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Middle Falls
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Mark K.

Six gorgeous waterfalls near New York City

By Tolly Wright

Whether you're hoping to hop on the train to get out of New York for a day or you're looking for that perfect camping spot, why not spend it in the great outdoors, made all the more gorgeous with gorges and waterfalls? From the nearby parks just north of Westchester County to the scenic destinations near the Finger Lakes and Adirondacks, here are the waterfalls in New York state you won't want to miss. 

1. New Croton Dam


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When the New Croton Dam was built over a hundred years ago to help supply water to New York City, it might have served a civic purpose, but it also created a beautiful spillway. Visit the 97–acre Croton Gorge Park at the water’s base to appreciate the views and take advantage of the picnic and fishing spots.

50 minute drive or take Metro North to Croton-Harmon and take a cab. 

2. Indian Brook Falls

Just outside Coldspring, New York (yes, that’s a convenient stop on the Metro North!) at the Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary bird-haven is this natural beauty. While it’s technically illegal to swim here, in the warmer months you wouldn’t be alone splashing around in the pristine water.

One hour by car or take Metro North to Coldspring and take a cab.

3. Buttermilk Falls


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Nestled in the quaintly named Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca, this Finger Lakes area waterfall is the epitome of scenic. One cascade not enough for you? There’s nine other, smaller waterfalls that can also be found by any ambitious hiker ready to take on the trails.

Four hours drive from New York.

4. Split Rock Falls


I love waterfalls🏞 #CliffJumping #SplitRockFalls

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Near what was once the American/Canadian border in the 18th century, fall in the Adirondacks is beautiful and dangerous. The cold water rushing down the jagged rocks might give that babbling, siren call to those wishing to swim, but if there's been a heavy rain recently visitors would be better of looks and not touching—about a dozen years ago a few teenagers drowned because of the water's force. Still, the beauty of the Adirondack Mountains and its rivers and lakes make Northern New York a destination for foliage-loving travelers each year.

4 hours drive from New York 

5. Watkins Glen State Park


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Perhaps the most staggering of the Finger Lakes state parks, the glen descends 400 feet through 200 feet cliffs over the course, which results in 19 water falls all more breathtaking than the last within a two-mile area. One waterfall even has a path for people to hike behind the constant stream of water, so you can pretend you’re in The Last of the Mohicans any time you damn well please.

4 hour and 20 minute drive from New York.

6. Letchworth State Park


Middle Falls is 🔥 — Letchworth State Park

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Known as the Grand Canyon of the East, the Genesee River winds 17 miles through 14,000 acres of state park over three major waterfalls. How tall exactly are these “major” falls? Well, the shortest is 70 feet high, while the tallest is 107 feet—that’s higher than a 10-story building. It’s a bit of a longer drive, but don’t fret: There are over 250 campsites and 80 cabins for overnight getaways in this majestic park.  

The polls are open! Vote for your favorite spots that deserve a Love New York Award.


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