Small Hikes with Big Rewards!
by John Haywood
Everyone loves good waterfall hikes, but not everyone can do a hike that’s over a certain length or difficulty level. The following waterfall hikes are short, and considered easy, and appropriate for the whole family! We’ve put together a list of 20 Adirondack waterfall hikes, and roadside falls, that are easy to do and appropriate for children to join in the fun. Always be extra careful around waterfalls, especially with children.
Click each waterfall name to be taken to its designated page with complete information on how to get there. Each page will contain two maps; one that you can use for driving directiosn, and one that will show you other nearby waterfalls. At the bottom of each page, you will find the five closest waterfalls to that location.
- Beecher Creek Falls – This 20-foot cascade that forms on Beecher Creek, a tributary to Great Sacandaga Lake, forms just upstream from the Copeland Covered Bridge. A short walk of about 50 yards on a level path takes you to the bridge from where you can view the waterfall.
- Dunkley Falls – A hike of less that 0.1 mile takes you to a 10-foot waterfall on Mill Creek that is the centerpiece to a picturesque creekside setting. Perfect for a picnic!
- Natural Stone Bridge ad Caves – Spend the day learning about geology and touring the park where the largest cave opening in the eastern United States! Two waterfalls form on Trout Brook, Sawmill Falls and Noisy Cave Falls. Noisy Cave Falls is indeed inside a cave!
A host of other activities, including guided adventure tours, are available. Be sure to check their website before planning a visit as they close certain times of year and during times of very high water.
- Falls of Carillon – The La Chute River joins Lake George and Lake Champlain in Ticonderoga. Along the way, a number of waterfalls form, including the 30-foot Falls of Carillon at Bicentennial Park.
- Blue Ridge Falls – A scenic roadside view of this series of drops on The Branch River in North Hudson. These falls are especially nice to see in the Fall when he foliage is at peak.
- Split Rock Falls – One of the most well-known Adirondack waterfalls, this multi-tiered 30-foot cascade on the Boquet River requires only a quick walk from the pull-off to view.
- Rock Garden Falls – Water pours down an almost vertical 20-foot rock walk just behind the tree line at roadside. A walk of about 20 feet is required to see the falls with an unobstructed view.
- Roaring Brook Falls – This giant among Adirondack waterfalls has been given differing heights between 290 and 325-feet. This is a multi-tiered ribbon cascade that can be seen from roadside and accessed through a 0.3-mile hike. You can hike the trail to the top as well.
- Wadhams Falls – Another nice roadside waterfall, this 20-foot cascade forms on the Boquet River next to the Wadhams Free Library.
- Anderson Falls – While not a towering waterfall, this broad 10-foot cascade on the Ausable River forms in a nice setting and has a rich history.
- Rainbow Falls at Ausable Chasm – This 70-foot waterfall is one of the largest roadside waterfalls in the Adirondacks. It can also be seen from different vantage points while on a self-guided tour of Ausable Chasm, the “Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks”. In addition to the tour, you can also take a raft ride, tube, or challenge yourself on the Adventure Course!
- Jay Falls – Another waterfall near a covered bridge, this 20-foot cascade forms on the Ausable River where water flows over a length
of bedrock with a series of small drops. The falls can be seen from the parking area.
- Wilmington Flume – Three waterfalls form on this stretch of the West Branch Ausable River. The upper-most cascade can be seen from the bridge or a quick scramble down the trail from the parking area. The second and third waterfall can be seen along a trail the parallels the river. The Flume is a narrow section between granite wall where the river races to an open area with a large pool. Altogether, the hike is about 0.1 mile.
- Monument Falls – The height of this roadside waterfall on the West Branch Ausable River depends on the water level, but its scenic value is high. The 5-foot falls form as the river rounds a tree-lined turn that is often the site for fishermen.
- East Jimmy Creek Falls – The definition of “hidden gem”, this 10-foot waterfall forms at the head of a small, moss-lined gorge just off of route 8 in Wells. Follow the path from roadside for no more than 100 feet to get the view.
- Death Brook Falls – Don’t let the name dissuade you! This Adirondack waterfall hike takes you to a 70-foot waterfall that also goes by “Secret Falls” and forms in a tucked-away area at the end of a 0.3-mile hike over a level trail.
- Buttermilk Falls (Arietta/Long Lake) – Of the dozens of waterfalls named “Buttermilk Falls”, this particular Adirondack waterfall is among the most popular. The broad 40-foot fall spans the width of the Raquette River.
