Chasing Waterfalls of the Capital Region and Southern Adirondacks
The end of September brought another opportunity for my husband & I to head out on a waterfall road trip. This time we were focused on waterfalls north of Albany and into the southern portion of the Adirondacks. Our plan is to visit six waterfalls which makes for a full – but very fun – day.
We started out the day by heading towards the towns of Wells and Speculator to find Christine Falls and Auger Falls. For me, driving anywhere in the Adirondacks/North Country is always a great experience; the views are nothing short of incredible. Heading north on Rt. 30 & Rt. 8, we drove around the east side of Great Sacandaga Lake and it was easy to get lost in the scenery. Before long we passed through the town of Wells, then Rt. 8 split off from Rt. 30 so we knew we were getting close. We got a bit mixed up with the directions and ended up parking where Old Rt. 30 meets Rt. 30 but were met with a road closure. This only means we get to walk some and, looking back, this was one of the best parts of the trip.
We walked down the old road for about a half-mile or so then headed in towards the river. Our unexpected find was Austin Falls. Neither of us knew about these falls so it was a nice surprise. We lingered along the river for a bit just enjoying the day and the sounds of the rushing water.
After a while, we headed back to our van and went searching for Christine Falls. At the other end of Old Rt. 30, we found the Christine Falls Hydroelectric Facility so we knew we were close but still not in quite the right spot. Back out to Rt. 30 we went and finally found a pull off that had us going to the right place.
Our next planned stop was Auger Falls and, having seen roadside signs for this one, it should be easy to find, right? Well, the parking area is very easy to find but the trail to the falls, not so much. There were some construction trucks parked closer to the road just before the very large parking area. However, once there, we could not see any signs indicating where the trail begins. Another truck had parked just as we had pulled in and there is a somewhat of a trail off the parking lot so we decided to follow where they went. We could see other falls seekers were ahead of us so we were heading in the right direction. The path we chose took us through some gorgeous forest. Be sure to look around as you go. I think you’ll be amazed and how magnificent nature is and how it shows us how to overcome obstacles.
Not much further ahead we could hear the rumble of Auger Falls. This waterfall really packs a punch! The Sacandaga River narrows a bit as it rushes through the gorge and that amplifies the sounds and speed of the water. I wanted so badly to get closer to this one but the ravine was pretty steep and taking such a risk just isn’t worth it for me. Sometimes you have to chose safety over that really awesome picture.
As we were heading out, we ended up on a different trail than the one we came in on and I think this is the one where most people begin. There is a kiosk for you to record your visit which helps the NYSDEC know about usage.
After a quick lunch in our car, we were back on the road heading south to the town of Edinburg where we planned to visit Beecher Creek Falls which also happens to be the home of the Copeland Covered Bridge.
You’ll know you’re in the right place on Rt. 4 when you see the covered bridge. There is a small area to pull off the road that has enough room for a few cars. Heading left down the gravel path will lead you to the bridge. After crossing the bridge, you’ll find a small picnic area with access to the creek bed. Use caution on this side as it stays primarily in the shade and can get very damp and slippery.
Back at the top of the slight hill near the parking area, there is a kiosk showing the history of the bridge and how it came to be in the hands of Town of Edinburg Historical Society. Just beyond that is a new boardwalk leading to a viewing area for this gorgeous waterfall.
Our next stop is about 30 minutes to the east in the town of Lake Luzerne … Mill Park Falls and Rockwell Falls. You’ll find the aptly named Rockwell Falls as you drive along Rockwell Street and Mill Park Falls just off Mill Street. Across the street from Mill Park is Wayside Beach on Lake Luzerne where you’ll find plenty of parking. Once you’re in the park, take a stroll across the pedestrian bridge and allow yourself the time to linger along the banks of Stewart Brook.
After visiting Mill Park, you can walk down Mill Street about a half-mile to where it meets Bridge Street and it’s here that you’ll cross over Rockwell Falls. This waterfall isn’t far from where the Sacandaga River meets the Hudson River.
Once we got back to our car, we drove another 30 minutes southeast towards Gansevoort to find Snook Kill Falls. This turned out to be easier said than done since there isn’t any real trail to the falls. We parked our car off the road, walked along where Rt. 36 & Strakos Road meet and could hear the falls but couldn’t see them yet. After a bit of a scramble down the bank, we could finally see Snook Kill Falls.
By now, my husband & I had been out the majority of the day and we know it’s going to be getting dark soon but, we have one more waterfall we’d like to see. With only a short 20-minute drive, we decide to take the chance on beating the dark and head to Dionondahowa Falls.
The trailhead to the falls is easy to find so we quickly head out since the sun is setting fast.
The first overlook we came to was obscured by several branches so we followed the trail up a set of stairs and to the right. After a few more minutes of walking we came to another overlook that offered a much better view.
People tend to say that darkness falls but when you’re out on a remote trail through the woods, it feels more like darkness gathers between the trees and seems to rise up from the ground and it rises pretty quickly. Thankfully we had a flashlight with us to light our way out, but it was a good reminder for us and one that everyone should know… never go out unprepared because you never know what could happen.
Another fantastic waterfall road trip is in the books. Getting out to explore new areas is always fun, and seeing gorgeous waterfalls is an added bonus!
Until the next trip …… Donna, aka Bookgirl911