When traveling in New York, I love to find waterfalls that feature both easy-to-reach viewing areas and also offer the chance to hike to the base of the falls. Wolcott Falls in Wayne County is a great example of this type of waterfall.
Wolcott Falls is located within the aptly named Wolcott Falls Park in Wolcott, New York. It is listed in sources as 50 feet tall, but that strikes me as a bit of an exaggeration. (35-40 feet is my guess) Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful waterfall that is well worth taking the time to see.
There are two spots from which to view this great waterfall. The upper viewing platform is located directly adjacent to the parking lot while the lower viewing area requires a hike of around 2-3 minutes, though it is a bit steep in places.
The upper viewing platform for Wolcott Falls is located next to the park’s entrance and near the road and bridge over Wolcott Creek. Since there is a ramp to the viewing platform, it should be fully handicap accessible, though the gravel lot could be muddy at times.
From the viewing area, it’s possible to see the entirety of this impressive waterfall. There is also a kiosk here that offers a bit of history of the area and a few historical photos, as well as a small map that shows the route to the base of the falls.
According to the signage, Wolcott Falls was instrumental to the founding of the town. It was here that the first mills were set up in the region, and the small Mill Pond on the opposite side of Mill Street was created to provide power for the many businesses in the area.
Today, the mills are gone, but the pond remains and provides a nice amount of water to feed this natural waterfall a short distance downstream.
While the view from the top is great and definitely worth seeing while visiting, the hike to the bottom of Wolcott Falls is a must-do if you are able because it’s rare that you can so easily get this close to the base of a waterfall.
To reach the base of the falls, walk through the small park and past the playground equipment. As you reach the back of the park, you’ll see a wide gravel path.
This path is steep in spots but is otherwise fairly easy to walk. After making a 180-degree turn, the path soon levels out for the short walk upstream to the base of Wolcott Falls. Be cautious near the base of the falls as the rocks can be slippery.
Seeing Wolcott Falls from below is incredibly impressive. While it’s far from the tallest Finger Lakes’ waterfall, it’s still quite beautiful.
Wolcott Falls is a plunge waterfall with a rock shelf near the bottom that the water will sometimes bounce off of if levels are lower.
During my visit, the waterfall was flowing quite heavily, which was quite impressive to see from below, but I think it would have looked better with a bit less water. The water levels made photos from below difficult as there was a lot of spray coming off of the waterfall. However, that would only be a huge deal when the waterfall was flowing heavily.
Once you’ve had your fill of the waterfall from below, retrace your steps back to the parking area.
If you find yourself in the northern Finger Lakes or looking for a neat place to stop while driving Route 104 across northern New York, take a quick detour to visit the beautiful Wolcott Falls Park in Wayne County.
How to Get to Wolcott Falls
Wolcott Falls is located just outside of downtown Wolcott, New York. The town is just under an hour drive from both Syracuse and Rochester, so it’s an easy New York waterfall to visit if you are exploring either city or are traveling between them.
The parking area at Wolcott Falls Park can be found at the following coordinates: 43.221206, -76.812173.
The upper viewing is adjacent to the parking area and should be accessible to everyone.
The path to the lower viewing area can be found at the back of the playground and should only be used by those comfortable with a steep, but quite short, hike.