GPS/Locations: Hector Falls and Rt 414 : (N 42.41802 / W 76.86677)
Old Mill Falls on Hector Falls Creek: (N 42.41887 / W 76.85044)
Directions: From the village of Watkins Glen, take Rt 414 north along the east side of Seneca Lake for 2.5 miles. You will pass over a bridge, look to the right for the falls. Keep in mind that people on this road are going at 45-65 mph. Slowing or stopping unexpectedly could be dangerous. If you are looking for the falls, slow down and put on your flashers.
Parking: Park on the shoulder of Rt 414 either before or after the falls. Room for about 5 cars.
Number of falls: 1
Size/Types: Although most commonly recorded as 165 ft high, Hector Falls, can be considered a lot taller, if you begin counting the series of cascading drops from the top. Over 250 feet of waterfalls cascade down this hill from near the top. The first third is a sequence of small and narrow, foamy cascades, one right after the other. As the falls approaches Rt 414, it spreads out over one wide triangular cascade that dips under the highway, and down another wide cascade, and then another, past some cottages.The final stretch is yet another fanning cascade, the widest of all. From the road, you can see just the segment above. From the lake and across it, you can see most of the falls, except the upper chain of cascades.
Best time to visit: Spring, fall and after heavy rain.
Flow: Low. Dry summers will leave just a trickle.
Waterway: Hector Falls Creek (or Logan Creek, depending on the source). It begins in a wetland about 5 miles north east of here in Reynoldsville.
Time: A few minutes.
Handicap accessibility: Yes.
Seasons/Hours: Roadside; Year-round; all day, all night
Pets: Not a good idea to have your pet out along this busy highway.
Schuyler County Visitors Center
100 N. Franklin St.
Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Hector Falls is a beautiful and gigantic waterfall that tumbles over a broad expanse of shale and limestone rock as it makes its way down to Seneca Lake. Only the upper third (about 50 ft of length) is visible from the Rt 414 roadside or the creek bed. The lower portions are on private property and only visible to the public from watercraft. Seeing the massive cascade in its complete form, is worth renting a boat or joining a tour. Try Captain Bill’s for hourly tours or nightly dinner tours.
Hector Falls is a unique falls to the area in that it is so large, broad, and in the open. Hector Falls Creek (or Logan Creek) drains a large area, including portions of the nearby Finger Lakes National Forest. Water flow can be reduced to a trickle during summer months, but there should at least be some water tumbling over the rock face. Since it only takes a few minutes to visit from Watkins Glen, we consider it a must-see for this area.
You can either view the falls roadside from the bridge or take a quick walk down to the left under the bridge to view the falls or take pictures from the creekbed.
View Hector Falls in a larger map
For the history of Seneca Lake, see the Seneca Lake page.
Samuel Seely built the first grist mill here in 1801. It was the first mill constructed in Schuyler County. Over time numerous mills and factories were constructed along Hector Falls Creek, giving rise to the moniker Factory Falls. Potash production was the chief industry on the creek throughout the industrial revolution.
Easily one of the most unique shops in the Finger Lakes and one of the most amazing displays of local art and crafts, Skyland Farms does have animals, but it’s really house-turned beautiful gift shop and cafe, featuring local arts and crafts, and awesome gelato. skylandfarm.net
There are many more waterfalls and things to do around the lake. Read our guide to Seneca Lake.
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