New York is generally known for the tall skyscrapers, nightlife, and popular attractions of NYC. People from all over travel to this city to see Broadway shows, explore Times Square, and view monumental buildings. But few make plans to visit New York to enjoy its natural beauty—and we don’t just mean Central Park. There are stunning waterfalls in NY scattered throughout the state that are perfect spots for the adventure traveler or nature lover. Next time you’re looking for something different to do while you’re there, here are 8 of the best waterfalls in NY to check out.
Located in Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca, New York, this waterfall is as appealing as its name. Named for its thick and foamy cascades, Buttermilk Falls is a heavenly sight to behold. In fact, don’t just stare it—jump in it and enjoy the cool water as you watch the cascades from up close. Although this is our favorite, this New York state park also includes nine other waterfalls and a plethora of activities. Stay overnight in one of the many cozy cabins, enjoy the peaceful nature trails through the park, and go for a swim in the waters of Buttermilk Falls.
New Croton Dam
This giant waterfall and dam is an absolute must-see attraction. Located in Westchester County, New York, the New Croton Dam was originally made to better the water supply for New York City. This colossal, half-natural dam creates a booming waterfall that makes for a grand view. While this isn’t one of those waterfalls in NY where you can also swim in, many people love to come to here for picnics with family or loved ones. Enjoy a relaxing lunch outdoors in Croton Gorge Park with the mighty waters of the New Croton Dam in the background.
High Falls Gorge
Take a trip to High Falls Gorge for access to stunning views of four Adirondack waterfalls that will take your breath away. Located in Wilmington, NY, this privately-owned park is a perfect place to bring the family along. All but one path are made of a sturdy staircase with railing on each side that provides safety for the kiddos without taking away from the beauty of the surrounding nature. Take in the stunning views of the park’s Rainbow Falls, Main Falls, Mini Falls, and Climax Falls as you wander through this little slice of heaven.
Indian Brook Falls
This is one of the most underrated waterfalls in NY, but not because it’s nothing special. Few people outside of Philipstown, NY have heard of this hidden gem, and they are seriously missing out. Indian Brook Falls is situated in the woods, requiring just a short off-road hike to get there. Because it’s such a little-known spot, getting there can be difficult, so make sure you snag these directions before beginning your little adventure. Upon arriving, you’ll come to the magical waterfall of Indian Brook Falls rushing down a small gorge. While it’s no extreme trek and swimming isn’t allowed, it’s worth driving out to just for the view. Once you’ve taken it the beauty of Indian Brook Falls, enjoy a walk on through the Constitution Marsh on its well-kept boardwalk.
Prepare to have your mind blown with the grandeur of Taughannock Falls. Located in Taughannock Falls State Park in Trumansburg, NY, this waterfall is absolutely astonishing. This natural attraction plunges 215 feet into the water from cliffs that are up to 400-feet tall. If that doesn’t put it in perspective for you, this should: this waterfall is 33 feet taller than Niagara Falls. This New York state park has two other waterfalls to see, but the main cataract puts them both to shame. Watching the powerful water from Taughannock Falls dive from that height is a sight you’ll be certain never to forget.
Eternal Flame Falls
This is definitely one of the most unique waterfalls in NY we’ve ever seen, making it an absolute must for your itinerary. Located in Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park, New York, Eternal Flame Falls is truly unlike anything you’ve ever seen. A serene (but bumpy) hike through the park to this popular spot sits a small waterfall with a rare flame underneath it. The small but remarkable flame is made possible by the natural gas emitted in the little cave. If you’re looking for an extraordinary view, you have got to make a trip to Eternal Flame Falls. Plus, the flame makes for a great Instagram photo.
We know—it’s no surprise that Niagara Falls is on our list, but that doesn’t make it any less special. Made up of three waterfalls that rest on the border between the U.S. and Canada, these must be on your bucket list. These colossal waterfalls in NY will make you feel ridiculously small in the best way as you’re overwhelmed by their majestic waters. The best part about visiting the waterfalls of Niagara Falls is that there are so many ways you can experience them. Whether you want to observe them from Prospect Point or on the Maid of the Mist boat tour, the choice is yours.
Rainbow Falls – Watkins Glen State Park
This ethereal spot is the dreamiest of them all, and you’ll see why once you get there. Located in the popular Watkins Glen State Park, Rainbow Falls looks like a scene from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Rivendell. Above this waterfall in NY is the picturesque Rainbow Bridge and another small waterfall dropping over the trail. At the bottom of Rainbow Falls is a natural pool that’s a deep, bright blue, begging you to dive in. We could definitely just stand here all day and stare at this picture-perfect waterfall.
If you want to see the magnificent beauty the Earth has to offer, these are the waterfalls in NY to visit.
Because New York has so much more than touristy shops to explore and skyscrapers to gaze at. Not that we don’t enjoy those things as well, but there’s more to New York than that.
Did we miss any of your favorite waterfalls in NY, or have you been to any of the ones we mentioned? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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