The Lower Falls of the Genesee River in Rochester has the potential to be a very scenic waterfall, but its urban setting rather takes away from all it can be.
Even with that said, we could kind of envision how hard it would be to stop industrial development. And to the city’s credit, it looked like they made a concerted effort to surround the falls with a park-like atmosphere so at least there was somewhat of an escape from urban chaos (i.e. factories, tall buildings, and busy streets) all around us. Besides, we thought this one was probably the prettiest of the waterfalls on the Genesee River within the city limits of Rochester.
Once we were finally able to find valid parking (see directions below), we walked to a couple of spots where we could see the falls from different vantage points. The first way we did it was by taking a signed walkway that went along the river just a little below the bridge spanning the Genesee River. This path went past a picnic area and then to a pretty cool lookout showing the falls juxtaposed with a factory and high bridge over the gorge (pictured at the top of this page).
Further upstream of the Lower Falls was the Middle Falls of the Genesee River. However, that one was completely man-modified (more like destroyed) for hydroelectric use. When we were there, it wasn’t flowing at all, and all that was left was basically the concrete flood channel. In my book, this hardly counted as a waterfall so we didn’t linger at this part for very much time.
Back at the road bridge at the start of this walk, we then decided to walk onto the bridge itself and tried photographing the falls through the chain-linked fence. As we did this, we noticed some guy managed to make it down to the base of the falls, but we weren’t sure how he did it. We didn’t bother trying to figure it out.
We managed to get here by taking the Rochester Inner Loop Hwy (exiting off I-490) to St Paul St. We turned left onto the street and followed the Genesee River towards Driving Park Ave (or is it Avenue E?) turning left and going over the bridge. I think there was a car park somewhere near the corner of Lake Ave and Driving Park Ave on the west side of the bridge but I recalled parking was quite limited. There might also be metered street parking in the vicinity as well.
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