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Best Adirondack Waterfall Hikes

Why are we drawn to the majestic cascade of water as it drops and falls? Is it the elemental force, the power to carve the landscape to fit, to find a way across cliffs and mountains, through valleys and deep forests? Or is it simply that the same gravity that pulls water to earth, pulls us to water?

Have you experienced the beauty of a majestic Adirondack waterfall? With tree-lined paths leading to cascading water flowing over rock ledges, waterfalls provide a destination worth the journey.

man standing near an Adirondack waterfall

Northern Adirondacks

Bog River Falls

  • 0.2-mile round trip easy hike
  • There is a trail on each side of the river, and the falls can also be seen from a stone bridge.
  • The trailhead is located on County Route 421, off of Route 30 south from Tupper Lake. Follow a bridge over the falls and the parking area will be on the left.
  • Sip on a strawberry peach smoothie and enjoy a freshly made salad after your hike at Well Dressed Food, approximately 10 miles from the trailhead.


Stone Valley Recreation Area

  • 7.5-mile easy-to-moderate loop
  • Find waterfall gorges, rapids, and rock outcroppings along the trail
  • The trail follows alongside the Raquette River
  • Off of State Highway 56, the trail can be accessed near the Colton Museum and across the bridge at the Colton Fire Station on Mill Street

St. Regis Falls

  • A short, easy walk on the St. Regis Falls Scenic Campsite
  • The campsite features beautiful new and rustic cabins overlooking the falls. 
  • The trailhead is located at the St. Regis Falls Scenic Campsite.
  • During the spring and summer, listen to live concerts at the campsite’s pavilion.

Harper Falls

  • 2-mile round trip easy hike
  • Harper Falls is an impressive 60-foot waterfall with small cascades.
  • The trailhead is located on Donnerville Road (sometimes spelled Downerville), off of County Route 27.
  • Drive to the nearby Town of Canton for a relaxing meal.  
Bog River Falls in the Adirondacks; image credit to John Haywood

Central Adirondacks

Stag Brook Falls

  • Approximately 1-mile round trip moderate hike
  • After seeing Stag Brook Falls, follow the trail a little further to see additional waterfalls of various sizes.
  • The trailhead is located at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center, off of Route 86 toward Wilmington. Walk up to the bridge over the West Branch Ausable River and follow the dirt road to a “T” intersection where you’ll see a trail register.
  • Fuel up for your hike with breakfast at the Country Bear, less than five miles from the trailhead.

Beaver Meadow Falls

  • 7.4-mile round trip easy hike
  • Beaver Meadow Falls is 60-feet high and cascades down a series of step-like rocks.
  • The trailhead is located on Route 73 outside of Keene Valley.
  • Get energized for your hike with breakfast at Noon Mark Diner in Keene Valley.

High Falls Gorge

  • 30-minute easy walk along bridges, walkways, and trails
  • There are four waterfalls to explore at High Falls Gorge—Rainbow Falls, Climax Falls, Mini Falls, and Main Falls.
  • High Falls Gorge is located off of NY-86 in Wilmington, less than 10 miles from Lake Placid.
  • Browse the shops along Main Street in nearby Lake Placid.
Stag Brook Falls in the Adirondacks; image credit to John Haywood

Southern Adirondacks

Death Brook Falls

  • 0.6-mile round trip easy hike
  • Also known as Secret Falls, Death Brook Falls is approximately 70-feet high, and is perfect for all skill levels.
  • The trailhead is located just past the entrance to Golden Beach Campground, off of Route 28 going toward Raquette Lake.
  • Make it a weekend getaway or get dinner after your hike at Raquette Lake Hotel and Tap Room.

Auger Fall

  • 1.25-mile easy loop
  • Auger Falls features water pouring over large rocks in a gorge on the Sacandaga River.
  • The trailhead is located off of Route 30 outside of Speculator.
  • Head to the nearby Village of Speculator for an ice cream cone or meal at one of the local restaurants.

Shelving Rock Falls

  • A short, easy round trip hike
  • Shelving Rock Falls features a 50-foot cascading waterfall along the east side of Lake George.
  • The trailhead is located on Shelving Rock Road. You can also get to the trail by boat from Log Bay in Lake George.
  • After your hike, drive south to Lake George for a beer and a bite to eat at the Adirondack Pub and Brewery.

OK Slip Falls

  • 6.4-mile round trip moderate hike
  • OK Slip Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in the Adirondacks.
  • The trailhead parking area is located on Route 28, less than 10 miles from Indian Lake.
  • Refuel with a meal at the Indian Lake Restaurant and Tavern.
Death Brook Falls in the Adirondacks; image credit to John Haywood

More Waterfalls to Explore

  • Wanika Falls
  • T Lake Falls
  • Austin Falls
  • Falls on East Jimmy Creek
  • Roaring Brook Falls
  • Indian Falls
  • Bushnell Falls
  • Split Rock Falls
  • Raquette Falls
  • Gleasman Falls
  • Falls on Northwest Bay Brook

Waterfall Hiking Safety Tips

  • A snowy winter with lots of accumulation in the higher elevations and/or more rain throughout the spring and summer may mean a longer waterfall season.
  • Late summer through the fall usually means less water to flow over a precipice.
  • Winter in the Adirondacks is best for ice climbing on frozen waterfalls.
  • Bring a camera to enjoy the views long after you leave.
  • Be cautious of your surroundings when viewing waterfalls and think safety first.
  • Wear proper footwear. Sandals and flip-flops are not appropriate for hiking, especially over rocky terrain. Hiking boots or sneakers will have the much-needed traction.
  • Always carry a flashlight, headlamp, or another sufficient source of light, and extra batteries, in case your adventure carries into the dark. Check to make sure your light functions properly before heading out.
  • Learn how to use a compass and map and carry them with you, no matter how short your planned hike may be.
  • Avoid wearing cotton and denim. Both materials will hold moisture which can create grave problems, such as hypothermia, should a hiker experience unexpected issues and have to spend the night in the forest. Breathable, lightweight materials that dry quickly, along with socks made of wool, will make your experience much more enjoyable.
  • Pack a raincoat and back-up clothing in case the weather changes, as it often does.
  • Using at least one trekking pole is a great way to increase stability and helps with ascending and descending.
  • Do not put yourself, or others, at risk in order to get a selfie, photograph, or better view. Don't ignore warning signs and barriers as they are in place to keep you safe. If hikers ignore these precautions, they alone are responsible; not social media.
  • Always pack a snack and bring water or a sports drink in order to keep yourself hydrated. If you're an avid hiker, a water filtration device is a good addition to your pack.
  • It's always a good idea to carry a first aid kit, but one should also consider duct tape and zip-ties in case the need for field-repairs arises.
  • Follow the Leave No Trace Principles. Bring a plastic bag to pack out fruit peels, wrappers, and other trash you may create. (Throwing food or food wrappers may attract wildlife, such as bears, to the trails.) Keep the trails clean and safe for others to enjoy.
Falls on East Jimmy Creek; image credit to Dig the Falls

Waterfalls: 360 View