Waterfalls are a front row seat to watching Mother Nature paint her masterpiece. Looking at a waterfall is like observing a work of art 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.
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.
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 experience them for yourself.
1. Glen Falls
Williamsville, 13.5 miles from Downtown Buffalo
Located right near Main Street in Williamsville, this waterfall is truly a sight to behold. The total height of the main waterfall peaks at about 30 feet. It is 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.
There’s a few paths and trails to walk down as well. After you’re 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. If you’re looking for a little more of an adult atmosphere, head down the street to the craft beer and whiskey bar, Moor Pat (78 E Spring St.).
2. Colden Falls
Colden, 26.7 miles from Downtown Buffalo
If you’re looking for a waterfall that is typically less crowded, your destination is 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. There’s a 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.
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.
3. Toenniessen Falls
Lockport, 32.8 miles from Downtown Buffalo
Located off of 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. The 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. The waterfall itself is about six feet tall and 20 feet wide- definitely a great sight to see.
4. Akron Falls
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. We recommend staying on the designated trails, where you can clearly see the waterfall from. There is an abundance of activities to do and other hiking trails to explore in Akron Falls Park after you see the waterfall, too.
5. Eternal Flame Falls
North Boston, 17.7 miles from Downtown Buffalo
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 of 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.
6. Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, 20.5 miles from Downtown Buffalo
This list wouldn’t be complete without one of the seven 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 you’re on the American or Canadian side, Niagara Falls is a must-see attraction. If you haven’t taken a Maid of the Mist tour yet, you’re missing out.
More information on Maid of the Mist can be found here.
7. Emery Park Falls
South Wales, 26 miles from Downtown Buffalo
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. Proceed past the Frisbee golf basket until you see a path that leads uphill to the left. On the right-hand side, you’ll find Emery Park Falls.
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 to the 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. Air on the side of caution if you’re ambitious enough to seek out this hidden gem. 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.
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 and leave no trace.
This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.