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9 Awesome New York Waterfalls to Check Out That Aren’t Niagara Falls

By Livingthedreamrtw @livingdreamrtw

Last Updated on by Jeremy

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Out of all of the natural formations out there in the world, one of our favorites is waterfalls. These beautiful walls of water can take on various shapes and forms and are awe-inspiring every time we see them.

As far as New York waterfalls are concerned, they're among some of the very best in the country- and many are just as inspiring (if not more) than the iconic Niagara Falls!

Since we are frequent travelers in upstate New York, we wanted to share a few of our favorites today (although the below are certainly not a collection of them all- there are a ton of waterfalls in NY worth checking out!). So if you find yourself on a New York road trip between Rochester and Syracuse, or are perhaps checking out wineries in the Finger Lakes, be sure to detour to these great falls!

Tinker Falls Near Syracuse

9 Awesome New York Waterfalls to Check Out That Aren’t Niagara Falls

Much like Delphi Falls, Tinker Falls is on the shorter end of the spectrum at about 50 feet in total height.

The trail to this one, unfortunately, ends a fair bit away from the falls themselves (photo taken with a telephoto lens), but those who are willing to trudge through a stream (~4-5″ deep) will be able to continue along a path to walk up and even behind the falls to get a unique vantage point! (Although the hike is a bit precarious.)

While many visitors may skip the final walk in the stream, the view for this one is easily reached in just a few minutes from the parking area. The trail is mostly flat and wide but is a bit uneven at times.

Tinker Falls is located just off Route 91 in Tully, NY.

Taughannock Falls Near Ithaca

9 Awesome New York Waterfalls to Check Out That Aren’t Niagara Falls

At 215 feet, Taughannock Falls is the tallest waterfall I've visited in Upstate New York, and its drop is quite imposing.

Part of this is because you are able to view it from a viewing platform across the canyon (above photo). But the second is that you can also visit from ground level (below photo)!

9 Awesome New York Waterfalls to Check Out That Aren’t Niagara Falls

The top trail is easily accessible from the parking area, while the lower trail is an easy walk for most even though it is ~15 minutes from the parking area.

It should be noted that the area near the falls is prone to rock falls, and we had to dodge some rather large ones during our visit. As such, be careful if getting close below.

Buttermilk Falls Near Ithaca

Taughannock Falls upper trail is located at 2381 Taughannock Park Road and the lower trail is located at 1740 Taughannock Blvd.
9 Awesome New York Waterfalls to Check Out That Aren’t Niagara Falls

On the surface, Buttermilk Falls doesn't look like a 165-foot tall waterfall. There are two reasons for this.

First, the waterfall is split into two roughly equal height cascades plus several shorter ones in between where the cascade twists around the gorge. Second, the waterfall is at a fairly mild angle giving it more of a flowing river look than typical falls (which was excellent for a photographer like me!).

Buttermilk Falls is easily accessible from the parking lot in a short walk; however, a staircase trail does lead up the falls along the right side (pictured) for those who want to explore the upper sections a bit more.

Aunt Sarahs Falls Near Watkins Glen

9 Awesome New York Waterfalls to Check Out That Aren’t Niagara Falls
Buttermilk Falls is located at 112 E Buttermilk Falls Road in Ithaca.

Aunt Sarahs Falls is an unmarked waterfall off of Route 16 near Watkins Glen and Shequaga Falls. The exact height of this waterfall appears debatable (as a portion is said to not be visible from the road) but it is best seen with a well-timed visit around the rains. This one is typically low flow unless right after a few rainy days, so you may visit and find this one more of a trickle than a waterfall, but we got quite lucky during our trip all the same.

Waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park

9 Awesome New York Waterfalls to Check Out That Aren’t Niagara Falls

Finally, we come to Watkins Glen State Parks, one of the most stunning parks in Upstate New York. While most of Watkins Glen is known for its interesting rock formations and gorges, making it perfect for a half-day of hiking, there are many waterfalls to be seen there as well (sadly, our photos of these don't do it justice).

Aunt Sarahs Falls is located just off of Montour Townsend Road (Route 16) near Watkins Glen. A small parking area is available across the street though it is unmarked. You may have to climb over a road barrier to access this one.

So if you're looking to check out waterfalls while also having a stellar hike, there is no place better than this great spot on Seneca Lake!

With regards to accessibility, walking around Watkins Glen is fairly easy, but there are stairs and some uneven surfaces to deal with. Likewise, the park does close sometimes after bad weather.

Do you have a favorite waterfall in New York? Comment below to share and we'll try and visit in our next trip to the state!

Looking for a place to stay in the Finger Lakes? Check out the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel where we stayed on a recent visit and had a great time- just blocks away from the iconic park and on the shore of Seneca Lake! Or, if you're looking for more things to do, head down to Corning to check out the Corning Museum of Glass.

Looking to book your next trip? Check out the following services we use!

Watkins Glen State Park is located at 1009 N Franklin Street in Watkins Glen.

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