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.

Directions:

  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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Middle Falls (Genesee River), New York

Middle Falls on the Genesee River is a rather popular name. One of the falls is in Rochester, while the other is in Letchworth State Park. This post refers to the larger, more interesting Middle Falls in Letchworth State Park. Middle Falls is a rather grand falls. It’s pretty wide, relatively tall, and really loud! As part of Letchworth State Park, it also has many other waterfalls nearby. Upper Falls is a few hundred yards away.

The waterfall can be viewed up close from the parking area for High and Middle Falls. It can also be viewed from Inspiration Point, if I remember correctly. At that point, you can visit Inspiration Falls, which I was not able to photograph due to the angle. At that viewpoint, you will be able to see both Middle Falls and Upper Falls simultaneously, which is very cool. You may also be able to view Deh-ga-yah-soh Falls to your right, though it might be easier to miss this falls with two much larger falls in your view. Lower Falls is further downstream.

Directions:

  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 Middle Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 107′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Middle Falls on the Genesee River in May 2009

Where in the World is Middle Falls?

Paper Mill Falls, New York

Paper Mill Falls is one of those waterfalls where man has definitely met nature. At first, the graffiti seems to detract instead of add to the character of the falls. At second glance, though, it seems to be the perfect example of how humans have this amazing attraction to waterfalls…not that people won’t put graffiti on any bridge, but still, I think people have always been attracted to waterfalls. They’re mesmerizing.

Paper Mill Falls is a very nice falls right off the road in a park in the western New York countryside. It also is full of history, as it is the former location of a paper mill, just another indication of the usefulness of moving, flowing water.

Directions:

  1. From Avon, NY, travel south on NY-39.
  2. Turn left on Paper Mill Road. Head on Paper Mill Falls Road for a short distance.
  3. On the left side of the road will be a park. This is the park that is directly next to the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 8′
Length of Hike: roadside

Paper Mill Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is Paper Mill Falls?

Lower Falls (Genesee River), New York

The Genesee River takes multiple drops as it heads toward Lake Ontario. These multiple drops occur in different places. Near Rochester, there are three major drops. In Letchworth State Park, some distance from Rochester, there are three more signifcant drops. They are unimaginatively named Lower, Middle, and Upper Falls.

Lower Falls is the furthest downstream in Letchworth State Park. It is the shortest of the drops in the park, but is still very beautiful. All three of the waterfalls are accessible, though Lower Falls does have some uneven parts of trail. Even so, it is easy to access. Along the way to Lower Falls, you will come up to a beautiful brick bridge that crosses the river, and connects multiple trails. When I visited, the trails on the opposite side of the gorge were blocked off.

Directions:

  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 to the Lower Falls and head toward that area.
  3. You are going to pass the Lower Falls restaurant parking lot and head to the parking lot at the end of the road.
  4. From there, follow the trail that essentially leads straight to the falls.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 70′
Length of Hike: 0.8 miles round-trip

Lower Falls of the Genesee River in May 2009

Where in the World is Lower Falls?