Lower Falls of the Genesee River (Rochester)

Rochester, New York, USA

About Lower Falls of the Genesee River (Rochester)

Hiking Distance: 1/2 mile round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2007-06-15
Date last visited: 2007-06-15

Waterfall Latitude: 43.17928
Waterfall Longitude: -77.62775

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

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.

Rochester_014_06152007 - Lower Falls of the Genesee River in Rochester
Lower Falls of the Genesee River in Rochester

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.

Overlook near the brink of Lower Falls

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 above).

Middle Falls of the Genesee River

Rochester_018_06152007 - The man-modified Middle Falls of the Genesee River in Rochester
The man-modified Middle Falls of the Genesee River in Rochester

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.

View of Lower Falls from the bridge across the Genesee River

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.

Rochester_012_jx_06152007 - View of the Lower Falls in Rochester from the road bridge across the Genesee River
View of the Lower Falls in Rochester from the road bridge across the Genesee River

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.


Lower Falls of the Genesee River resides in the Lower Falls Park in the city of Rochester in Monroe County, New York. It is administered by the city of Rochester. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Rochester_009_jx_06152007 - Follow them signs
Rochester_002_06152007 - View of the falls and the adjacent facility as we descended the path
Rochester_004_06152007 - A little rabbit along the paved walking path
Rochester_008_jx_06152007 - Pillars en route to the falls
Rochester_001_jx_06152007 - Pretty flowers blooming before the Lower Falls
Rochester_020_06152007 - Closer look at the falls with a guy at the base

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.

For geographical context, Rochester was about 77 miles (under 1.5 hours drive) east of Buffalo, 227 miles (3.5 hours drive) west of Albany, or 334 miles (6 hours drive) northwest of New York City.

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Tagged with: monroe, rochester, western new york, new york, upstate, urban waterfall, genessee, kodak, buffalo, syracuse

Visitor Comments:

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Genesee River Waterfalls March 17, 2015 12:04 am by Al Farparan Jr - I really want to visit these falls and the ones in Letchworth. I noticed the falls don't have a strong flow in your pictures like some other pictures and videos I've seen. I hope when I go that it will. ...Read More

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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

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Moonbows [Lower Falls in Rochester] July 9, 2015 1:55 pm by Ron Andrews - It was during a visit to Cumberland Falls in 1990 when I first read about moonbows. I also learned that the Lower Falls in Rochester, NY where I live is another place were moonbows can be viewed. The Genesee River does not consistently produce enough mist to produce rainbows or moonbows. The water level is… ...Read More
Lower Falls Rainbow April 3, 2009 3:35 am by Ron Andrews - I wanted to share another picture--this time from above the falls. ...Read More
Lower Falls in Rochester April 3, 2009 3:29 am by Ron Andrews - This is one of my favorite waterfalls mostly because I can visit often. Sometimes I stop by on my lunch break. When the river is running high, there is considerable spray from the falls. In the winter this produces a localized ice storm. When there is sunshine, there are vivid rainbows. When the river is… ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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