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Discover the breathtaking beauty of New York’s waterfalls on an unforgettable hiking adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a relaxing walk, the state offers a variety of waterfall hikes for all levels. In this article, we’ll guide you through seven of the best waterfall hikes in New York, including must-visit destinations such as the Catskills and Adirondacks. These hikes vary in difficulty and length, ensuring that there’s something for everyone to enjoy. As you hike to these stunning waterfalls, remember to be cautious of your surroundings and keep a safe distance from any cliffs or embankments.
Letchworth State Park- Genesee River Valley
Embark on an unforgettable waterfall hike in New York at Letchworth State Park, also known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” This 14,427-acre state park in western New York is renowned for its stunning waterfalls, including the 107-foot drop of Middle Falls, the 70-foot drop of Lower Falls, and the 50-foot drop of Upper Falls. With a variety of hiking trails, including the popular Gorge Trail and Portageville Trail, Letchworth State Park offers incredible opportunities for waterfall hikes in New York.
Letchworth State Park is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a range of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, picnicking, and fishing. With over 66 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy to challenging, Letchworth State Park has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an adventurous hike, the park’s stunning waterfalls will not disappoint. During the summer season, visitors can also enjoy dining options and several picnic areas with scenic views and grills.
When it comes to waterfall hikes in New York, Letchworth State Park is a must-visit destination. The park offers a range of camping options, including tent and RV sites, ensuring that visitors can make the most of their trip. For more information on Letchworth State Park and the best waterfall hikes in New York, be sure to check out the New York Parks website.
Taughannock Falls State Park- Finger Lakes Region
Discover the beauty of Taughannock Falls State Park, a popular destination for waterfall hikes in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Named after the 215-foot Taughannock Falls, the tallest single-drop waterfall east of the Rockies, this park is just a short drive from Ithaca in the heart of the Finger Lakes.
The park offers several hiking trails, including the challenging Gorge Trail, which leads visitors to the base of the breathtaking Taughannock Falls. In addition to hiking, Taughannock Falls State Park has picnic areas, camping facilities, and a beach on Cayuga Lake for visitors to enjoy. The park is open year-round, offering a unique experience in each season, from the sounds of spring birds to the colors of fall leaves to the peaceful winter snow.
Taughannock Falls State Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for waterfall hikes in New York. Whether you’re hiking, picnicking, camping, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature, this park is a serene and peaceful place to be. For more information on Taughannock Falls State Park and the best waterfall hikes in New York, visit the state park website.
Kaaterskill Falls- Catskill Mountains
Explore the breathtaking beauty of Kaaterskill Falls, one of the most stunning waterfalls in New York’s Catskill Mountains. This two-tiered waterfall features an upper tier with a 260-foot drop and a lower tier with an additional 80-foot drop. Located near the town of Haines Falls in Greene County, Kaaterskill Falls is a popular destination for waterfall hikes in New York.
To reach the falls, hikers must take a steep and challenging trail that leads to the top. Safety should always be a top priority when hiking near cliffs, and it’s important to stay on marked trails and avoid getting too close to cliff edges. The ground can be unstable and slippery, and it’s illegal to come within 6 feet of cliff edges at Kaaterskill Falls. Wear appropriate footwear, such as hiking boots, to help prevent slips and falls.
The trail to Kaaterskill Falls is considered moderate to difficult, with no official length. Hiking time can range from 45 minutes to several hours, depending on your hiking ability and how much time you want to spend at the falls. Despite the challenging trail, the breathtaking views from the top of the falls make it a must-visit destination for waterfall hikes in New York. For more information on Kaaterskill Falls and the Kaaterskill Wild Forest, visit the official website.
Watkins Glen State Park- Finger Lakes Region
Discover the beauty of Watkins Glen State Park, a popular destination for waterfall hikes in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Located in the town of Watkins Glen, this park is known for its 19 stunning waterfalls and scenic hiking trails.
The park’s main trail, the Gorge Trail, offers a 2-mile journey past all 19 waterfalls and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The trail is relatively easy to navigate, but can be steep and slippery in some areas, so it is recommended to wear appropriate footwear and exercise caution. In addition to the Gorge Trail, the park offers several other hiking trails, ranging from strenuous to leisurely, to accommodate a variety of hiking experiences.
