Middle Falls of the Genesee River (Letchworth)

Letchworth State Park / Livingston County / Wyoming County, near Castile / Portageville, New York, USA

Rating: 4     Difficulty: 1
The Middle Falls of the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park

TABLE OF CONTENTS



[Back to top]

INTRODUCTION

The Middle Falls of the Genesee River was definitely our favorite of the three major waterfalls on the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park as it was easily the largest and most spectacular of them all. It could very well be our favorite waterfall in the state of New York not named Niagara Falls. From looking at the photo at the top of this page, it shouldn't be surprising why we thought so highly of it.

The falls has been said to be 107ft in height, but it also seemed to be a bit wider than it was tall, making Julie partial to this one. We were able to view this falls from a variety of vantage points all accessible on very easy paved walking paths that were a short distance from the car park (see directions below). There was even a top down vantage point from a lookout right in front of the historical-looking Glen Iris Inn.

The Middle Falls comprised the lower drop of the nearly back-to-back series of waterfalls with the Upper Falls. The depth of the canyon here kind of gave it the rugged appearance as the Genesee River carved into this part of the "Grand Canyon of the East" that was also known as Portage Canyon. We were able to appreciate the overall canyon as well as both waterfalls from Inspiration Point, which was a well-established lookout at a separate car park from the Upper and Middle Falls.

The extensive network of walkways around the falls allowed us to photograph and enjoy it from plenty of different vantage points. We started off by visiting its brink, then we walked further downstream along the gorge allowing us to get even more views of the falls from various angles. There was also the closest frontal view of the falls where we could best appreciate the breadth of the wall of water while also getting a little bit of its spray. Finally, there was a path crossing the driveways then going up stairs towards the Glen Iris Inn, which appeared to be bustling with activity during our latest visit in October 2013.

Because this falls also had some character to its wide drop, it was the right kind of waterfall to bring a tripod along and try to take those long exposure photographs (many of which were featured on this page). Of course, if the tripod proved to be too inconvenient, the concrete barricates also could have served as makeshift tripods to steady the camera and take those long exposed silky shots. Indeed, options were plenty and the hour or so we spent at this falls (as well as the Upper Falls just a few minutes walk further upstream) reminded us why this place was worth the repeat visit.

Finally, the falls was said to be known as "Ska-ga-dee" by the local Native Americans (particularly the Seneca tribe). I also read in the literature that they actually light up these falls at night from May to October though we never stuck around late enough in the day to see this for ourselves.




[Back to top]

PHOTO JOURNAL

The Middle Falls of the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park as seen during the early Summer of 2007The Middle Falls of the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park as seen during the early Summer of 2007
The same view of the Middle Falls of the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park as above except this was during the Autumn of 2013The same view of the Middle Falls of the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park as above except this was during the Autumn of 2013
This was the view of both the Upper and Middle Falls of the Genesee River from Inspiration PointThis was the view of both the Upper and Middle Falls of the Genesee River from Inspiration Point
Full view of the Middle Falls while standing on the railingFull view of the Middle Falls while standing on the railing
Looking over the brink of the Middle FallsLooking over the brink of the Middle Falls

As we walked further along the paved walkway, we could see more of the Middle Falls and the gorge it carved out for itselfAs we walked further along the paved walkway, we could see more of the falls and the gorge it carved out for itself

Julie and Tahia on the wet walkway alongside the Middle FallsJulie and Tahia on the wet walkway alongside the falls

Another angled look at the fallsAnother angled look at the falls

Angled view of the Middle FallsAngled view of the falls

Angled but more frontal look at the fallsAngled but more frontal look at the falls

Julie and Tahia making their way down to the closest frontal view of Middle FallsJulie and Tahia making their way down to the closest frontal view of the falls

Looking back at the context of the walkways skirting the gorge besides the Middle Falls in Autumn 2013Looking back at the context of the walkways skirting the gorge by the falls in Autumn 2013

Contextual view of the waterfall and the walkway that goes alongside itContextual view of the waterfall and the walkway that goes alongside it (taken in early Summer 2007)

The Glen Iris Inn which also featured a lookout area for a more top down view of the Middle FallsThe Glen Iris Inn which also featured a lookout area for a more top down view of the falls

A trio of ladies that decided to pose for meA trio of ladies that decided to pose for me. Kind of one of those spontaneous moments, I guess.

The view of Middle Falls along with the vertical walls of the Portage Canyon as seen from Inspiration PointThe view of Middle Falls along with the vertical walls of the Portage Canyon as seen from Inspiration Point

The context of Inspiration Point LookoutThe context of Inspiration Point Lookout


[Back to top]

VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Upstream to downstream sweep from the brink of the falls


Nearly 360 degree sweep of the falls from the most direct viewpoint


Looking at the scenery (including the falls) from the lookout in front of the Glen Iris Inn


Checking out both the Upper and Middle Falls of the Genesee River as well as the impressive gorge decorated with Autumn colors from Inspiration Point


[Back to top]

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

See directions for Upper Falls of the Genesee River (Letchworth) for the way we went to at least get to Portageville near the Southern entrance of Letchworth State Park as well as to the town of Castile by the western entrance to the park using Ithaca and Buffalo, respectively, as starting points.

The car park for this waterfall was shared with the car park for the Upper Falls so both waterfalls could easily be visited on the same excursion. The directions to Inspiration Point was also given on the Upper Falls page.

To give you a sense of geographical context, Ithaca was 155 miles (over 2.5 hours drove southeast of Buffalo, 166 miles (about 3 hours drive) southwest of Albany, and 223 miles (over 4 hours drive) northwest of New York City.




[Back to top]

ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




[Back to top]

MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





[Back to top]

TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




[Back to top]

TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





[Back to top]

NEARBY WATERFALLS




[Back to top]

RELATED PAGES



Have You Been To This Waterfall?

Share your experience!

Click here to see visitor comments for this waterfall

Click here to see visitor comments for other waterfalls that we've visited in this region

Click here to go to the Comments Main Page

You can use the form below, but if you find our host's interface too troublesome to use (especially if you're trying to upload photos), then just send a text submission anyways using the form, but also let us know that you'd like to attach photos. If you've provided an email address via the form, then we can reply back acknowledging your request, and you can then reply to that email with your photo attachments. We're very sorry about this, but there's not much we can do about SBI's terrible interface.



[Back to top]

[Go to the New York Waterfalls Page]

[Go to the Eastern US Page]


[Return from Middle Falls of the Genesee River (Letchworth) to the World of Waterfalls Home Page]