State Parks: Niagara Falls

5 Exceptional Waterfalls Near Rochester

There are many beautiful waterfalls near Rochester, New York, and it can be difficult to choose just one from a long list of options. Whether you’re a local resident, a college student, or a visitor from out of town, this list is perfect for you. It contains five waterfalls that are definitely worth visiting, especially if you haven’t been to them before. Consider this list as a starting point to help you explore the area’s natural beauty.

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.

High Falls
High Falls, Rochester

1. High Falls

There are only a few cities in America that have an amazing waterfall as their central attraction. You can experience this urban waterfall from different perspectives to fully appreciate its importance: the Pont de Rennes Bridge, the viewing platform on the east bank, and the roof of the Genesee Brew House.

Best New York Attractions - Niagara Falls American Falls
Niagara Falls, USA

2. Niagara Falls, USA

Niagara Falls State Park, America’s first state park, was established in 1886 and designed by Frederick Law Olmsted two years before creating Rochester’s Highland Park. Visitors travel far and wide to see Niagara Falls, and we are fortunate to drive there in 90 minutes. The falls are majestic year-round, and I highly recommend going at different times throughout the year to witness the uniqueness of each season.

Corbetts Glen
Corbett’s Glen

3. Corbett’s Glen

Nestled in between an expressway and two highly trafficked roads near the Penfield-Brighton town border, Corbett’s Glen Nature Park is a glorious green space in a suburban jungle.

To visit Corbett’s Glen North, start from the parking lot on Penfield Road. You can follow stone dust, wood chips, and pine needle trails toward the south end. The pathways are easy to navigate, though some parts of the trail, like the Stone Steps, can be steep.

State Parks Taughannock Falls
Taughannock Falls State Park

4. Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls is one of the most accessible waterfalls in our area’s state parks, second only to Letchworth State Park, whose High and Middle Falls can be appreciated from several observation points.

Grimes Glen climb waterfall
Grimes Glen, Second Waterfall

5. Grimes Glen

There are few experiences like Grimes Glen around Rochester. The glen is public, free, and you are encouraged to walk in the water. Most people look forward to wading the creek to the first and second falls—both 60′ cascades.

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Swimming Holes

On a hot day, you can sit under a waterfall, swim in a lake, or jump in a creek at one of these refreshing natural swimming areas.

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Easy Waterfalls

Not all waterfalls are hidden in dark ravines. Many of the region’s most stunning waterfalls can be viewed from the road or a short walk.

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49 New York State Parks Within a Two-Hour Drive of Rochester

Venture into one of these New York State Parks within a two-hour drive of Rochester and discover what makes them unique.

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Freshwater Creeks Around Rochester

These beautiful creeks around Rochester impact us in such subtle ways they sometimes disappear into the background of our lives.

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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

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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

Where are your favorite waterfalls near Rochester?

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.

4 thoughts on “5 Exceptional Waterfalls Near Rochester”

  1. By some counts, there are at least 3200 waterfalls in New York. There are some waterfalls on private land that are not on anyone’s list. One example is the 10 waterfalls on Little Mill Creek near Dansville. This land was recently acquired by the Genesee Valley Conservancy. I consider myself fortunate to have visited this area for years (with the permission of the owners). The largest waterfall is about 48 feet high and flows over the same rock strata as the highest waterfall in Stony Brook State Park (about 3 miles away). Although parts of this creek have been party sites for high schoolers for years, other parts show no trace of human presence in decades. Viewing these waterfalls requires wading in the creek and climbing up some of the waterfalls. Watch the Genesee Valley Conservancy website (https://www.geneseevalleyconservancy.org/newsblog/wayland-waterfall-becomes-conservancy-preserve) for updates on plans for this land. There are a few photos of the area in this gallery: https://photos.randrews4.com/Landscapes/Little-Mill-Creek-Waterfalls/Little-Mill-Creek/n-B5D62h/

    1. Thank you for sharing this information abut Gully Preserve. I’d love to explore it. It sounds like a wonderful hidden gem and it’s wonderful that the GVC is able to protect it from future development.

  2. The Lower Falls are my local favorite. This waterfall is more accessible than the High Falls. You can see it from the Driving Park Bridge or walk down into Lower falls park and get close to the brink. If you are more adventurous, you can hike down the trail from Maplewood Park into the river gorge. If the river is not too high you can scramble along the rocks along the bank and get up close to the base of the falls. The other side of the gorge is accessible from Seth Green Drive. Since the bottom of the gorge has a hard layer of limestone (as opposed to a deep plunge pool at High Falls) the Lower Falls generates lots of spray. This creates localized ice storms in the winter and rainbows when the sun is shining. There are a few (dozen) photos of the Lower Falls in this gallery. https://photos.randrews4.com/Landscapes/Lower-Falls-of-the-Genesee/20110307-Lower-Falls-Park-Sele/

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