Waterfalls - 12 min read

10 Best Waterfalls in Watkins Glen (Most Accessible & Pet-Friendly)

Nancy Schaefer

Nancy Schaefer, Updated October 24, 2022

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Watkins Glen is home to many things, world-class racing is the star. Once the sound of engines revving dies down, it’s home to amazing natural wonders and spectacular waterfalls.

Watkins Glen State Park, a 778-acre park, is at the village’s heart. The narrow gorge, which spans a less than two mile distance, offers an opportunity to see 19 waterfalls in one day.

Beyond the village, many state parks offer hiking trails that lead to cascading waterfalls. For those with physical limitations, 4 roadside waterfalls also make this list.

1. Eagle’s Cliff Falls


These waterfalls are located in Havana Glen Park in the tiny town of Montour Falls. The park charges a small nominal fee for the journey, which is short and fairly easy walking.

The trail is narrow but well maintained and smooth, making it an easy trip for most individuals. The trail leading to these waterfalls is a bit secluded and could be overlooked.

Once there, it’s a leisurely walk along the path that takes less than an hour. Hikers of diverse skill levels will transverse a simple series of steps up at one point as they move along the path.

Along the journey, there are small waterfalls to enjoy. The journey concludes at the Eagle’s Cliff Falls, the grand finale of waterfalls. This secluded spot makes it wonderfully peaceful to reconnect with nature and let go of stress.

The water is clear, and those who are daring can step into the pool of water beneath to cool off and swim. The water is shallow, making it safe for almost everyone. Hikers that enjoy privacy will enjoy this waterfall best if they hike in and out early.

The park is dog friendly for those hikers who bring their pets. The surrounding park has picnicking and camping for those who want to stay a bit longer and explore.

Address: 135 Havana Glen Road, Montour Falls, New York 14865
Website: Eagle’s Cliff Falls
Cost of Admission: $2.00 Per Car
Hours of Operation: Daily – 5 AM – 10 PM

2. Aunt Sarah’s Falls

Credit: David Parsons / Flickr

This beautiful roadside waterfall is located in the same town as Eagle’s Cliff Falls. The waterfalls are beautiful and great for those who dislike hiking.

While heading north on Route 14, there is a small parking spot to pull over and view the falls just across the street. For the more daring, it is possible to maneuver across the sometimes-busy road and get a closer look.

The falls are not as high or vast as other waterfalls in the area, but during the peak season, they will be impressive. Another great time to visit this waterfall is just after a really good rainstorm.

It’s possible that this waterfall is not flowing at other times of the year. The waterfalls are a combination of cascading water that gently floats over craggy rocks and fall freely over cliffs.

It’s not a very tranquil setting but makes a great starting point for visiting waterfalls in this area. The property surrounding this spot is privately owned, so there isn’t anywhere to picnic or use the restroom.

Address: 307 North Catherine Street, Montour Falls, New York 14865
Website: Aunt Sarah’s Falls
Cost of Admission: Free
Hours of Operation: Anytime of Day or Night

Related Read: 15 Best Waterfalls in the Adirondacks

3. She-Qua-Ga Falls


These remarkable waterfalls are located in the heart of Montour Falls. When you enter the town, it’s hard to miss the breathtaking waterfalls above the town at the end of Main Street.

The park is between private properties with a path leading to the site of the falls for photos. There is a limited parking section directly in front of the park entrance, which holds a couple of cars.

The falls can also be enjoyed from above for a different view. For a spectacular view, visit during the evening when the falls take on an illuminating appearance.

The small park area is easy walking to the falls. The terrain is level and smooth, and the walk is short and simple. Admission to the small park is free.

To reach the top of the falls, there is a road to the right on Main Street. That road will lead up that hill, and after a left turn, there is the top of the falls. There is a bridge that cars can cross while driving at the top.

These falls offer everyone a chance to enjoy their beauty from many different locations in town. Individuals who can travel by car to get closer can do so.

