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.
The only other place that comes to mind that meets that criteria is the Eternal Flame Trail in Buffalo. There are definitely places where you can walk in a creek and swim under waterfalls, like Buttermilk Falls or Robert H Treman, but they are all state parks with entrance fees and specific regulations.
Grimes Glen is a place where common sense and instinct are your compass. Heavy rain and snow melt will add complexity to this in-and-out hike, but also powerful beauty. Check below for info on parking.
The Footbridge & Trail
After parking, cross over the bridge and take the dirt path along the south bank of Grimes Creek. This is a beautiful walk in all seasons, and is the easiest part of this journey.
There comes a point about .2 miles in where the sidewalk ends and to continue on to the waterfalls you must walk in the water.
The First Waterfall in Grimes Glen
The first fall is about .5 miles from the parking lot. It is a beautiful fall!
The tree canopy opens up above the fall and, as you can imagine, depending on the time of day, reflections of light streaming in is dazzling.
It’s also climbable, with careful steps along the shale ledges.
It makes a great backdrop for group photos, senior pics, and selfies.
We were the only people there at 9:30 am, but 11:30 am the parking lot, and the view, was full!
The Second Waterfall in Grimes Glen
It’s another .5 miles of creek-walking to get to the second fall, and it is so worth it!
You’ll find yourself in a bowl with the waterfall in front of you and high cliff walls all around. It was amazing to find ourselves alone in there for about 20 minutes before a large group came.
The water around the base of the fall is generally deep enough to wade in up you your hips, so a full-body dunk is possible. Checkout this 360° view on our Facebook page.
The Third Waterfall
Alas, you wont find a report here on the third fall. It’s not easily accessible, though you will find a rope for climbing the second waterfall to continue up the creek if you wish! It is a dangerous venture. Most visitors turn around here for the hike back out the way you came in.
More information about Grimes Glen
Cost – Free
Directions to Parking Lot
Directions to Municipal Parking Lot on Mill St. behind the Naples Hotel (a .6-mile walk to the glen)
There is room for 25 cars in the parking lot and no street parking. On a hot day, weekend, or holiday like July 4th, it’s extremely popular. The parking lot will fill up and you will see cars illegally parked along the road. Don’t be like them! You can park down in the village and walk into the glen. From Ontario County’s website, “Parking at Grimes Glen is limited and we encourage visitors to park in the municipal lot located on Mill Street. Grimes Glen also does not accommodate large RV’s and trailers.”
Helpful Tips: A walking stick is useful, and a zip-lock bag in your backpack for a phone, key fob, and other items you don’t wish to be soaked should you fall in the creek. There are restrooms next to the parking lot.
Have you made it to the third waterfall in Grimes Glen?
Please share your thoughts and stories with us in the comments. Your insight and experience are invaluable!