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20 Best Waterfalls in New York (Biggest & Most Breathtaking)

Explore the top 20 waterfalls in New York for a breathtaking escape. From Niagara's mighty falls to hidden gems like Indian Brook Falls, find your next travel destination.

Tobi Miles
July 22, 2022
20 Best Waterfalls in New York (Biggest & Most Breathtaking)

New York is a beautiful state that is home to the largest city in the United States, New York City. This lovely state also has a very beautiful nature scene which includes a variety of breathtaking waterfalls. Tourists come from all over to soak in the beauty that New York has to offer and there is a lot of it.

Want to visit one of the biggest and most breathtaking waterfalls in the world? Go to Niagara Falls! Those looking for a hands-on adventure such as tubing or rafting should visit Rainbow Falls. Looking to fish under a waterfall? Bring your poles to Chittenango Falls. If you want to visit a less crowded waterfall we suggest Plattekill Falls.

Travelers looking to bring their dogs with them will love Dionondahowa Falls. Enjoy a one of a kind dining experience at Roundhouse Restaurant overlooking Beacon Falls. Whether you are traveling with children for the first time or by yourself and a travel pro, there is a waterfall in New York for everyone.

1. Niagara Falls

Credit: ingimage

Niagara Falls is one of the biggest waterfalls in the whole world. The falls have two different viewing locations, one in New York and the other in Canada as it sits right on the border. Niagara Falls is an astounding 173 feet tall and over 2,500 feet wide.

On the New York side, visitors can enjoy getting to go very close to the falls on the Maid of the Mist boat tour. The boat sails past the falls, misting the passengers with water due to the pressure of the waves crashing.

Another famous attraction at Niagara Falls is the Cave of the Winds. To access this area all you have to do is walk down a set of stairs to the Hurricane Deck. The Hurricane Deck is directly under the waterfall and gives visitors an extremely close-up experience.

Visitors love the Cafe of the Winds because they can feel the sheer power of the waterfall and how strong the plummeting water really is. Definitely check out Niagara Falls the next time you find yourself in New York!

2. Eternal Flames Falls

Credit: Nick Viscosi / Flickr

Eternal Flames Falls is located in Chestnut Ridge Park, New York. This waterfall is much smaller than most and is only 35 feet tall. What makes this waterfall unique is the two flames that stay lit within the waterfall in a cave.

This flame is now known as the eternal flame and is caused by natural gas that leaks within the cave. The flame is said to be roughly 8 inches high and it is said that it was originally lit thousands of years prior by Native American tribes in the area.

This flame does go out from time to time due to harsh winds or weather conditions, but do not worry! Hikers are often spotted with lighters just in case the flame is out. Anyone can relight the flame and keep the eternal flame eternal.

Visitors love hiking the beautiful 1.5-mile trail nearby and taking photos of this natural flame. It’s not every day you see a fire lit within a waterfall!

Related Read: 30 BEST Waterfalls in Upstate New York

3. Dionondahowa Falls

Credit: Dave Whitaker Photography / Flickr

Dionondahowa Falls is located close to Greenwich, New York. This waterfall is a mixture of both man-made and natural sections that reach up to 60 feet tall.

The views of the falls are amazing and definitely picture-worthy. This is the perfect place to stop at during a long car ride or just for a day in nature.

Looking for a short hike to get out into nature? Come travel the 0.6-mile trail while taking in the breathtaking scenery of the falls. Animal lovers can even bring their dog with them as long as it remains leashed.

Sadly, if you are looking to get close to the water then this is not the best waterfall option. The gorge is super steep at this particular waterfall and getting to the base is very difficult.

The other difficult part is getting back up, so it is better to not attempt this unless you are a professional. This is still a great waterfall to visit and it will truly leave you in awe. Check it out for yourself!

4. Lucifer Falls

Credit: Eugene Ward / Flickr

Lucifer Falls is located in Robert H. Treman State Park near Ithaca, New York. Hikers can explore the Gorge Trail which leads to the falls for an amazing view. The trail is roughly 1.1 miles and takes about 40 minutes to finish.

Visitors can even step in the water at the base of this 115-foot waterfall to cool off on hot days. People can also climb the stone staircase located next to the waterfall for an above view of the falls.

This waterfall is absolutely stunning and is certainly picture-worthy. Enjoy a nice day out with your family or solo in nature here. Lucifer falls is a beautiful waterfall that should be visited by all!

Related Read: 15 Best Lake Placid Hiking Trails

5. Ithaca Falls

Ithaca Falls is located in Ithaca, New York, and is a favorite waterfall of many. The large waterfall sits on a stony hill and is outlined by beautiful trees and gorgeous scenery. Ithaca Falls is accessible from the base of the waterfall, all you have to do is take a quick hike on the trail.

The hike itself is not difficult and perfect for beginner hikers or families looking to get out and move. Families love to make a day of visiting Ithaca Falls and making memories together.

This waterfall is over 100 feet tall and extremely wide. With so much to see, it is always worth taking the trail to observe this beauty up close. If you are not wanting to hike do not worry! This waterfall can be easily viewed from a nearby bridge over Fall Creek.