Watkins Glen State Park is also a great destination for families, with shorter trails suitable for children. In addition to hiking, the park offers camping facilities, picnicking areas, a visitor center, and a gift shop. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a weekend getaway, Watkins Glen State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
For more information on Watkins Glen State Park and the best waterfall hikes in New York, be sure to visit the park’s website. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this beautiful park and its breathtaking waterfalls.
Buttermilk Falls State Park- Finger Lakes Region
Embark on a scenic adventure at Buttermilk Falls State Park in the Finger Lakes region of New York. This stunning park is located in the town of Ithaca and boasts a landscape of dense forests, rolling hills, and beautiful waterways. The main attraction of the park is the 167-foot Buttermilk Falls, a popular destination for waterfall hikes in New York.
Take a hike along the trails that wind through the park and enjoy breathtaking views of the waterfall and other natural features. Buttermilk Falls State Park offers a range of recreational activities and facilities for visitors to enjoy, including hiking trails suitable for all skill levels, picnic areas, and campsites.
Located just a short drive from the city of Ithaca, known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, Buttermilk Falls State Park is the perfect destination for a relaxing day in the great outdoors or an adventure filled with hiking and exploring. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a peaceful place to relax and enjoy nature, Buttermilk Falls State Park has something for everyone.
For more information on Buttermilk Falls State Park and the best waterfall hikes in New York, visit the park’s website. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this beautiful park and its breathtaking waterfalls.
Vernooy Kill Falls- Catskill Mountains
Set out on a breathtaking journey to Vernooy Kill Falls, one of the most beautiful and serene waterfall hikes in New York’s Catskill Mountains. This hidden gem is known for its rolling nature, with a drop of around 30 feet over 4 stages. The 1.8-mile trail to the falls is challenging, but the stunning views of the surrounding wilderness make it well worth the effort.
Starting from a small parking area near the falls, the trail to Vernooy Kill Falls winds its way through the dense forest of the Catskill Mountains. The steep inclines and rugged terrain of the trail make it a favorite among hikers seeking a less traveled path to the falls. Along the way, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the surrounding wilderness, including towering trees and the soothing sound of rushing water.
The Vernooy Kill Falls is a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts and anyone visiting the Catskill Mountains. With its challenging trail and stunning views, it’s a popular spot for waterfall hikes in New York. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the beauty of this rolling waterfall and the rock formations that surround it. For more information on Vernooy Kill Falls, visit the website here.
Ausable Chasm- Adirondack Mountains
Ausable Chasm, located in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, is a must-visit destination for those seeking breathtaking geologic formations and waterfall hikes. This 2,000-acre park is home to stunning waterfalls, towering cliffs, scenic hiking trails, and a variety of flora and fauna. With its diverse range of activities, including guided tours for hiking and rafting, boat tours, rock climbing, camping, fishing, and bird watching, Ausable Chasm is perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker looking for a challenging trail or just searching for a peaceful place to spend the day, the park has something to offer. The boat tour of the chasm provides a unique perspective of the falls and cliffs from the water, while the hiking trails offer breathtaking views of the chasm and surrounding wilderness.
Visitors to Ausable Chasm can also learn more about the history and geology of the area at the park’s visitor center and gift shop. However, keep in mind that this is a private park, and you will have to pay for access, unlike most of the other waterfall hikes in New York that are on public lands. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable outdoor experience surrounded by natural beauty, head to Ausable Chasm and discover the magic of this Adirondack gem. Get more information on Ausable Chasm by visiting their website here.
New York State boasts some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the country, making it a prime destination for those seeking outdoor adventures. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, there’s something for everyone to enjoy when it comes to waterfall hikes in New York. With this in mind, we’ve provided you with seven of the best waterfall hikes in the state, so you can plan your next outdoor excursion.
If you’re interested in other types of hikes in the area, in addition to waterfall hikes in New York, our guide on the Long Trail in Vermont and the Devil’s Path in the Catskill Mountains are both worth checking out. These trails offer unique and challenging experiences for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. So, gear up, grab your hiking shoes, and embark on an unforgettable adventure in the great outdoors.