10 Best Waterfalls in New York (& Where To Find Them)

Written by Volia Schubiger
Updated: June 29, 2023
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Best Waterfalls in New York infographic
if you love nature, then you’ll definitely enjoy going waterfall exploring in New York.

Did you know that New York State has hundreds of waterfalls? There is no denying that New York is known for its sparkling lakes and stunning mountains such as the Catskills and the Adirondacks. And of course, who can forget New York City? It’s hard not to be inspired by the sight of these natural wonders. So if you love nature, then you’ll definitely enjoy going waterfall exploring in New York.

We’ve got the scoop on the best waterfalls in New York and where you can find them. Get ready for an unforgettable experience!

1. Letchworth State Park Upper & Middle Falls

Letchworth State Park Upper & Middle Falls New York

Letchworth State Park, sometimes referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” is a breathtaking region in the eastern United States

©iStock.com/Ravi Natarajan

Location:Hunt, NY
Nearby Attractions:Letchworth State Park
Animals to See:Henslow’s Sparrows, Red Fox

Letchworth State Park covers 14,350 acres and is located about an hour from Buffalo. There are 66 miles of hiking trails in the park and some of the most beautiful waterfalls in New York.

Overall, the Upper and Middle Falls are the park’s crown jewels. There is an old railroad bridge under which the upper falls of the Gennessee River flow. Because the bridge is arched, the view is spectacular. The nicest thing is that it just takes a few minutes to walk from the parking lot to these falls.

2. Ithaca Falls

Ithaca Falls New York

Ithaca Falls is a waterfall in Ithaca, New York

©iStock.com/Faina Gurevich

Location:Ithaca, New York
Nearby Attractions:Finger Lakes
Animals to See:Skunks, Woodchuck

Ithaca Falls can be viewed from a bridge over Fall Creek on Lake Street, or you can hike a short distance to the falls’ base. This is one of the most impressive waterfalls in New York, with a height of over 100 feet and a width that exceeds its height. Located in the Finger Lakes region of New York, the falls are about four hours from New York City. To fully experience everything this region offers, you’ll want to book a hotel or Airbnb nearby.

3. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is located on the border of Buffalo, New York, and Ontario, Canada


Location:Niagara Falls, NY
Nearby Attractions:Niagara Falls State Park
Animals to See:Weasels, Rabbits

Niagara Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world and the largest waterfall in New York. People often consider this magnificent monument to be a must-see during their lifetime. Niagara Falls’ Horseshoe Falls is the largest of its three cascades. With a height of 173 feet and a width of 2,600 feet, it measures approximately 24,600 square feet. This incredible scene is flooded with about 150,000 gallons of water every second. It’s no surprise that this is one of North America’s Seven Natural Wonders.

Niagara Falls is believed to be close to extinction. Read more about it in this article.

4. Buttermilk Falls 

Buttermilk Falls NY

Buttermilk Falls is the most impressive of the ten cascades found in Buttermilk Falls State Park


Location:Ithaca, NY
Nearby Attractions:Buttermilk Falls State Park
Animals to See:Flying Squirrels, Grey Petaltail Dragonfly

The two sections of falls, which plummet from 165 feet, curve around a canyon before reaching their final, most exciting destination, a lake with a swimming hole. Swimming and enjoying yourself in Buttermilk Falls State Park is one of the best things to do. Buttermilk Falls, unlike many of the cascades on our list, is near the parking lot so you’ll be able to see it without having to walk far.

5. Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls New York

Taughannock Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Rocky Mountains, with a plunge of 215 feet (66 meters)


Location:Ithaca, New York
Nearby Attractions:Taughannock Falls State Park
Animals to See:Lake Trout, Atlantic Salmon

At 215 feet, Taughannock Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. Around this Ithaca waterfall are 300-foot-tall rocks that form an incredible valley. The best views of the waterfall can be found along the park’s Gorge and Rim paths, which offer both above- and below-ground views.

