GPS/Locations: Upper Falls: (N 42.95202 / W 77.59139)
Directions: From Routes 5 & 20, Take 15A north from Lima, and turn right on W. Main St into the Village of Honeoye Falls.
From the Thruway and Rochester, take I390 south to exit 11 (NY-15/NY-251 Rush) and head east to Clover St. Make a Right onto Clover St. and follow it into the village.
Use Google Directions.
The Lower Falls is located within Harry Allen Park which is north of the Upper Falls on N Main St (Rt. 65).
Use Google Directions.
Parking: Park in the public parking area behind the falls and next to the Mendon Town Hall building or on the street along W. Main St or East St.
For Lower Falls, use the small lot at Harry Allen Park, on Main St, just north of Monroe St.
Number of falls: 2
Size/Types: Upper Falls: 30 ft high cascade. The top portion is a man-made dam. The Lower Falls is a 3 ft high cataract formed from a broken dam. It’s not much to look at.
Best time to visit: Year round.
Flow: Medium-high. Although it does flow in summer, it may not be enough to be photogenic.
Waterway: Honeoye Creek, a large tributary to the Genesee River.
Time: Upper: 5 minutes, Lower: 10 Minutes
Seasons/Hours: Upper Falls: Visible year-round, 24-hours/day. Lower Falls: Subject to daylight hours when park is open.
Handicap accessibility: Yes, you can view the Upper Falls from the viewing platform near Mendon’s Town Hall facility, or from the East St bridge. Lower Falls is not accessible.
Pets: Allowed on a leash.
Accommodations: Benches; paved walkways; historical markers;
Village of Honeoye Falls
The heart of the village, Honeoye Falls has a rich history and a thunderous roar that can be heard throughout. As it cuts through the village, Honeoye Creek drops several feet over a concrete dam and then cascades the rest of the 30 feet to the bottom of Honeoye Falls. Upstream, a pool, created by a dam that aided the mills that once lined the creek, is calm and murky. Below the falls, large stones and stranded logs shake up the water a bit as it passes by the village offices and under East St.
It can turn into a muddy torrent during the winter and times of snow-melt. It’s easily seen from a multitude of locations, but walking in the creek is not permitted. Much has been done recently to help preserve the surroundings and educate people about the history of the area. A small viewing platform and monument park sits on the western bank, near the Mendon Town Hall building (which was once an old mill), and on the eastern bank exists an old red mill, now a private residence, which has been a landmark adjacent to the falls for over a century.
Honeoye Falls is sizable, easy to see, and presented with such nice surroundings, that it is a highly recommended stop if you are in the area. Visit year-round to see it with different character each season, with a massive torrent during the winter melt.
Distance: A few feet from the parking area to see the upper falls. A one minute walk to see the lower cataract.
From the Mendon Town Hall parking lot, proceed to the back of the building, where there is a viewing platform at the crest of the falls, opposite the red sawmill. You can also enter the small grassy park behind the town hall and other various buildings from an entrance on Main St. marked with an historic sign. A walk across the East St bridge (Rt. 65) will reward you with another excellent view.
To get to the lower falls, you can walk north on Main Street to the nearby Harry Allen Park (or drive there). From the gazebo, head past the old schoolhouse and you will see a dirt path heading towards a wooded area. The creek is right behind these trees, as is an old cement dam. That’s it… that’s the “falls.” This is the start of the Zebulon Norton Trail. This trail begin at this park and follows the path of a mill race that once fed mills all along the creek. Along the way, you can see the ruins of the foundation of an old woolen mill and later a woodworking company. It ends just a thousand feet north just behind an historic mill building at 61 Main St.
View Honeoye Falls in a larger map
Zebulon Norton, a Revolutionary War veteran from Connecticut, first built a grist mill here in 1791 and later a sawmill which became the hub of commerce for what was once called the village of Norton’s Mill. The area has a rich history of mills and small-town commerce. The Mendon town hall occupies a former Upper Mill, a buckwheat flour mill (circa 1827) that was built on the site of the former Norton Mill. On the bank opposite is the red sawmill, now a private residence built on the foundation of the original sawmill. It adds a vibrant splash of traditional color to this historic area. The original red sawmill was destroyed by fire in 1885. The distinct brick Romanesque Revival style village hall was built in 1886 after the original framed village hall was destroyed in the same fire.
Lower Mills, which now serves as a restaurant and art gallery, was built in 1827 by Hiram Finch, and eventually fell under the ownership of H. E. Boardman. At that time it was known as Monroe Roller Mills and was a producer of fine flours. In 1901 it converted to steam power and operated until the Great Depression. It was used for dairy storage until the village purchased it to save it from demolition. In 1973 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places and in 1977 was purchased by the Elmer family and turned into a restaurant and gallery.
Several other mills and plants existed along the creek, and the mill race that is now the Zebulon Norton trail, including an old woolen mill (then woodworking plant), of which the ruins of the foundation can still be found.
Harry Allen Park was the site of three village schools dated 1826, 1855, and 1879. The schoolhouse (c. 1900) that exists there now was from another area in the town of Mendon, and was moved here in 1991.
Much of the downtown village, 217 buildings to be exact, make up the Honeoye Falls Historic District. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993, it features classic American commercial and residential buildings dating from 1825 to about 1940.
If you can get a close look at the crest of the falls, you will see the top portion is actually concrete. The falls was dammed in order to provide more consistent water flow to the adjacent mills.
From the small adjacent park, you can walk behind to the Mendon Town Hall and get close enough to the falls to feel the spray.When the flow is high, this mist can soak this area. In winter this place gets coated in ice.
An excellent restaurant with banquet facilities and galleries for local artists. Plan your visit around stopping at this fine establishment. thelowermill.com
Honeoye Falls Historic District
Silky water effect
Writing / Photography