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Today the falls is still used for electric power generation on one side, but opposite the RG&E plant is a beautiful series of connected parks over what was once a thriving milling and shipping industry along the river, offering visitors a glimpse of this powerful falls in a more natural state than in its recent past.The crest of Lower Falls is artificial; a man-made dam several feet high that not only serves its intended purpose of regulating flow for the electric generators, but also spreads the water out for a more even tumble down the sandstone rock.
Occurring at a bend in the river, the falls empties into a wide gorge, with a massive limestone wall on the east end opposite the falls.The dominating characteristic is the muted yellow Rochester Gas & Electric substation that hugs the eastern flank of the falls.The property is mostly off limits, but the DEC has allowed access down the utility road leading to the base of the plant. Once a wide cascade, roughly a dozen feet in height, it has been capped with a hydroelectric dam and the water below it has been flooded with the backed up waters from the Lower Falls dam.Visitors can come down to the gorge and almost to the base of the falls for fishing and viewing. In between the two falls, the water is turbulent and dangerous. It's the interactive and FUN way to socialize, make new friends, meet your match...just to have a great time! Grab a cocktail and get ready to Unlock Your Possibilities.Lock and Key Events transform a regular happy hour by adding the ULTIMATE ice breaker theme. With your lock or key, you now have a reason to talk to anyone and everyone you want!
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Alternate viewing: You can view this falls from the other side via the RG&E access road on the east side of the falls. Park in the small fishing access site parking area on Seth Green Blvd. Size/Types: Lower Falls is a massive 110 ft tall cascade in a U-shaped gorge. Waterway: The Genesee River, a large tributary to Lake Ontario to the north.
Make a right at the next intersection onto Driving Park Ave. Park in the Maplewood Park parking lot on the left. During levels of high snow-melt or rain, the gorge below the falls may flood.
The top of the falls is capped with a small dam to help keep the flow of water to the adjacent power plant reliable. The Genesee River also flows over High Falls, just to the south, and further south, the three large waterfalls of Letchworth State Park. Accommodations: Hiking; fishing; historical information; Maplewood Park also has: restrooms; playing fields; rose garden; gazebos; fishing pond; tennis courts; picnic tables.
Time: You can spend a few minutes seeing the falls from the Driving Park Bridge, which is just a short distance from Maplewood Park, or you can spend a few hours or more exploring Maplewood Park and working your way down to the base of the gorge. Gorge access is prohibited at night and when water levels are high (this can be very dangerous). Handicap accessibility: Sections of Maplewood Park are accessible. For the safety of your pet and other hikers, do not bring your pet on any trails near or in the gorge. Rochester’s Lower Falls is an easy waterfall to view, but a difficult one to photograph.
On the other side of the river, the fishing access site is a short 10 minute walk down into the gorge to the river. Like the other waterfalls of the Genesee, the Rochester Lower Falls has a rich history of development and exploitation.