6. Eternal Flames Falls

Eternal Flames Falls

Eternal Flame Falls is a small waterfall in Shale Creek Preserve

©Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock.com

Location:Orchard Park, NY
Nearby Attractions:Chestnut Ridge Park
Animals to See:Squirrels, Hawks

In comparison to some of the other waterfalls on our list, Eternal Flames Falls is a small waterfall, measuring only 30 feet tall. However, Eternal Flames Falls features one of New York’s most bizarre occurrences. A small cave lies behind the waves of this waterfall in Orchard Park. Natural gas is released from the sandstone there. As a result, a flame four to eight inches high may result from the ignition of the gas.

7. Kaaterskill Falls

Kaaterskill Falls New York

Kaaterskill Falls is 260 feet in height, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in New York

©iStock.com/Sharan Singh

Location:Hunter, NY
Nearby Attractions:Catskill Mountains
Animals to See:Black Bears, White-tailed Deer

Kaaterskill Falls rises over the Great Northern Catskills at 260 feet over two enormous plunges. To get here, you’ll have to hike. However, you won’t have a problem getting there since it’s only 1.4 miles one way. As you sit back and take in the natural beauty of the Catskills, you will see why hiking here is one of the best things to do in the Catskills. Keep in mind, however, that it gets so crowded at times at Kaaterskill Falls that the road is blocked. 

8. Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Watkins Glen State Park

©iStock.com/Paul Massie Photography

Location:Watkins Glen, NY
Nearby Attractions:Watkins Glen State Park
Animals to See:Waterfowl, Reptiles

Watkins Glen State Park is barely two miles long, yet it has so much spectacular natural beauty that you’ll find it difficult to leave. A visit to this western New York destination is unmissable because of its jagged cliffs, deep valley, and green forest. Rainbow Falls, however, is among the most appealing attractions in the area and one of the prettiest waterfalls in New York. 

9. Chittenango Falls

Chittenango Falls New York

Chittenango Falls State Park’s major feature is a beautiful 167-foot waterfall


Location:Cazenovia, NY
Nearby Attractions:Chittenango Falls State Park
Animals to See:Ovate Amber Snail, Eastern Meadowlarks

Chittenango Falls is a spectacular 167-foot waterfall in Cazenovia Lake. This glacier cascade is particularly interesting because its bedrock dates back more than 400 million years. The cascade can be found within Chittenango Falls State Park (about 30 minutes southwest of Syracuse) and is surrounded by paths, so visitors can enjoy it from all angles. 

10. Salmon River Falls

Salmon River Falls, New York

Salmon River Falls is a 110-foot waterfall in Oswego County, New York, near Orwell


Location:Oswego County, New York
Nearby Attractions:Salmon River Falls Unique Area
Animals to See:Green Frog, American Robin

Salmon River Falls is part of Oswego County’s 112-acre Salmon River Falls Unique Area. In this area, the 110-foot falls are among the most prominent features. Easily accessed from the parking lot via a nice trail, the falls are approximately a quarter-mile away. If you want a better view, you should try the Gorge Trail. But be warned, as it’s a steep and treacherous hike!

Summary of the 10 Best Waterfalls in New York

Here’s a summary of the 10 best waterfalls in New York and where they are located.

1Letchworth State Park Upper & Middle FallsHunt, NY
2Ithaca FallsIthaca, NY
3Niagara FallsNiagara Falls, NY
4Buttermilk Falls Ithaca, NY
5Taughannock FallsIthaca, NY
6Eternal Flames FallsOrchard Park, NY
7Kaaterskill FallsHunter, NY
8Rainbow FallsWatkins Glen, NY
9Chittenango FallsCazenovia, NY
10Salmon River FallsOswego County, New York

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Faina Gurevich

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About the Author

Volia Schubiger is a freelance copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When she's not writing she loves traveling, perusing used book stores, and hanging out with her other half.

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