Along the eastern shores of Seneca Lake is one of the most impressive roadside waterfalls in New York: Hector Falls.
Hector Falls is located roughly 3.5 miles north of the lower entrance for Watkins Glen State Park along Route 414. As you drive along this roadway, you can’t help but see this towering waterfall as you cross within feet of this behemoth.
Hector Falls is said to be 165 feet in height, though only about 50 feet the falls is above the road. The rest falls in two more drops as the water makes its way into the lake far below.
Hector Falls occurs just a few hundred yards from where Hector Falls Run flows into Seneca Lake. This waterway is roughly five miles long and starts in Finger Lakes National Forest east of Hector, New York.
When visiting Hector Falls, you have two choices: see it while driving by or enjoy it from the road’s shoulder.
Sadly, there is no real viewpoint for Hector Falls. However, the shoulder on the side of the road is wide enough both for cars to park and for people to enjoy this waterfall.
From the bridge, the upper tier of the waterfall is quite impressive. The water cascades down the cliff and flows under the road before dropping over 100 more feet. It’s possible to see these cascades a bit from the roadway, but the full height of the waterfall is hidden by trees and private homes below.
Still, even if you can only see the upper third of Hector Falls, it’s well worth taking the short drive up from Watkins Glen to see this great roadside waterfall in the Finger Lakes.
How to Get to Hector Falls
Hector Falls is located along Route 414 on the eastern side of Seneca Lake about five minutes from downtown Watkins Glen. It can be found at the following coordinates: 42.418086, -76.866766. You can also use the address for the Finger Lakes Waterfall Resort, which sits adjacent to Hector Falls: 3835 NY-414, Burdett, NY 14818.
While this waterfall can be observed from the car, many opt to park and take a closer look. If you do, extreme caution should be used as cars travel this road at a high rate of speed and visibility around the falls isn’t amazing.
No parking is allowed on the northbound side of the road, but there is a pull-off big enough for several cars south of the bridge on the southbound side of the road. No parking is allowed in the nearby hotel’s parking lot unless you are staying there, of course.
After parking, use great caution exiting your vehicle and crossing Route 414 to the waterfall side of the road. There are also fantastic views of Seneca Lake and some shrouded views of the lower part of the falls from the side of the bridge that you parked on, so make sure to check out both sides if you can.
Most people view Hector Falls from the bridge, but if water levels aren’t high, a small path on the southern edge of the bridge leads down to the flat area below the upper tier of the falls.
Once back in your car, take some time to drive and see the waterfalls of Watkins Glen State Park, the roadside waterfalls in Montour Falls, or drive a bit to see Taughannock Falls, Wells Falls, and the waterfalls in Ithaca.
There is also a neat waterfall of the same name in northern Pennsylvania. Find out more about that Hector Falls on our sister site, Uncovering PA.