Sure, water is cool to look at flowing horizontally. Anybody can stroll over to their local park and see some southward-swirling H2O. But you know what’s even cooler? Water falling down vertically. Falling water. AKA Waterfalls.
Why? Let’s put it this way: If you had the option to watch paint dry or watch an artist paint a masterpiece, what would you choose? Maybe a few smart alecks out there would pick the first option, but the second one is hands down going to garner more votes IRL. While still great, the scenery of lakes and rivers can sometimes become a little… well… dull as a doornob. The steady stream becomes a little stagnant, the paint gets a little dry on the canvas.
But waterfalls are a front row seat to watching Mother Nature paint her masterpiece. Looking at a waterfall is like looking at a work of art that is constantly changing. With every rush of water plunging over the ledge comes a new image. Every stream has its own rhythm, and no two bursts of water make the same sound as they crash against the rocks before sliding back into a new rhythm below. Yet somehow, all of this chaotically blends together to form a beautiful, harmonic type of serenity.
There are plenty of waterfalls flowing around Buffalo. While each one is fascinating in its own right, there are only a select few that really stand out as the must-see waterfalls of the area.
Despite what TLC might say, these waterfalls are well worth chasing. Rather than sticking to the rivers and lakes that you’re used to, going to see some of these beauties may help shake things up a bit. Check out this list of some of the best waterfalls Buffalo has to offer, grab a friend and go see experience them for yourself.
Williamsville, 13.5 miles from Downtown Buffalo
Located right near Main Street in Williamsville, this waterfall is truly a sight to see. The total height of the main waterfall reaches about 30 feet, visible from one of the two parking lots conveniently located on Glen Avenue. With plenty of benches in Glen Park facing the falls, there are many places for park-goers to sit down, relax, and take it all in.
The waterfall isn’t all. Take note of the small island where ducks often gather to sunbathe or swim. But be mindful not to bring loaves of bread to feed them, as signs are posted that say not to feed the wildlife. There’s a few paths and trails to walk down as well. After you’re all tired out from walking around and seeing what Glen Park has to offer, taking a short trip around the corner to E Spring Street might end the day on a super sweet – or refreshing – note. At 56 E Spring St. in the historic Williamsville Water Mill is Sweet Jenny’s Ice Cream, which is complemented by 1811 Comics on the second and third floors. For those who are 21 or older and looking for a little more of an adult atmosphere, head down the street to craft beer and whiskey bar, Moor Pat (78 E Spring St.).
Colden, 26.7 miles from Downtown Buffalo
If you’re looking for a waterfall that is typically less crowded, you’re going to the right place with Colden Falls. This waterfall is located off Heath Road near the Harmony Market. A parking lot is available just past the market on Boston-Colden Road. (Note you can only park for an hour.) There’s a pretty clear view of the falls from the road, however, for those feeling more adventurous, you can go down and walk along Cazenovia Creek to get an even better, up close and personal view. Be advised that choosing to do the above is at your own risk.
If you’re still feeling adventurous, be sure to look along the right side of the creek, as you will find a small sitting area with a swinging wooden bench. Feel free to sit down and soak in the view overlooking the main waterfall before going down further.
Lockport, 32.8 miles from Downtown Buffalo
Located off the Town of Lockport Nature Trail, this waterfall is best seen in mid to late spring because the creek may dry up by mid-summer, according to Scott Ensminger on falzguy.com. This waterfall is found on a side trail to the left of the main path. You’ll pass by a small meadow with birdhouses and a large oak tree that is supposedly 200 years old, Ensminger said. The waterfall itself is small, but in this case, size shouldn’t matter. It’s about six feet tall and 20 feet wide, but it’s still a great sight to see.
Akron, 25.9 miles from Downtown Buffalo
In Akron Falls Park, this beauty stands about 45 feet tall and 40 feet wide. Water flows in various directions, cascading back down into Murder Creek. You’re supposed to stay on the designated trails, where you can clearly see the waterfall from. There are tons of activities to do and other hiking trails to explore in Akron Falls Park after you see the waterfall, too.
Eternal Flame Falls
North Boston, 17.7 miles from Downtown Buffalo
Water… Earth… Fire… Air. The only thing that might make Eternal Flame more perfect is an airbender named Aang and a flying bison named Appa sitting atop. The Eternal Flame is nestled right behind this wonderful 30-foot tall waterfall. It is lit by natural gas emissions and stays that way nearly all the time. Take Route 277 southbound and you’ll come across a parking lot open to the public from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. From there, follow the designated trail down to Shale Creek and go left. Follow the creek all the way down and you’ll find your way to Eternal Flame Falls. Along the way, you may even notice some smaller waterfalls.
Niagara Falls, 20.5 miles from Downtown Buffalo
This list wouldn’t be complete without one of the seven (unfortunately) forgotten natural wonders of the world. The three enormous waterfalls – Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls – collectively form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world. Whether on the American or Canadian side, Niagara Falls is a must-see with tons of different angles to see it from. Oh, and if you haven’t taken a Maid of the Mist tour yet, you should start heading to Niagara Falls now. More information on Maid of the Mist can be found at maidofthemist.com.
Emery Park Falls
South Wales, 26 miles from Downtown Buffalo
Just like Toenniessen Falls, don’t let size undermine your expectations for this one. Drive down Emery Road past the regular entrances to Emery Park. You’ll find a parking lot in front of a ski lift to pull into. Get out of your car and go past the Frisbee golf basket until you see a path that leads a little uphill to the left. On the right-hand side, you’ll find Emery Park Falls.
At times, this waterfall might not have much water flowing down its crest, but no matter this waterfall still proves to be a pleasant sight. A wooden bridge overlooks the top of the waterfall and a stone pavilion is nearby to rest at. To the right of the ski lift and left of the first Frisbee golf hole is another waterfall tucked into the woods. It may take some time to find, but it’s a nice bonus. Be careful and only search for this one at your own risk. After you’re done checking out this waterfall, feel free to stick around and walk down Emery Park’s trails or even play a game of Frisbee golf. Just be sure to bring your own discs.
Springville, 38.4 miles from Downtown Buffalo
While it can still be considered a waterfall, this is first and foremost a dam. Regardless, it’s still worth checking out.
Lockport, 29.9 miles from Downtown Buffalo
Like Scoby Dam, these aren’t technically waterfalls, but they’re still interesting enough to include on the list – especially considering the history behind them. You can knock off two waterfalls in one day by heading to Toenniessen Falls afterward.
Letchworth State Park, Watkins Glen State Park & Zoar Valley
Letchworth: 1 Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427, 59.6 miles from Downtown Buffalo
Watkins Glen: 1009 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891, 134.7 miles from Downtown Buffalo
Zoar Valley: Forty Road, Gowanda, 36.7 miles from Downtown Buffalo
Plethoras of waterfalls are waiting for any true waterfall enthusiast along these locations’ trails – if you’re willing to go the extra miles for them.
Please note that Step Out Buffalo does not condone our readers venturing off where there are signs warning against it. Be safe always!
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