Waterfalls and Waterways: Enjoy Rochester, NY’s Unique Natural Scenery


Renowned for its various parks, restaurants, museums, galleries and so on, Rochester is also a haven for natural beauty – something that many potential visitors thinking of staying at hotels in Rochester NY may not be aware of. In fact, when it comes to the likes of both waterfalls and waterways, the Rochester area is undeniably blessed; reason indeed then to check out either natural feature – or both of them – during your time spent in our fantastic city…


Sure; Western New York has Niagara Falls, which are the waterfalls that will inevitably always be the state’s most renowned and, frankly, most popular, yet head a little eastwards our way and you’ll come across a cornucopia of wondrous waterfalls that, together, add up to a sensational opportunity for scenic natural sightseeing. Plus, it’s only fair to say they’re much less ‘touristy’.

Niagara Falls

Perhaps the most prominent among them are the three falls at Letchworth State Park in Mount Morris, which lie approximately 45 minutes south of Rochester by road. Then, around 17 miles south of Mount Morris is Stony Brook State Park in Dansville. Here you’ll discover an awe-inspiring waterfall system that climaxes in a pair of stunning spring-fed pools that, yes, when it’s warm enough are suitable for swimming in (there’s a bathhouse on-site too).


So much for witnessing the beauty of our area’s water-featuring nature, but how about actually getting on the water to experience it in a more interactive way? Well, one way you might is to take the Erie Canal Tour aboard the Colonial Belle canal boat, which departs from Packett’s Landing in the pleasant nearby town of Fairport. Large and spacious, so capable of accommodating many travelers, this vessel’s a supreme way to experience a water-bound journey either as a three-hour, two-hour or one-and-a-half-hour cruise depending on which slot you book on which day of the week. Currently, cruises take place three times daily, Tuesday through Saturday, and twice on Sundays. And, as you may have guessed, booking your desired cruise is most certainly advisable!

Erie Canal

Alternatively, you might fancy taking the Sam Patch packet boat. Sailing from Schoen Place in Pittsford (like it’s sister wooden vessel the Mary Jemison, which sails from Corn Hill Landing here in Rochester), the boat ride isn’t just refreshing and relaxing but also somewhat educational, revealing as it does much of the canal waterway’s history and ecology. Cruises take place several times a day, including at evenings and, again, booking’s strongly advised and required if you wish to book a cruise with a meal included.

Canoeing and kayaking

Finally, what if you want a water experience that’s even more interactive and, well, definitely more active? How about either canoeing or kayaking? There’s ample opportunity for both in the Rochester region, thanks not least to the opportunities offered up by Genesee Waterways Center, which offers canoe and kayak boat rentals for those of all levels, as well as classes and camps for young ones new to both activities. You’ll find the center located on Genesee River itself, just across from the University of Rochester’s Genesee Valley Park (so very easy to get to from the Rochester Riverside Hotel, for sure). Additionally, there’s BayCreek Paddling Centre (on Empire Boulevard at Irondequoit Bay), which offers a shuttle service so you can paddle your way down the waterway and ride the shuttle back up, and Oak Orchard Canoe and Kayak (also located on Empire Boulevard) which sells as well as rents canoes and kayaks boats.