- Bog River Falls – Another great spot for a waterside picnic or just to sit an relax! Two sets of falls form just before the Bog River reaches Tupper Lake. The upper falls are a pair of small slide-like falls divided by a small piece of land. The main waterfall forms under the stone bridge. There are two trails, one on each side of the bridge, that lead down for a view.
- Twin Falls (Grass River) – Two waterfalls form on the Grass River here. One is a large 55-foot cascade, the other is a more subdued 20-foot fall. A view from roadside or a quick 50-foot walk along a path is available.
- Lampson Falls – The last of our Adirondack waterfall hikes is a 0.5-mile level path leads to a massive 40-foot two-tiered cascade on the Grass River. There is handicap accessible parking and the path is suitable for wheelchairs.
PLEASE NOTE: All properties should be considered posted and/or private property unless you have specific knowledge otherwise. Access to any waterfall or natural area of any category is a privilege and can be revoked at any time for any reason. Respect landowner rights, speak out should you witness anyone doing otherwise and educate everyone willing to listen about good environmental stewardship and the Leave No Trace (LNT) ideology. Please use our New York State Waterfall Map responsibly.
Dig The Falls would like all site visitors to take the greatest precautions when visiting any location listed herein. Although there are some locations that fall within park systems, there are many more that do not and are considered very dangerous to visit. ALL outdoor locations can be considered dangerous. In visiting this website you are agreeing to release Dig The Falls of any liability from any visitations to any of the locations listed on the website as a whole.
Outdoor recreational activities are, by their very nature, potentially hazardous and contain risk. Locations, trails, and waterfalls listed on this site, and conditions, accuracy, and safety, cannot be guaranteed. You are hiking and visiting these locations at your own risk and at your own will.
Some waterfalls have a reputation for being dangerous. While terrain and trail conditions can make any waterfall hazardous, ALMOST every accident at waterfalls can be avoided.
By following a few pointers and exercising diligence and common sense, a trip to a waterfall can be a lasting memory rather than a tragedy.
- Waterfalls, by their very nature, are a draw for people to climb on, swim near, or jump from. If you decide to jump (please—never dive!) into an inviting pool at a waterfall, it is imperative that you first check out the water for unseen objects. Trees, branches, and other debris can wash downstream and become lodged under the water’s surface, creating an unseen and deadly hazard. Large trees, boulders, and even debris like rope or netting can ensnare someone, with disastrous consequences.
- When water levels are high and waterfalls really get going, there will be not only be an increase in the power of the current, but an increase in foam and aeration (air bubbles in the water) as the water shoots down into the pool from above. This aerated water does not afford the same resistance that swimmers are used to when they try to pull themselves up or out.
Increased water circulation and the force of the onrushing current can also push swimmers into or under underwater ledges, giving no chance for escape. Many swimmers have perished because they underestimated the power of moving water. Do not swim when conditions even look dangerous. Chances are, they are.
- Do not get too close to the edge of the waterfall’s precipice. Too many people have fallen to their deaths by trying to get a better look or by getting that photo or selfie. NO PHOTOGRAPH OR “SELFIE” IS WORTH YOUR LIFE.
If signs are posted, pay close attention and do not go where they tell you not to. They are there for a reason. Just because you may see others doing things that they shouldn’t be doing doesn’t mean it’s allowed. Instagram stardom doesn’t count if you’re dead.
- Be mindful of your surroundings. If you are in a gorge or area with high walls, look around for potentially hazardous objects that might fall. Nothing should be discounted here. Boulders, trees, and blocks of ice can break loose from above and come crashing down. When in doubt, make the safe call.
- Crossing high and/or turbulent water should only be done if you are properly equipped to do so and have an exit plan if you should get swept off your feet.
- Wear proper footwear; something with good traction and support that will help prevent slipping. If visiting a waterfall in the winter, wear micro-spikes or other traction devices to keep you from slipping on ice.
- Wear proper clothing at all times. When wet, cotton and denim will remain damp for prolonged periods, potentially leading to hypothermia (a dangerous cooling down of the body), even in moderate weather.
- Always carry a flashlight, headlamp, or other form of lighting in case your hike goes on longer than you had planned, and it gets dark. Don’t rely on a cell phone flashlight.
- Always respect posted and private property, and practice “carry in, carry out” with any trash you may have made from wrappers or bottles.
- Take note that many of these hikes would be considered “difficult” or “moderate” to the average hiker. Participants should be aware of their own abilities, and of the risks associated with outdoor activities. Preparation is vital.
- Those who plan on hiking to any of these waterfalls should make the necessary preparations and consult the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) website at www.dec.ny.gov for bulletins, weather alerts, and other important information.
- Using drugs and/or alcohol is not recommended when visiting waterfalls, as impaired abilities can lead to accidents.