If you love waterfalls, New York is an amazing place to explore. However, many of the state’s most beautiful and impressive waterfalls require hiking to see.
Fortunately, there are also many incredible roadside waterfalls in New York. These waterfalls can all be seen from inside your vehicle or within a small handful of steps.
So, whether you don’t have time for a hike, aren’t physically able to hike, or just don’t enjoy hiking, you can still see these incredible spots throughout the state.
Located only five minutes from downtown Watkins Glen, Hector Falls is easily among the most incredible roadside waterfalls in New York.
Hector Falls is located directly along Route 414 north of Watkins Glen State Park and along the eastern shores of Seneca Lake. In fact, you can also get great views over the lake from the waterfall.
All told, Hector Falls is said to be about 165 feet tall. However, only the upper 50-60 feet can be seen from the road. The rest sits below the bridge over the stream and can only be accessed via private land. Fortunately, this upper portion feet is quite incredible to see.
There is room for cars to pull over on the side of the road near the falls for those that want to (very carefully) get a closer look.
I’ve seen a variety of heights listed for this waterfall, but my guess is that it is somewhere around 100 feet in height and just as wide as it is tall. This is a seriously impressive waterfall.
While a short and fairly easy 150-yard hike will bring you to the base of the falls, it can also be seen from the bridge over the creek along Lake Street.
For those that want a closer look, there is nearby parking. The paved sidewalks to the bridge make this spot handicapped accessible or easy to check out for those that have trouble with uneven terrain.
It’s worth noting that while the waterfall can be seen from the bridge throughout the year, the trees along the creek do block the view a bit in the summer months, so the best views from here occur when there are fewer leaves on the trees.
This is also one of my picks for the 10 best waterfalls in New York.
Roaring Brook Falls
The Adirondacks is known for its towering waterfalls, and one of the most beautiful is Roaring Brook Falls.
Located in the Keene Valley in Essex County, this waterfall is said to be more than 300 feet in total height, making it the tallest waterfall in the region.
A fairly easy hiking trail leads to the base of the falls, but it can also be seen in the distance from a pull-off along Route 73. While you can only see the upper half from here, this is still a great view, especially when water levels are high and the waterfall is flowing well.
Located in a town of the same name, Honeoye Falls is a picturesque waterfall that’s part dam and part natural waterfall.
This waterfall is roughly 30 feet tall and is located directly in the center of town. Located opposite the primary viewing areas, you’ll see a historic mill and, just downstream, a beautiful old church.
Honeoye Falls can be seen from the East Street bridge over Honeoye Creek. However, the best viewing area is a handicapped-accessible platform adjacent to the Mendon Town Hall building.
Kaaterskill Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Catskills. And while there is a handicapped-accessible path to a view of this waterfall, it’s not one of New York’s roadside waterfalls. However, Bastion Falls, which can be found a short distance downstream, is.
Bastion Falls can be found right along Route 23 just upstream of where Spruce Creek crosses below the road. At 70 feet in height, it’s one of the largest and most impressive roadside waterfalls in the state.
Unfortunately, there’s not really anywhere within sight of the waterfall to stop your car, but this is still a nice spot to drive past if you find yourself exploring the Catskills.
Holley Canal Falls
Holley Canal Falls in Orleans County is one of the most historic waterfalls in New York. That’s because this waterfall is actually a water overflow outlet for the Erie Canal.
However, even though it might be manmade, this waterfall looks quite natural and beautiful. Even better, since the Erie Canal has a constant flow of water, this is a spot you can be sure will have water even in the driest summers.
This waterfall is tucked away in a small park but can be very easily seen from the park’s road and from the parking lot nearest to the waterfall.
Located in Lewis County, Talcottville Falls is another great roadside waterfall to visit in New York.
This waterfall along Sugar Run stands about 15 feet in height and features a beautiful series of drops. The rocky bottom of the river in this spot definitely gives a unique look to this waterfall.
While there is a closer vantage point for those that can handle some uneven terrain, the waterfall can also be viewed from the bridge over the river along NY-12D. While this spot is several hundred yards from the waterfall, it’s quite a beautiful view looking up the river, and the shoulder is wide enough to pull over for a quick look at the falls.
Shequaga Falls is located in the heart of Montour Falls, just a stone’s throw from Watkins Glen State Park. This seasonal Finger Lakes waterfall only flows when water levels are high but is absolutely beautiful when it’s flowing well.
This waterfall is said to be 165 feet tall and flows directly underneath a bridge high above the falls. At the bottom of the falls, the creek makes a 90-degree turn, which means that you can have great views of the face of this waterfall.
There are a few parking spaces located along the road a couple of hundred feet from the waterfall where you can view it without leaving your car. However, you can also walk along the well-maintained sidewalk for an even closer look.
Glen Falls is another great roadside waterfall that’s located near Buffalo, New York.
This waterfall is in a small park in Williamsville and stands about 25 feet in height. While there are paved paths that can take you closer to the waterfall, it can also be seen from Glen Avenue.
There is also a handicapped parking area from which you can get great views of this beautiful waterfall.
This beautiful waterfall near Ithaca is easily over 100 feet tall and is incredibly impressive to see in person. At the base of the waterfall, there is a seasonal swimming area.
For those that love hiking, there is a great trail that goes past several more waterfalls upstream of the main falls, but Buttermilk Falls itself can be seen from the road leading into the park. If you want a closer look, it’s only a few hundred feet from the parking area to the base of the waterfall.
