Upper Falls (Genesee River), New York

This the furthest upstream of the three major falls on the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park. It’s not as tall as Middle Falls, though size can sometimes be deceiving.

I really think that the waterfall is very pretty, but it’s actually the things surrounding the falls that interested me, or at least made the waterfall more intriguing. First off, there is a railroad track that crosses rather far above the river. At one point, there was actually a train passing 120 feet or so above the river. You can actually walk to the railroad track, though there’s no way I would get on the track.

Also, while most of the snow had melted by the time we arrived in early May, there was some snow that was left over. It looked very odd near the waterfall, and created this intriguing view that I can’t really describe very well. The snow looked sort of dirty, but it was melting and creating its own little “waterfalls”.

There is another waterfall that is directly to the right of Upper Falls that comes from a stream that flows into the Genesee River. It’s the second portion of Shadow Cascade.


  1. I can’t remember which entrance we entered from, but those of off NY-39 are the best choices.
  2. When you enter the park, there will be signs leading to different areas. Find the signs leading to Middle and Upper Falls. I believe you will be heading south as you head toward these falls.
  3. The parking area for the falls is very near the southern entrance to the park. You will know you are in the right place when you see a functioning inn.
  4. From the parking area, you’ll have no difficulty finding Upper Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 71′
Length of Hike: 0.4 miles round-trip

Upper Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is Upper Falls?


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