6. Horseshoe Falls

Credit: Reddress18 / Flickr

Horseshoe Falls is located on the Cornell University Campus. How cool is that? Though this waterfall is not particularly tall, it has a unique shape and looks to it. It is almost like a series of mini waterfalls that all feed into one another.

This waterfall can be enjoyed from the base for the best view, or from above for some cool photos. Horseshoe Falls has an essence of charm about it that the other falls do not. You should definitely see it for yourself!

7. Buttermilk Falls

Buttermilk Falls is in the south part of the town of Ithaca. Located in Buttermilk Falls State Park, this waterfall is a major tourist attraction and draws people in from all over. This 165-foot waterfall is unique because of its slope-like appearance.

Unlike many other waterfalls that have stark drops, Buttermilk Falls is a gradual decline that looks like a slide or hill. This waterfall is extra fun for families and adventure seekers because swimming is permitted during the summer months, just be careful.

Visitors love cooling off in the water at the base of the waterfall during the hot summer months. Check out Buttermilk Falls for a day of hiking, exploring, and cooling off under a gorgeous waterfall.

Related Read: Top 20 Best Catskills Hiking Trails

8. Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls is located in Taughannock Falls State Park. This waterfall is very close to the town of Ithaca, meaning other waterfalls are nearby and easily accessible. This waterfall is especially unique due to how far of a drop there is.

With a 215-foot drop, this waterfall is taller than Niagara Falls. If you want to visit Taughannock Falls you have a couple of options. For a more close-up experience, we suggest taking the 0.75-mile trail to the bottom of the falls for the best view and pictures.

If hiking is not your thing or you have small children with you, there is a lovely viewing platform that goes over the gorge. The view is still amazing and very memorable, see it for yourself!

If you're in New York City and want to experience the majestic beauty of Niagara Falls, consider taking a tour to Niagara Falls from N.Y. It's an incredible opportunity to witness one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in the world.

9. Rainbow Falls

Credit: Craig Jackson / Flickr

Rainbow Falls is located in Keeseville, New York in the Adirondacks. Rainbow Falls is the perfect place for adventure seekers to go and try something new.

Visitors love doing the ropes course over the falls as it gives people a unique vantage point. This once-in-a-lifetime experience draws visitors from all around.

This 91-foot-tall waterfall is actually made up of a series of waterfalls that all flow into each other. Finding a nice view to look at the falls is not hard thanks to the many bridges nearby and viewing platforms.

Want to get in the water? Enjoy going tubing or rafting through the water while following the current. The land surrounding the Falls is absolutely gorgeous and full of rock walls, heavy forestry, and various wildlife. Check out Rainbow Falls the next time you are in New York.

10. Chittenango Falls

Chittenango Falls is located in the beautiful 194-acre Chittenango State Park. The 167-foot tall waterfall is absolutely breathtaking and attracts nature enthusiasts from all over the world each year. Surrounding the waterfall is a wide variety of different plants and animals.

Viewing this amazing scenery is easy thanks to the numerous trails laid out for visitors to follow. Aside from sightseeing, visitors are also welcome to bring their fishing gear and make a day of it, or have a nice picnic.

Animal lovers can bring up to two pets in the allowed areas and on leashes. Whether you are a solo adventure seeker or a family looking for something to do, Chittenango Falls is the perfect place to visit this summer.

Related Read: 20 Top Treehouse Rentals in New York

11. Eagle’s Cliff Falls

Credit: m margatt / Flickr

Eagle’s Cliff Falls is a must-see this summer. Located in Havana Glen Park, this skinny yet breathtaking waterfall is a favorite amongst many due to the beautiful scenery and trails around it.

Enjoy a nice half-mile hike to view Eagle’s Cliff Falls and soak in the beauty of nature. The hike itself is rather easy, making it great for families and people of all ages. You may be hot after your hike so feel free to cool off and swim in the water at the base of the waterfall!

This 40-foot tall waterfall is a perfect rectangle and pours out into a shallow pond at the bottom. Explore around the waterfall and discover a variety of different plants and wildlife.

Visitors are also welcome to stay and camp at the park. Eagle’s Cliff Falls is the perfect place to visit this summer for a day in the sun!

12. Lower Falls

Lower Falls is located in Robert H. Tremen State Park and is absolutely gorgeous. This waterfall is special because it fans out, widening at the base. This waterfall is also far more colorful than most thanks to the orange rocks and moss along the wall of the waterfall.

Visitors can enjoy going for a swim when it is hot out at the base of the waterfall and taking stunning photos. This easily accessible waterfall is a must-see!

13. Kaaterskill Falls

Kaaterskill Falls is a beautiful 260-foot waterfall located in the Great Northern Catskills and is a sight like no other. From the top, visitors are always in awe of the miles of trees, hills, and various wildlife nearby. It is especially beautiful during the fall months when the leaves are changing colors.

Visitors can enjoy hiking the beautiful trail nearby that guides you right to the waterfall, or they can view it from the parking section. Whichever option you choose, you will be able to see this wonderful waterfall perfectly fine.

