The state of New York has much more to offer than just New York City. For nature lovers New York is an amazing state that is full of mountains and waterfalls that are a photographer’s dream. This page showcases many of the most noteworthy locations in the state for landscape photographers with the hope of helping you plan your own outings. The interactive map below shows the location of each spot mentioned on this page.
This page will continue to be a work in progress, so please feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions of great places to photograph.
Niagara Falls, located in western New York near Buffalo, is popular with tourists from all over the world, and with good reason. The massive, powerful falls are an incredible site from either the Canadian or American side. On the American side, Niagara Falls State Park will allow you to get up close to the falls and get the best views for photographs. Take your passport with you, because while you’re there you should cross into Canada to get an even better view of the falls. For detailed information about the area and where to get the best views please see our Guide to Photographing Niagara Falls.
Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park is located about 1.5 hours southeast of Niagara Falls, and it is commonly listed as one of the best state parks in the United States. The 14,000 acre park is roughly 17 miles long and is sometimes referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East”. The park follows the Genesee River as it cuts through a gorge that is up to 550 feet deep. Views of the gorge and 3 noteworthy waterfalls make Letchworth State Park a great place to photograph. The 3 main falls are known as the Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls, all on the Genesee River. The park also includes more than 60 miles of trails and many other smaller waterfalls that can be explored and photographed. For details please see our Guide to Photographing Letchworth State Park.
→ Related reading: 10 Tips for Fabulous Waterfall Photography
Watkins Glen State Park
Watkins Glen State Park is located in the Finger Lakes region, about 1.5 hours east of Letchworth State Park. The main features are an amazing gorge that is 400 feet deep, Glen Creek, and 19 waterfalls. The gorge and waterfalls are a surreal scene that makes Watkins Glen a truly unique place and a must-see for photographers. There are three trails that allow you to descend the gorge and take in the amazing views. For more details please see our Photographer’s Guide to Watkins Glen State Park.
Taughannock Falls State Park
Taughannock Falls State Park is also located in the Finger Lakes region, about 30 minutes northeast of Watkins Glen. The centerpiece of the park is Taughannock Falls, a 200+ foot waterfall that is the highest single-drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. There is not a huge volume of water flowing over the falls at most times, but it is a very beautiful waterfall. There are two trails that you can use to get a view of the falls. The gorge trail is about 1 mile long and will take you to the bottom of the waterfall. The rim trail is about 2.5 miles long and takes you to a view from above. Both trails take you past another waterfall on the way. For more details please see our Photographer’s Guide to Taughannock Falls State Park.
Cascadilla Gorge is the home to a nice hiking trail that will lead you to several waterfalls, including Cascadilla Falls, a 20-foot cascading waterfall. It is located in Ithaca, in the Finger Lakes region. It is a relatively short trail (about an hour to hike), and you can get all the information about how to access the trail from this page.
Forest Falls on Fall Creek
Located near Cascadilla Gorge and just upstream from Ithaca Falls, Forest Falls on Fall Creek is a 25-foot cascading waterfall. The Cayuga Trail along the gorge rim provides a nice view.
Located on the east side of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region, Ludlowville Falls is pretty easy to access and well worth the effort. Just walk a few minutes from Ludlowville Park and you will be at the falls. There is also a trail that will lead you to the bottom for a different view. You can get all of the relevant details from this page.
Robert H. Treman State Park
Robert H. Treman State Park is located in Ithaca in the Finger Lakes region. The 1,000+ acre park includes many waterfalls that can be seen from a 4.5 mile hike that follows Enfield Creek. Lucifer Falls is a 115-foot waterfall where you can also catch a view down the gorge.
Buttermilk Falls State Park is located outside of Ithaca, just a few miles from Robert H. Treman State Park. The park includes 10 waterfalls, with Buttermilk Falls being the most noteworthy. Buttermilk Falls is easily accessible from the lower parking lot of the park, and the other 9 falls can be seen by using the gorge trail. You can get all of the relevant details of the trails from this page.
Ithaca Falls is located just about 5 miles from Buttermilk Falls State Park. At 175 feet wide and with a drop of 100+ feet, Ithaca Falls is the most powerful of the region’s falls. You can get a view of the falls from the Lake Street bridge or the trail by the creek. You can get all of the relevant details from this page.
Triphammer Falls is an urban waterfall on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca. You can get a view of the falls from the East Avenue bridge, or from the tail the is accessible behind Risley Hall.
Potter’s Falls – Six Mile Creek
Potter’s Falls is a 25-foot cascading waterfall in Ithaca on Six Mile Creek. A steep 2.5 mile hike is required to reach the falls.
