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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Mark K.

Seven gorgeous hidden waterfalls near NYC

From nearby parks to the Finger Lakes and Adirondacks, here are nearby waterfalls you won't want to miss.

Written by
Will Gleason
,
Tolly Wright
&
Shaye Weaver
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In the mood for chasing waterfalls?

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 you won't want to miss. We all know about Niagra Falls, but these New York waterfalls will offer stunning getaways without the crowds.

RECOMMENDED: The best weekend getaways from NYC

Gorgeous hidden waterfalls near NYC

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. 

Indian Brook Falls

Just outside Cold Spring (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.

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Buttermilk Falls

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 are 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.

Split Rock Falls

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Near what was once the American/Canadian border in the 18th century, this 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 nature-loving travelers each year.

4 hours drive from New York 

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Watkins Glen State Park

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 waterfalls all more breathtaking than the last. 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.

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.  

5 hrs by car from New York.

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Lucifer Falls

Lucifer Falls is the crowning jewel of Robert H. Treman State Park, another must-see park in the Finger Lakes region. After hiking through a gorge called Enfield Glen that looks like something out of The Lord of the Rings with 12 waterfalls and mossy walls, visitors will come upon the towering 115-foot-tall waterfall called Lucifer Falls. Unlike a lot of waterfalls, this one is easily viewable thanks to a paved trail and several stone staircases that are set along the gorge. That’s not to say it isn’t a hike, but this one is so worth it.

A four-hour drive from New York

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