14. Beacon Falls

Credit: Lazio / Flickr

Beacon Falls is located in the town of Beacon Falls in New York. This town is a vacation in itself thanks to its extremely artsy and laid-back vibes. One of the main attractions here is, of course, the waterfall, Beacon Falls.

This waterfall only has a plunge of roughly 10 feet, meaning it is relatively small compared to most waterfalls out there. However, the scenery is just as gorgeous and the visitors never complain.

While the waterfall is the main attraction, the second favorite is the Roundhouse Restaurant  that overlooks Beacon Falls. The restaurant arguably has the best food and the best view. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a nice meal overlooking a waterfall? Check it out for yourself!

15. Bash Bish Falls

Bash Bish Falls is Unique because it is technically considered to be a Massachusetts waterfall. However, it is directly on the border of Massachusetts and New York, it even has a parking lot that is made up of both states.

These beautiful waterfalls are located in Bash Bish Falls State Bark and are part of the Taconic Mountains found in the park. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and it is interesting to see how much water pours out of such giant mountains.

The falls are made up of two main waterfalls that then break apart into multiple mini waterfalls. The water then drops and collects into a pool at the bottom of the mountain. Words do not do these waterfalls justice and you need to see them for yourself one day!

16. Diamond Notch Falls

Diamond Notch Falls is located in Lanesville, New York. Explore Catskill State Park as you walk the beautiful trails that all lead to the waterfalls. There are two trails in total and each has its own perks.

The shorter trail is located on Spruceton Road and is only 2 miles long, making it more ideal for beginner hikers or families looking for an easier journey. The other trail is located off of Diamond Notch Road and is 4 miles long and better for more experienced explorers.

Visitors are often seen walking or running on the trail to get some exercise in for the day. Feel free to bring your dog along with you as long as they stay on a leash. Finally, enjoy cooling off in the shallow waters at the base of the waterfalls after your hike.

17. Salmon River Falls

Salmon River Falls is located in Oswego County and is surrounded by over 112 acres of beautiful forest and wildlife. Salmon River Falls is 110 feet tall and stunning to look at.

The waterfall is accessible by a short trail directly by the parking lot making this a great option for families or those who are less experienced with hiking. If you are an experienced hiker and are looking for a more challenging option then you would love the Gorge Trail.

There are a few other trail options that visitors are welcome to choose from, but they all lead to the base of the falls and have amazing views. No matter what your hiking experience or fitness level is, there is something perfect for you at Salmon River Falls.

18. Plattekill Falls

Plattekill Falls is located in the Northeastern Catskills and is a beautiful place to escape into nature. The 65-foot waterfall is found right at the top of the beautiful Platte Cove, a beautiful valley, and is much more secluded than many other waterfalls.

This is the perfect place to go if you are looking for some relaxing alone time or just want a less crowded environment. There are a couple of trails to choose from for hiking or taking a short walk.

It is a great chance to view some beautiful scenery and look for wildlife. Visitors will love the quiet and peaceful views at Plattekill Falls.

19. Middle Falls

Middle Falls is located in Letchworth State Park and is one of the most visited waterfalls in the state of New York. The Genesee River is the main river that makes up the three waterfalls with the biggest one having a 107-foot drop.

This is the perfect waterfall for photographers as its insane width allows for so many different vantage points and angles. There are multiple trails for people to choose from for easy access and a better view of the waterfalls.

Some trails are better for those who do not want to walk much or have children with them. Others are perfect for those who are more experienced hikers and are looking for a challenge.

Letchworth State Park has over 66 miles of hiking trails to choose from so there is plenty to be explored here. Looking for an adventure? Enjoy white water rafting along the river, away from the waterfalls of course.

With miles of forest surrounding the water, this place is especially beautiful to visit during the summer months when everything has blossomed, or in the fall when the leaves change colors.

Middle Falls is absolutely gorgeous and truly one of a kind. Whether you are a solo traveler or a family looking for a day in nature, this is the perfect place to go!

20. Indian Brook Falls

Indian Brook Falls is located in the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve and is a hidden gem. The waterfall is smaller in comparison to most, but just as interesting.

The main waterfall goes down a slope of rocks, breaking it up into several different streams before flowing into the pool of water at the bottom.

This waterfall is not the easiest to get to, making it all the more exciting. To access this waterfall it is recommended that you take Indian Brook Road by the Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary all the way.

The trail usually takes only 10 to 20 minutes to complete, but that can increase depending on the condition of the trail.

Everything about this location is all natural meaning the trails are not necessarily maintained and the waterfall is as natural as it can get.

Be prepared to have to potentially move some branches out of your way or climb over something in the path, but that is part of the fun!.

Once you reach the waterfall you will be amazed at the stunning views and how small you seem compared to the large rocks and trees nearby.

Enjoy cooling off by walking in the pool at the bottom, just be careful as this is pretty secluded and rocks can get slippery. This waterfall is best for families with older children or adults only.

Younger kids will likely not enjoy this and parents will find it to be a challenge, but the decision is all yours. Either way, this is a beautiful place to go and relax away from the city and your day-to-day life.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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