Perkins Memorial Drive – Bear Mountain State Park
Bear Mountain State Park is located along the Hudson River, about an hour north of New York City. Perkins Memorial Drive is a scenic road that leads to the summit of Bear Mountain, where you can get some amazing views. At the top is Perkins Memorial Tower, where you can get a view of 4 states and the Manhattan skyline.
Related reading: 10 Tips for Impressive Mountain Photography
Harriman State Park
Harriman State Park is located next to Bear Mountain State Park. Within Harriman State Park you can find many lakes, streams, trails, and great views. The parks has more than forty marked trails and 31 lakes and ponds.
Allegany State Park
Allegany State Park is located in southwestern New York just above the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. The park is divided into two sections: the Red House Area and the Quaker Area. The Red House Area includes Red House Lake, 5 miles of paved bike paths, and thunder rocks. The Quaker Area has 2 lakes, beaches, and hiking trails.
Hudson Highlands State Park
Hudson Highlands State Park is located on the east side of the Hudson River about 60 miles north of New York City and about 15 miles north of Bear Mountain State Park. The park consists of several different sections that are not all connected. It features great mountain views and hiking trails to get access to the beautiful scenery. The hike up Breakneck Ridge is the choice of many visitors.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located about 50 miles north of both Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain State Park. The 20,000+ acre preserve includes 3 lakes and great views of the nearby Catskill Mountains. It is also home to Awosting Falls, which you can reach with a hike.
Stony Brook State Park
Stony Brook State Park is located in central New York, about 30 minutes east of Letchworth State Park. Stony Brook runs through the park with trails that give you great access to the gorge and 3 waterfalls.
Chittenango Falls State Park, southeast of Syracuse, is home to the 160+ foot Chittenango Falls. The falls are visible from the top as well as from a viewing bridge that gives the best view. You can get relevant details from this page.
Kaaterskill Falls is a two-drop waterfall that totals more than 250 feet in height. It is accessible from a popular trail in the Catskill Mountains. There are trails to both the bottom and the top of the falls, and you can get directions and relevant details from this page.
Lake Placid, in the Adirondack Mountains, is known for twice hosting the Winter Olympics, but it is also a beautiful area for photography. In addition to skiing and winter sports, Lake Placid offers beautiful mountain and lake views.
Split Rock Falls
Located on the Bouquet River in the Adirondacks about 30 miles southeast of Lake Placid, Split Rock Falls is a unique waterfall with 3 separate drops. It is easy to access from a parking area on US Route 9. You can get the relevant details from this page.
Adirondack High Peaks
There are 46 mountains in the Adirondacks that collectively are known as the High Peaks. Most of these mountains offer outstanding hiking opportunities, as well as great views for photographs. You can get details about each of the High Peaks and their hikes from this page.
Indian Head provides a truly amazing view of Lower Ausable Lake. There are also some great views along the hike to reach Indian Head.
Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area
The Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area is more than 100,000 acres in the Adirondacks. The area includes more than 8 miles of hiking trails (with many more miles of unmarked trails), the Siamese Ponds, Augur Falls, Thirteenth Lake, and Chimney Mountain. You can get details of the specific trails from this page.
Fire Island National Seashore
Fire Island is located just south of Long Island, separated by the Great South Bay. Fire Island National Seashore is a beautiful 26-mile stretch. There are two bridges that lead to the island. The Fire Island Lighthouse is located on the western side of the island, near Robert Moses State Park.
Central Park in New York City is the most popular urban park in the U.S., and a recognizable sight even more people who have never been there. The park includes plenty of trees, a few bodies of water, and picturesque bridges. If you are in New York City and looking for some nature, Central Park is the place to go.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the more-commonly photographed bridges in the U.S. and Brooklyn Bridge Park provides an excellent view. The 85-acre park is located on the Brooklyn side of the East River.
George Washington Bridge
The George Washington Bridge connects New Jersey and New York City over the Hudson River, and it is the world’s busiest motor vehicles bridge.
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable American symbols and a popular subject for photographers in New York City. It is located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. It can be photographed from the surrounding areas, and the island can be accessed by ferry.
Want to learn more about neighboring states? Please see:
- The Best Places to Photograph in Pennsylvania
- The Best Places to Photograph in New Jersey
- The Best Places to Photograph in Connecticut
- The Best Places to Photograph in Massachusetts
- The Best Places to Photograph in Vermont
- The Best Places to Photograph in Ontario, Canada
- The Best Places to Photograph in Quebec, Canada