Those individuals who want to view it from a quiet spot at a distance can. Other individuals who want to get up close and personal will enjoy the quick walk through the park.

Address: 5 Genesee Street, Montour Falls, New York 14891
Website: She Qua Ga Falls
Cost of Admission: Free
Hours of Operation: Anytime of Day or Night

4. Lucifer Falls


These falls are breathtaking and beautiful in the Robert H. Treman State Park. The park offers two parking lots for two different adventures.

Experienced hikers and enthusiasts will enjoy parking in the lower lot for an intense hiking experience. Those individuals who can’t or don’t want all that exercise will benefit from parking in the upper parking lot.

The parking lot is a short walk to the main falls making it a quick and easy adventure on a well-maintained and marked trail. The hike is challenging but not so difficult that it’s only for seasoned backpackers.

Various trails wind hikers past numerous waterfalls of different sizes. The Rim, Gorge, Loop, and Waterfall Trails provide exciting outdoor sights. The hike on any of these trails moves through diverse terrain with numerous stairs and uphill climbing.

To do the entire hike up and down again takes hikers a few hours, depending on their speed and breaks. The distance is approximately 5 miles depending on the trails chosen. The park is dog friendly and great for kids.

This park is great as it’s less crowded than some waterfalls in this area, with lots of tranquility in a peaceful natural area. The lower area has fewer stunning waterfalls; the upper area has more breathtaking waterfalls.

The falls are beautiful, but the park also offers swimming with lifeguards, picnicking, camping, and cabin rentals. Aside from the stunning falls, there are some amazing stairways to contemplate and admire.

For an easy way to see Lucifer Falls, it’s best to park in the upper parking lot for an easy walk. Devil’s Kitchen Falls is exceptional too.

Address: 105 Enfield Falls Road, Ithaca, New York 14850
Website: Lucifer Falls
Cost of Admission: $9.00 Per Car
Hours of Operation: Daily, Dawn to Dusk

Related Read: 30 Best Hiking Trails in Hudson Valley

5. Hector Falls


At over 150 feet, the Hector Falls is one of the top 3 highest falls in New York State. Located in the Southern part of Seneca Lake outside Watkins Glen, these falls are across a bridge.

To get to the falls, individuals must park in the small parking lot and travel across a bridge to this roadside wonder. Parking is a bit tough on the road across the bridge. At certain times it can get a bit dangerous, so travelers beware.

The falls themselves are large and impressive in size for a roadside feature. It is easy to miss them but stopping to turn around can be an adventure in and of itself.

The falls are not only impressive in size but also because of the numerous steep drops off cliffs and the way they cascade over massive rock formations. It can be tricky to get great pictures due to their location. The best way to view them is by boat tour on Seneca Lake.

Address: Route 414, Hector, New York 14841
Website: Hector Falls
Cost of Admission: Free
Hours of Operation: Anytime of Day or Night

6. Watkins Glen State Park


With 19 waterfalls within this park, it’s a great place to take a break and unwind with beautiful views. The trip through this gorgeous gorge is two miles long and travels down 400 feet.

The trails can sometimes be slippery and muddy, so comfortable and durable shoes should be worn. The state park charges a parking fee for guests for the day. The price varies depending on whether visitors live in New York or another state.

The trails are not handicapped accessible and are a physical challenge. The park does get crowded, so it’s best to arrive and hike early.

The hike is up some 800 stairs, but at the top, there is a bus on select days and times to transport tired and weary travelers back to the visitor center and their car. The bus shuttle costs $6.00 per person.

The waterfalls follow one after another, each offering its unique cascading aspect and appearance. The North entrance begins with Jacobs Ladder, which is remarkable. The park also has a visitor center, camping, and snack bars in season.

Address: 1009 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, New York 14891
Website: Watkins Glen State Park
Cost of Admission: $8.00- $10.00 Per Car
Hours of Operations: Daily, Dawn to Dusk

Related Read: 25 BEST Romantic Cabin Getaways in New York

7. Deckertown Falls


Located outside the town of Montour Falls, Deckertown Falls are a bit challenging to reach but a delightful surprise when successful.

