10 Waterfalls in the Finger Lakes for a Beautiful Daytrip

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When you live in New York or you’re visiting the Empire State, the Finger Lakes area is a perfect way to balance your urban experience with some fresh air.

Leave all your cares behind and lace up some hiking boots to enjoy the full New York experience and visit these spectacular waterfalls.

The Best Waterfalls to Visit in the Finger Lakes

A road trip from Syracuse or Rochester will land you in the Finger Lakes region. While there, be sure to check out the following falls.

Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls

Located in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, Taughannock Falls State Park is a popular sightseeing destination for travelers.

At 215 feet tall, it is the tallest single-drop waterfall east of the Mississippi River. The massive gorges surrounding the falls make for a breathtaking view and provide a perfect spot for hikers and campers to get away from it all.

The area offers numerous recreational activities, such as kayaking, fishing, and boating, so visitors can enjoy their time in the great outdoors.

Hector Falls

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Hector Falls is another often-visited stop for travelers heading to the Finger Lakes region. Surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills, the 165-foot waterfall is a sight to behold.

Visitors can enjoy a leisurely hike along the picturesque trails that surround the popular waterfall, and there is plenty of wildlife to admire as well.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen NY 2519

Rainbow Falls is the centerpiece of Watkins Glen State Park in the Finger Lakes region and is many visitors’ favorite waterfall.

The fall is an awe-inspiring sight, offering a spectacular view of the gorge below.

At nearly 150 feet high, it is the tallest waterfall in the park and is surrounded by thick vegetation and dense forests.

Visitors can admire the beauty of the waterfall while taking a leisurely stroll along the park’s walking trails.

Carpenter Falls

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Located on the western edge of the Finger Lakes, the surrounding area is also home to various wildlife, such as deer and foxes, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers and hikers.

The cascading waters of the falls create a mesmerizing vista, and visitors can enjoy the relaxing atmosphere while taking in the elegance of the Finger Lakes.

Aunt Sarah’s Falls

Aunt Sarah's Falls - Montour Falls, New York

Aunt Sarah’s Falls is a hidden gem in the Finger Lakes region. The waterfall is nestled within the peaceful atmosphere of a valley, surrounded by lush, green trees.

At a height of almost 90 feet, it is the tallest waterfall in the area and provides an extraordinary view that can’t be found elsewhere.

Visitors can savor the beauty of the site while enjoying a peaceful hike along the surrounding waterfall trails, or simply relax and admire the natural charm.

Seneca Mills Falls

Keuka lake outlet trail

Dropping nearly 40 feet, Seneca Mills Falls is a moderately sized waterfall that you can enjoy in the area.

The cascading waters plunge into a deep plunge pool, surrounded by thick forests and a tranquil ambiance.

Thanks to its remote location, Seneca Mills Falls often remains unvisited and provides an opportunity for travelers to get away from it all.

SheQuaGa Falls

Shequaga Falls - New York

SheQuaGa Falls is an often-overlooked site tucked away in the Finger Lakes region. The way its flowing waters roll down a series of slopes almost looks like you could ski down it.

Surrounded by trees, the delightful views and the calming sounds of the waterfall are the perfect backdrop for a relaxing afternoon.

Visitors can explore the nearby trails, take in the prettiness of the Finger Lakes, or simply sit back and enjoy the serenity of the place.

With its majestic beauty, SheQuaGa Falls is an unforgettable experience that you should definitely check out in the Finger Lakes region.

Cascadilla Gorge Waterfall

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you’re a fan of amazing waterfalls, Cascadilla Gorge Waterfalls are a striking sight to behold in the Finger Lakes region.

Composed of a series of cascades, its flowing waters are a supremely attractive image to capture.

The area wears a coat of green forests and small streams, giving it an out-of-this-world character that visitors will love. The nearby trails offer hikers and nature lovers an opportunity to explore the gorge.

Eagle’s Cliff Falls

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Eagle’s Cliff Falls is another secret spot in the Finger Lakes region. It is located in a remote and secluded area, surrounded by verdant forests and a tranquil atmosphere.

The falls drop over 160 feet, creating a hypnotic view that visitors can enjoy from the nearby hiking trails.

It is a great spot for bird-watching, as the area is home to a variety of species, making it an ideal destination for nature admirers.

Montour Falls

Shequaga Falls

When in Schuyler county, Montour Falls provides an excellent excuse for some time in the clean air of nature.

At the base of the falls, you will find benches and a clearing where you can relax and take in the sun.

Depending on the time of year, you will find Montour Falls has a different look as the falling waters are surrounded by deciduous trees.

Other Natural Sites to Check Out in the Finger Lakes Region

Besides the region’s beautiful waterfalls, here are some other amazing sites to hit while in the Finger Lakes.

Seneca Lake

Glenora Wine Cellars

Seneca Lake is the largest of the Finger Lakes and offers visitors a variety of attractions and activities.

From sailing and fishing to swimming and hiking, it is an ideal spot for outdoor enthusiasts.

Along with its natural beauty, visitors can explore quaint towns and villages that offer a unique glimpse into the Finger Lakes’ rich history.

The Finger Lakes region is full of wildlife, and the lake provides plenty of opportunities to observe it in its natural habitat.

Gorge Trail

Taughannock Falls at Gorge Trail Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg, NY 2383

For the adventurous spirit, the Gorge Trail is a great option.

It winds through the Finger Lakes and follows Seneca River Gorge, taking visitors past stunning waterfalls and other natural features.

Along the way, you will find plenty of opportunities to view wildlife and observe native plants. The Gorge Trail is 1.5 miles in length and can be completed in under an hour.

Robert H. Treman State Park

Robert H Treman State Park in winter

Robert H. Treman State Park is another must-visit for outdoor fans in the Finger Lakes region.

The park offers miles of trails for hikers, as well as other recreational activities like swimming in the natural pools and camping on the beautiful land.

It is also a great spot to take in the scenery, with its many impressive waterfalls and deep gorges, soaring cliffs, and wildflowers in bloom.

Wildlife is abundant, so keep your eyes peeled for all kinds of animals as you explore this marvelous natural environment.

Which Is Better, Watkins Glen or Letchworth?

When it comes to deciding which Finger Lakes region is best, it really comes down to a matter of personal preference.

Watkins Glen and Letchworth are two of the most popular options and both have something special to offer.

Letchworth has a stunning backdrop of cliffs and beautiful gorges, while Watkins Glen has 19 dramatic waterfalls that cascade down steep ravines.

Ultimately, it’s pretty hard to pick one over the other. However, we recommend you take it upon yourself to come to that verdict, as these are natural attractions that really need to be visited in person to be fully appreciated.

Conclusion

With its glorious natural beauty and plethora of activities, the Finger Lakes region is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels and is full of natural wonders.

The incredible waterfall views, lush forests, and diverse wildlife make this a must-visit spot.

It’s no wonder that the Finger Lakes are one of the most beloved regions in New York state.

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