Upper Falls at Letchworth
Letchworth State Park is one of New York’s most beautiful parks and is home to several incredible waterfalls.
Upper Falls is located at the southern end of the park along the Genesee River. There is a railroad bridge high above the waterfall that still carries trains passing through Upstate New York and makes for an incredible sight when enjoying the falls.
Upper Falls is listed at 70 feet tall and has a path leads up to near the crest for those that want a closer look. However, you can also catch a glimpse of this beautiful spot from the nearby parking area.
Middle Falls at Letchworth
Just downstream of Upper Falls, you’ll find Middle Falls in Letchworth State Park.
This waterfall is also along the Genesee River and is easily accessible along handicapped-accessible trails from the same parking area as Upper Falls. At 107 feet tall, this is the tallest of the park’s waterfalls along the river.
While there are closer areas you can check out if you leave your car, it’s possible to get a nice view of this waterfall from Park Road while driving through the area.
Taughannock Falls is located a short distance north of Ithaca and, at 215 feet in height, is said to be the tallest single-drop waterfall in the eastern United States.
For those that don’t mind walking, there are several spots that you can see this waterfall from, both above it and near the base of the falls. However, if you are looking for roadside waterfalls in New York, you can also see this beautiful spot from your car at the upper viewing area.
If you want a better view, there are handicapped-accessible sidewalks that lead from the parking area to a nice view of the falls from a distance.
Yatesville Falls is located deep within Yatesville Falls State Forest in Montgomery County.
This 20-25 foot waterfall can be seen from your car or you can enjoy it from a viewing platform within a few steps of several handicapped parking spots (Regular parking is available about 100 yards from the waterfall).
While this waterfall is roadside, it does require navigating a mile-long dirt road that is quite narrow, though otherwise in pretty good shape. So, while this spot is roadside, it’s also among the most secluded waterfalls on this list.
Tompkins Falls is a beautiful waterfall in New York’s Catskills region.
This waterfall is located along Barkboom Road near the Pepacton Reservoir in Delaware County. It is roughly 20 feet in total height between three main drops, the two largest of which can be seen from the road.
Adjacent to the waterfall is the ruins of an old mill that once stood here.
While there is nowhere with a direct view of the waterfall to pull off to the side of the road, the waterfall can be easily seen from the road. And, given that this is a fairly lightly trafficked road, you should be able to stop for a few seconds to enjoy this spot from your car (Make sure to turn on your flashers if you stop the car on the road).
Bournes Creek Falls
This waterfall is located along West Lake Road and is located near where the creek flows under the road’s bridge. This waterfall consists of two drops, totally about 12-15 feet in height.
There is no official viewing area for this waterfall, but there is room to pull off on the side of the road here for a brief look. It should be noted that while this waterfall can’t be actually seen from your car, all that is required to see it is to stand next to your car and look over the edge of the bridge.
Aunt Sarah Falls
Aunt Sarah Falls is another roadside waterfall located near Watkins Glen State Park.
This 90-foot waterfall is very seasonal and only flows when water levels in the area are high. However, if you can catch it when it is flowing well, it’s definitely worth taking a few minutes to enjoy.
Aunt Sarah Falls is located directly along Route 14 between Watkins Glen and Montour Falls. There are parking and viewing areas on both sides of the road.
If you park on the same side of the road as the waterfall, your car will be in about the best viewing spot for this beautiful waterfall, so you’ll have no real need to leave your car.
Cascade Falls is another majestic waterfall in the Adirondacks.
This waterfall drops roughly 100 feet in height off of the mountainside between Upper Cascade Lake and Lower Cascade Lake about halfway between Lake Placid and Keene, New York.
The waterfall can be seen from Route 73, but those wanting a closer look will want to pull their car into the parking lot between the two lakes, where you can enjoy this scenic spot from the comfort of your car.
Burrville Cider Mill Falls
Burrville Cider Mill Falls is a great roadside waterfall in New York’s Jefferson County.
The cider mill here was built in 1801 and still makes fresh apple cider and apple cider donuts from roughly Labor Day through Thanksgiving. The 30-foot waterfall adjacent to the mill once provided power to it, but now is just a beautiful spot to enjoy their great products.
There are several spots from which you can view this waterfall, even when the mill is closed, but one of the best is from a small pull-off along Plank Road, where you can see this waterfall without leaving your car.
Delphi Falls is located near Syracuse and, until recently, was located on private property. Fortunately, the land is now open to the public to enjoy this beautiful spot.
There are actually two waterfalls in the park, though only the lower waterfall is easily visible and accessible. At 65 feet in height, this is a tall and very scenic waterfall to enjoy.
While the path to the falls is flat and handicapped-accessible, those that want to enjoy the falls from their car can glimpse it from the back of the parking lot.
Kirk Douglas Falls
Kirk Douglas Falls is located in Amsterdam, New York, the birthplace of legendary actor Kirk Douglas.
There are actually two waterfalls located in Kirk Douglas Park, though only one is visible from the bridge on Guy Park Avenue behind the Amsterdam City Courthouse. This waterfall consists of a series of slides and is about 15-2o feet in total height.
There are no sidewalks along this narrow bridge, so viewing it from your car is actually the best and safest way to see this nice little spot.
Do you know of any other roadside waterfalls in New York that you can see from your car? Let us know in the comments below.
Looking for some waterfalls that are along handicapped-accessible paths, but can’t be seen from the car? Check out Tinkers Falls in Cortland County, Cohoes Falls near Albany, and High Falls in Rochester.