The small parking area is located along Catlin Street in town. From there, hikers can travel the short path to the creek. Once by the creek, hikers are at the bottom section of the falls.

It’s a short hike in a lovely gorge area that is moderately challenging for hikers of some experience and abilities. The hike is a modest climb upwards, so hikers should be prepared.

The path can be slippery, so appropriate shoes should be worn. When weather permits, there are 2 viewing areas, the upper and lower. Each will offer a unique vantage point for viewing these beautiful falls.

It’s important for those hiking to stay on the path; on either side of the falls is private property. The Deckertown Falls are small but beautiful in their multiple cascading levels.

The area is secluded and peaceful; the hike can be completed by most in under an hour, depending on physical ability.

Address: 117 East Catlin Street, Montour Falls, New York 14865
Website: Deckertown Falls
Cost of Admission: Free
Hours of Operation: Daily – 5 AM – 10 PM

8. Buttermilk Falls State Park


Arguably the most popular and memorable falls in the area, Buttermilk Falls is located in a large state park. The falls have the exquisite Bridal Veil style and make a great spot for an impromptu wedding photo shoot.

The falls are close and convenient, which is one of the reasons why they are so popular. A hop, skip and jump away from the parking lot, it’s easy to see why.

The short distance and the smooth and simple terrain make the falls accessible to many people. The falls can get busy during select peak times, but it’s still possible to find a quiet moment.

The falls offer a unique swimming experience for those who are interested. The park has other waterfalls beyond the infamous namesake, picnicking, and other activities like camping.

Hikers should wear comfortable and waterproof shoes during the hike. The area is modern; those looking for a peaceful nature retreat won’t find it here. Hikers can explore numerous trails like the Gorge Trail, which runs next to the falls.

There is a stone bridge for hikers that want to take a different path and head back down using the Rim Trail. This park property is clean and well maintained.

Address: 112 East Buttermilk Falls Road, Ithaca, New York 14850
Website: Buttermilk Falls State Park
Cost of Admission: $9.00 Per Car
Hours of Operation: Daily, Dawn until Dusk

9. Grimes Glen Park


Not more than an hour away from Watkins Glen is a small park with 3 lovely waterfalls. A couple of blocks from the center of the town of Naples, this park offers easy walking.

Parking is a bit difficult as there are limited spaces and tight spots. The trail that leads to the falls is flat and smooth, making it an easily accessible hike for almost anyone at the beginning.

Less than a half mile from the entrance, the trail becomes a bit more difficult as it leads to the larger and more exciting waterfalls. There are numerous spots for taking photos and enjoying the beautiful ravines and waterfalls.

The trail winds along a creek, and it’s a good idea to wear water repelling shoes as traveling through streams to get to the falls is required. The 3rd waterfall can be a bit more challenging than anticipated if not prepared.

Bathroom facilities are located at the entrance to the parking area. The park is pet friendly, so your dog can tag along, and it’s a great spot to see wildlife as well.

Address: 4703 Vine Street, Naples, New York 14512
Website: Grimes Glen Park
Cost of Admission: Free
Hours of Operation: Daily, 6 AM – 9 PM

Related Read: 20 Top Treehouse Rentals in New York

10. Taughannock Falls


This magnificent waterfall is located in a state park of the same name and is a spectacular sight. Waterfalls some 215 feet to the base over craggy cliffs. The Rim and Gorge Trails allow for breathtaking views.

The walk to the falls is level, smooth, easy, and short, making it a great trip for just about anyone. The park can get quite busy, so it’s best to go early if tranquility is what a traveler seeks.

Those who want to see it from above can take a drive to the top and enjoy that view. The upper area has a visitor center, restrooms, and a lovely pollinating garden for visitors who wish to explore.

Address: 1740 Taughannock Boulevard, Trumansburg, New York 14886
Website: Taughannock Falls
Cost of Admission: $9.00 Per Car
Hours of Operation: Daily, 8 AM – 8 PM

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