbett’s Glen


There are a few waterfalls and cascades to enjoy along Allen’s Creek through Corbett’s Glen, including Tunnel Falls and Postcard Falls.

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Corbett’s Glen

Corbett’s Glen is a glorious green space in a suburban jungle. As overused as this statement may be, Corbett’s Glen is truly a hidden gem.

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Channing Philbrick creek
Channing H Philbrick

6. Irondequoit Creek


Irondequoit Creek passes through three Monroe County Parks, starting just outside Powder Mills Park and then through Ellison Park and Lucien Morin Park on its way to Irondequoit Bay. Along the way, it picks up more water from tributaries like Thomas Creek, Mill Creek, and Allen’s Creek.

Our favorite place to enjoy the creek after heavy rains is in Channing H. Philbrick (Linear) Park.

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Channing H. Philbrick Park

Irondequoit Creek drops 90 feet over one mile through Channing H Philbrick Park, creating the cascades that make it unique.

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Honeoye Falls
Honeoye Falls

7. Honeoye Creek

Honeoye Falls

Check out the flow over the village fall and the rush of the creek through Rotary Park.

Holley Canal Falls
Holley Canal Falls

8. Holley Canal Falls


The fall is produced with runoff from the Erie Canal above, making this glen a perfect spot to visit after heavy rains.

The East Branch Sandy Creek flows through this park as well, flowing out under the canal on its way north to Hamlin and emptying into Lake Ontario.

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Holley Canal Falls

Holley Canal Falls is located in the heart of the Village of Holley. The water that flows into the glen is overflow from the Erie Canal.

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Glen Park tree falls
Glen Park Falls

9. Glen Park Falls


Ellicott Creek runs through this exceptional town park over the fall, which rage after heavy rains.

Water: Taughannock Falls
Taughannock Falls

10. Taughannock Falls


Walk the gorge trail to stand at the bottom of the fall to experience its power.

If the gorge trail is closed due to heavy rains, you can still enjoy the spectacular view from the observation point outside the state park.

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Taughannock Falls State Park

Taughannock Falls’s 0.75-mile hard-packed gravel gorge trail leads to the base of the falls and is open year-round.

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Watkins Glen Rainbow Falls

11. Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen

If the state park gorge trail remains open, it will be a rewarding experience to see (and feel) the increased water flow through the glen.

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Explore Watkins Glen

The heart of the village of Watkins Glen is the 1.5-mile-long gorge, a truly breathtaking and awe-inspiring showcase of nature’s beauty.

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Shequaga Falls
Shequaga Falls

12. Shequaga Falls

Montour Falls

While you’re visiting Watkins Glen, take a 5-minute drive south to Montour Falls.

This fall on Shequaga Creek is absolutely worth the trip to see after heavy rains. As you can tell from the photo above, there is barely a trickle during the dry season. But I’ve seen photos of the creek raging that are powerful and worth seeing for yourself.

Aunt Sarahs Falls
Aunt Sarah’s Falls

13. Aunt Sarah’s Falls

Montour Falls

Also 5 minutes south of Watkins Glen, Aunt Sarah’s is a roadside waterfall flowing from an unnamed tributary. This photo was taken during one of the dry seasons, but you have to see it when it rains! The mist can cover NY-14, evoking a car-wash feeling.

Akron Falls Park
Akron Falls Park

14. Akron Falls


From the observation deck above Murder Creek, you can enjoy the powerful flow through Akron Falls Park.

Buttermilk Falls State Park swimming

15. Buttermilk Falls


They may close the gorge trail through Buttermilk Creek State Park, but the main fall is next to the road and parking lot. No hiking is required to appreciate its powerful beauty.

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Buttermilk Falls State Park

In Buttermilk Falls State Park, like most of the Finger Lakes gorge parks, stairs are the primary walkway along Buttermilk Creek; challenging but worth it!

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Water: Stony Brook
Stony Brook

16. Stony Brook


As with Watkins Glen, Stony Brook offers an amazing experience with the increased water flow so long as the gorge trail remains open.

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Stony Brook State Park

The walkway through Stony Brook State Park is a combo of shale, gravel, and stairs alongside waterfalls, similar to the other gorge parks.

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This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Hiking Waterfalls in New York: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes
by Randi Minetor

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

200 Waterfalls in Central and Western New York – A Finders’ Guide
by Rich and Sue Freeman

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

Waterfalls and Gorges of the Finger Lakes
by Derek Doeffinger

Library | Amazon

Waterfalls of New York State
by Scott A. Ensminger, David J. Schryver, and Edward M. Smathers

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

New York Waterfalls: A Guide for Hikers & Photographers
by Scott E. Brown

Library | Amazon

W is for Waterfall: An Alphabet of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State
by Aileen Easterbrook and Johanna van der Sterre

Library | Bookshop | Amazon

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Paddle your way to peace and quiet along Rochester’s water trails. Use these launches for canoes, kayaks, and small motorized watercraft.

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Where are your favorite waterfalls and creeks to visit after heavy rains?

Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Debi Bower is the founder and creative director of daytrippingroc.com and author of the award-winning book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.

People often ask me if I get free access to places while exploring. The answer is no unless I’m invited to previews or granted behind-the-scenes access as part of my media role. Generally, I don’t mention my project, Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, because I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content simply because it brings me joy. I would appreciate your support—a cup of coffee or two to help fuel future field trips—if you have found valuable information here that has helped you explore the Rochester area.

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