Location / Directions / Maps
- Glenora Falls: N 42.48999 / W 76.91511
- View from the road: N 42.49058 / W 76.91324
Directions: From NY-14, turn down either North or South Glenora Roads, which head down to the lake. The roads connect and loop back up to NY-14.
Parking: Do not park. This is a roadside-viewable waterfall only.
Information / Accessibility / Accommodations
Number of falls: 1
Size/Types: A 90 ft tall cascade that emerges out of a hanging valley and fans out into a deep plunge pool. In the hanging valley above, one can see an upper tier set back. Far back in the distance is the Finger Lakes RR bridge over Big Stream.
Best time to visit: Spring through fall.
Flow: Moderate. Dry summers will bring it to a trickle, but this creek is one of the larger tributaries to Seneca Lake.
Waterway: Big Stream, which originates 7 miles west of here at a place called Crystal Spring in the Crystal Valley in the town of Barrington. From there, it flows northeast to Dundee and then swings southeast, creating a sizable gorge on its last leg to the falls at Glenora Point.
Time: A few minutes to drive by and catch a look.
Admission: Free to drive past the estate and view the falls from the roadside. You can also rent the home and have it all to yourself.
Accommodations: This is a drive-by view only. The falls is on private property and you cannot enter for a closer look, unless you are a guest of the venue. If you are, then it’s a full home with everything you’d expect in a home.
Glenora Falls has been a private waterfall for as long as I could trace back, but that hasn’t kept it from being an icon depicted in postcards and on wine bottles for over a century. The final waterfall on Big Stream on the west side of Seneca Lake, it is one of at least 10 waterfalls in that private and secluded gully. At over 90 ft fall, it’s flanked by taller cliffs on each side. Barely visible above the large drop in the falls, is the middle tier of the falls, which is about a 3rd of its total height. Buried further up is the top tier which extends the falls another 10 ft. To the right of the falls, a notch cut in the top of the cliff is all that’s left of Mystic Falls, the outlet of an old mill race that created a taller man-made falls that existed next to the natural one well into the 20th century. Glenora Wine Cellars, a popular winery and event venue up the hill, features an illustration of the falls on a variety of their wine bottles.
Water pours over the frothy falls and accumulates in a large plunge pool in the backyard of The Glenora Falls, a wedding venue and rental cottage that owns the falls property. The luxury cottage has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and can accommodate 10 overnight guests. The Great Room features panoramic windows giving a beautiful view of the falls and towering cliffs around it. The well manicured property is easily the best place to enjoy the majestic waterfall. You get all of this for only $900 or so a night. Yikes. Well, for those who just want a quick look and to check it off your list, drive by and see it from Glenora Rd.
Glenora Falls Interactive Map
The hamlet of Glenora was settled relatively late compared to the rest of Yates county, likely due to the steep topography. Once it was settled, it became a place of significant industry considering its space, being known as Big Stream Point. A grist mill was constructed above the falls and a saw mill below. Larmon G. Townsend (of New Haven, Conn.) had his name on the majority of businesses that flourished here in the mid-1800s, including the two mills, a store, and a woolen factory. Years later, another grist mill was constructed upstream near where NY-14 is today. A manufacturing company that specialized in cattle restraints and a grape & produce box factory also operated out of the point. Mr. Townsend’s little empire on the point collapsed by the 1890s, and the point shifted to tourism, with homes and shops turning to cottage rentals. A hotel existed there for a time. Glenora Falls then made its way into tourist brochures, postcards, and travel journals of the time. The mill race waterfall became part of the attraction, taking on the name “Mystic Falls.”
The commercial structures of the point were demolished and replaced with cottages in the 1900s, with some of the original homes from the 1800s still standing, including 77 Glenora Rd having been built in 1827. The Glenora Falls Estate house was built in 1900.
The origins of the name change to Glenora couldn’t be tracked down, although it likely occurred as the community adapted to tourism in the 1890s. Glenora is a Scottish term for “Shine of the Glen.”
Glenora Falls Media
Contributor Photos & Art
At this time I have not been able to get out to this site and photograph yet. In the meantime, those with suitable photos or original works of art, who would like to be featured here, please contact me. Photos, paintings, and illustrations would be subject to quality review, and not all will be accepted. Your work can be accompanied by a link to your site/store/insta.