Lower Falls (Genesee River), New York

The Genesee River in New York has a wealth of impressive waterfalls. There are two sets of three falls each separated by a pretty significant distance. Three are found in Rochester, while the others are found further south in Letchworth State Park. The three in Letchworth State Park (UpperMiddle, and Lower) are more isolated. The three in Rochester are reminders of the hustle and bustle of humanity.

High Falls is the furthest upstream, and is in my opinion the most impressive of the three falls in Rochester. Lower Falls is a short drive from High Falls, though I have to admit that the surroundings do seem to change somewhat dramatically. High Falls is surrounding by hip restaurants, whereas Lower Falls is surrounded by less impressive factories. It also seems less safe near Lower Falls, but that just means you need to be more aware.

There is a park devoted to Lower and Middle Falls, but the views to be had there are not the most spectacular. You can’t see the whole falls at the park viewpoint. Better views might be had on the bridge downstream from the river, though I don’t remember if there was a path for pedestrians. Still, the falls were flowing pretty intensely, so it was impressive even if the surroundings weren’t.

Directions:

  1. From I-490, take the Rochester Inner Loop Highway to St. Paul Street.
  2. Turn left onto Driving Park Avenue.
  3. You will cross the bridge over the Genesee River.
  4. Just a short distance after crossing the bridge, there will be a parking area for the park on your left. If I remember correctly, the parking area was right near the YMCA. We showed up later in the day, so I don’t think there were parking issues.
  5. Follow the Genesee Riverway Trail to Lower Falls. Middle Falls is on the same trail.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 78′
Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip

Lower Falls of the Genesee River in Rochester in May 2009

Where in the World is Lower Falls?

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High Falls (Genesee River), New York

There are three waterfalls on the Genesee River that are found in downtown Rochester, New York (Lower, Middle, and High Falls), and High Falls is the most scenic of the three. There is a beauty that comes from seeing how humans have interacted with waterfalls, and it’s especially true here.

Once you find parking, High Falls is very easy to view, as there is a pedestrian bridge that crosses the river. You can get many different views of the falls from the bridge. From the bridge, I think you can see remnants of other bridges down below in the river.

Directions:

  1. From I-490, you’re going to want to exit and get to State St.
  2. On State St., there will be a parking garage for High Falls. If you are driving south on State St., the parking garage will be on your left. I believe the parking was free when I was there, though there may be a cost at certain times.
  3. From the parking area, walk toward the river and historic district. As you are walking toward the river, you will pass a High Falls “Museum and Gift Shop”, which has some interesting history in it.
  4. The falls will be best viewed from the pedestrian bridge.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 96′
Length of Hike: 0.3 miles round-trip

High Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is High Falls?