by Donna McCabe
When you grow up going to one particular park, you sort of take it for granted and it might take a bit more effort to find something exciting about it; you have to work a bit to see it through different eyes. That’s the case for me with Akron Falls Park. My parents are both from Akron so this was the place where the majority of our family picnics happened. I’ve lost count of all the times I’ve been here.
The original park was operated by the Village of Akron in the early 1930’s then in 1947, the Erie County Parks Department took over maintenance. The main draw to this park has always been the falls themselves, but don’t cut your visit short. Explore the lower portion of the park and the numerous picnic pavilions and multiple playgrounds.
The park has multiple entrances and on the day of this visit, we parked near the Brooklyn Street entrance. Starting here, you’ll be greeted with a view of the Parkview Street bridge with Murder Creek flowing under it. This little area feels like a separate park all to itself. You’ll find picnic tables, playground equipment, a baseball diamond and even an island with a small pavilion on it. There’s a bridge to walk across so you can enjoy this beautiful spot.
We chose to walk along the gravel walkway under the Parkview Street bridge and head to where the waterfall is located. Once you walk under the bridge, the view will open up to the dammed part of the creek that is mostly used for fishing. If you look across the water, you’ll see what used to be the warming building when the pond was the ice-skating area for local residents during the winter months.
We continued walking to the more rapidly moving part of the creek which leads to the falls. There is access to walk along both sides of the creek with one side having the more defined trail. The side closest the picnic shelters allows you to go only so far before you’ll come to a safety fence that prohibits you from going further. Backtrack a bit so you can cross over and begin your walk along the easy-to-see trail.
You can choose to be a bit more adventurous and explore along the larger rocks that border the creek or you can choose to stay on the path. Use care along the edge of the water as the rocks are slippery and during the spring thaw or heavy rains, the current can be deceptively fast. If you haven’t heard it yet, the falls aren’t too far ahead!
You’ll have the option to take the path up to the viewing area for the falls or to stay near the creek bed to see the falls straight on. Recently, the viewing area was updated and a new stone wall was built that provided a much safer and larger viewing area.
After exploring around the falls for a while, we decided to head upstream a bit. The views above the falls are almost as beautiful as those below. Even though this area is not accessible and is fenced off for safety, there are still plenty of views to take in.
Akron Falls Park is a 284-acre public space that’s just waiting for you to visit. Come and explore this treasure in the Western New York area!
For more information on New York waterfalls, please visit our New York State waterfall map.
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