If you’re ready for some summer hikes but want to make sure you can really take in the most picturesque views, make sure trails with waterfalls are on your list!
Check out the 10 best waterfalls and waterfall hikes in and around New York City here (and scroll to the bottom of the article to see their exact locations on Google Maps):
1. The Ravine: Central Park, NYC
That’s right, you don’t even have to leave the city to enjoy some scenic waterfalls. Central Park has its own (albeit small) collection in the Ravine, the stream valley section of the North Woods that spans 40 acres at the top of the Park. You can even try out one of their hiking trails, which is perfect for birdwatching and breaking a sweat! Read about exactly where to find them here.
2. Morningside Waterfall: NYC
Harlem’s own Morningside Park also has its own waterfall, located near 113th Street across from the park’s baseball fields. It’s 20 feet high and came to be after an abandoned gym project by Columbia University was turned into a giant pond and falls instead, according to 6sqft. Enjoy lots of turtles and geese in the pond, but you’ll have to catch it in the right moment (after it’s rained) to see the falls come down.
3. Passaic Falls: Paterson, NJ
These falls are around 40 minutes away from NYC by car, but you can also get there via NJ Transit (though it will take you about an hour and 20 minutes). The falls are massive at 77 feet high and 260 feet wide, complete with an easy hike — and there’s even a garden and picnic area where you can take in the views after. No matter if you decide to try this trail by yourself or take part in the “Mill Mile Walking Tour,” this trail is one of favorite waterfall hikes near NYC. See the map at the bottom of this article for the exact location.
4. Greenbrook Waterfall: Alpine, NJ
The Greenbrook Nature Sanctuary in Alpine, NJ is a 165-acre woodland preserve on top of the Palisade cliffs. Along with woods and hiking, there’s a five-acre pond and the main attraction: the 250-foot Greenbrook Falls. This is one of three major streams which drain the area and flow down the historic cliffs into the Hudson River.
5. Hemlock Falls: South Orange, NJ
These beautiful falls in South Orange, NJ are only about 40 minutes from NYC (you will need a car to get there, however). The hike to the falls is moderate, with somewhat rocky trails and a few easy stream crossings. Find a step-by-step hiking guide to find the falls here.
6. Kaaterskill Falls: Hunter, NY
Considered one of the Catskills Region’s best waterfall hikes, Kaaterskill Falls drops 260 feet in two tiers. Many local poets, painters and photographers throughout history have been inspired by the great natural creation and portrayed it in their works. The hike is moderate, at 1.4 miles roundtrip. Warning: this one is a popular spot and can get quite crowded, so it’s recommended that you find another waterfall route nearby (see ideas here). Read more about Kaaterskill here.
*This is quite a hike from NYC (no pun intended), at a two and a half hour drive. May be better for a weekend getaway!
7. Saddle River Park: Paramus, NJ
The waterfall at this New Jersey park is on the smaller side, but still nonetheless picturesque! The park itself it giant and has multiple sections that connect via foot paths, but to see the waterfall head to the Dunkerhook Area on Paramus Rd. in Paramus, NJ. There are also picnic areas, playgrounds, and tennis courts. Read more here.
8. Beacon Waterfall (Fishkill Overlook Falls): Beacon, NY
Beacon, NY is a New Yorker favorite for a weekend getaway from the city (for us too!), and along with wonderful restaurants, art museums, galleries, and shops, there’s a lovely little waterfall right on Main Street. You can park right next to it (or take the train up), but there are also wonderful views from the Roundhouse Restaurant and Patio if you want to take it in while grabbing a bite. According to Hudson Valley Illustrated, you can plug in “532 Main St, Beacon, NY 12508” in your GPS to find it.
9. Boonton Falls: Boonton, NJ
Another one only about an hour from NYC, these New Jersey waterfalls are much more under-the-radar than the others. This website gives perfect instructions on exactly how to find them, also known as Boonton’s “Little Niagra.” There’s also a quaint village to visit after, with plenty of antique shops.
10. Croton Falls: Cortlandt, NY
Okay this is technically a dam, but still has the same vibes! The Croton Falls in Croton Gorge Park is quite an amazing feat of engineering — as it was the first large masonry dam in the U.S., built to supply New York City with water — plus is just a beautiful sight. There’s a bathroom on site and playground, plus plenty of places to relax in the grass, so it’s great for a day trip and picnic. If you’re looking for one of the best waterfall hikes near NYC, this 2.6 km trail is perfect for you! You can even bring your dog as well as long as it’s on a leash! Don’t forget that you’ll also need cash for the $10 parking fee. Read more here.