Hiking to the Lower Falls and Cave

New York Lower Falls Parking Area

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn, Winter

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Scenic

Up close view of falls. Fly fishing in the Genesee River. Cave exploring~1 mile roundtrip hike (out-and-back).

From the Maplewood Park parking lot off of Driving Park, head towards the restroom building to the east (opposite the rose garden). Go down the stairs and at the base of the stairs, hop the railing to follow the dirt trail to the left towards the gorge.

At one point the trail hugs an open dirt cliff. Use extreme caution here. Shortly after, you will reach an area where the trail breaks up. There are larger rocks leading down into the gorge. Descend here. Once at the banks of the Genesee, head right (upstream) under the Driving Park Bridge and towards the falls.

The park is built upon the foundations of the McCrackenville mill settlement dating back to the 1820s. The falls are still used today as part of an electric power plant, which is to the left of the falls, on the opposite side of the Genesee River. A viewing area at the base of the falls will provide an excellent opportunity to see the falls close up (sometimes you can stand right beside them, depending on water levels), as well as the Driving Park Bridge behind you and a man-made cave to the right of the falls.

In times of rain and saturated ground, especially in Spring months, this trail is not accessible and water levels of the Genesee River are too high to reach the falls or cave. In the winter, this trail is especially slippery, making ice spike cleats a necessity, but worth the incredible icy waterfall view at the end.

Pack List

  • Waterproof boots
  • Rain gear
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Lenses
  • Extra batteries
  • Ice spike cleats in winter
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Reviews

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Came back to visit Rochester and found this. Easy walk down and rewarded with an awesome view. 4 stars? 5 for the view but unfortunately on the way down the trail close to the river is absolutely covered in trash and old beer cans. On the opposite side of the river their is a road that leads down to the waterfall as well. Just park and hop a guardrail and walk down a slight hill. I would recommend this route for those less inclined to take the fun route.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

This is my favorite! It's a great place to go with a couple friends. But you need to be smart about when you go. I've probably been at least 30 times and the scariest was this past winter, I went when the snow was melting, and a giant icicle fell and tumbled down the side of the cliff. I had to grab my buddy and jump out of the way before an icicle the size of motorcycle could hit us! Just be careful and you will have a great time. Probably don't go during the winter.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Easy access, short walk, and cool scenery. I've been around the area for nearly 20 years and never knew you could go down their.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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