Essex County: Waterfall Adventures Await!
By John Haywood
Essex County, without a doubt, contains the highest density of waterfalls within its 1,916 square mile area of any other county within the Adirondack Park. The greater Keene Valley area alone boasts dozens of waterfalls ranging from those at a few feet that fill swimming holes to the 300-foot Roaring Brook Falls.
Following is just a sampling of what Essex County has to offer when it comes to waterfalls. We’ll take you along the main roads to visit some of the waterfalls that make Essex County a waterfall paradise!
This nice series of falls forms on The Branch in North Hudson and is visible from the roadside on Blue Ridge Road.
Arguably the most popular of the public waterfalls, Split Rock Falls is a wildly popular spot to jump into the cool waters of the Boquet River on a hot day.
Chasm Cascade (aka Boquet Falls), Fern Gully, and Shoebox Falls
These three popular swimming holes are perfect for those who want to get relief from the heat but don’t want to fight the crowds at Split Rock Falls. Chasm Cascade and Fern Gully are easily accessible roadside locations while Shoebox Falls requires a bit of a hike along the North Fork of the Boquet River.
If you’re into bushwhacking and waterfalls, Beede Brook Falls is just for you. A 0.6 mile bushwhack up along Beede Brook on Giant Mountain will bring you to a number of waterfalls including the tallest, Beede Brook Falls.
From the same parking area you use to find Beede Brook Falls, you will be able to see what has come to be known as Rock Garden Falls. This waterfall forms on an unnamed waterway that sills over a flat rock face.
Just past Chapel Pond, the Beer Walls of Chapel Pond Canyon not only offer great routes for rock and ice climbers but a large waterfall with the picturesque backdrop of the Great Range. Beer Walls Falls forms on an unnamed, seasonal waterway on the shoulder of Round Mountain.
This very well-known 300-foot ribbon cascade is visible from route 73 or accessed from a trail that leads to the base as well as the top.
This is a beautiful spot to stop while exploring the Adirondack Mountain Reserve in Keene. With a great view and this popular waterfall, Beaver Meadow has become a destination for hikers.
Another destination waterfall, this 150-foot waterfall forms on Cascade Brook just before it joins the East Branch of the Ausable River.
This one’s a bit of a hike and requires a scramble over the rocks of the brook, but is worth the effort. This waterfall forms on Mossy Cascade Brook and, as the name implies, is colored with areas of green moss.
Visitors to the Johns Brook Lodge enjoy this waterfall/swimming hole named after a reverend who frequented the area. This 20-foot cascade also serves as a resting spot for hikers as they take on the trails of the Great Range.
This waterfall forms on the shoulder of Cascade Mountain, #36 on the High Peaks list. You can see this one from the roadside or a park near lakeside.
This nice little falls forms on the West Branch of the Ausable River in North Elba just outside the Village of Lake Placid. The trails follow along with the river where you’re likely to see a number of anglers looking for the day’s catch!
This waterfall is short in stature but tall in looks. These falls are formed as the West Branch of the Ausable River rounds a turn and makes way toward Whiteface Mountain which can be seen from the falls.
This beautiful waterfall has it all! The green vegetation, the profile, and best of all… the ease of access. Whiteface Mountain is home to dozens of waterfalls, including 16 on Stag Brook alone! Stag Brook Falls is the first and largest waterfall you’ll come to as you follow the trail from the dirt road leading up from the ski center.
This area is home to three waterfalls which make up the Flume. The first waterfall is accessible from a parking area or can be seen from the bridge that spans the river. On the opposite side of route 86, you’ll find a trail that leads to the Flume and follows it back up to the road. This is a beautiful area for a picnic or to just relax.
These falls are a not very high but very broad as the East Branch of the Ausable River flows over and around the many formations that give the falls its look. While there, you’ll also see the Jay Covered Bridge which spans the river.
Anderson Falls forms on the Ausable river in Keeseville and was once, as many were, a center of industry for the town.
Alice Falls doubles as a scenic waterfall and a hydroelectric plant on the Ausable River just above Ausable Chasm. This waterfall is unique in that it lies in both Essex and Clinton Counties.
Ausable Chasm has been called the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks due to its sheer sandstone walls towering above the Ausable River. 70-foot Rainbow Falls is the star attraction here.
The Falls at Wadhams form on the Boquet River and flow over a wide area in high water. In low water, the falls shrink down to a single channel that has been carved out of the rock by the river’s erosive forces.
These are just a small, small number of waterfalls that lie within the boundaries of Essex County. Many more waterfalls, counting into the hundreds, can be found deeper in the woods and throughout the High Peaks Wilderness for those who seek adventure. Please have a look through our knowledgebase and map here to find your next waterfall adventure!
Just click the name of the waterfall and you’ll be taken to a designated page for that location which will give you details such as GPS, directions, and the five closest waterfalls to that location! If you’d like printable directions, simply click the “DTF to PDF” on each individual waterfall page. Enjoy!
For help finding waterfalls in the Adirondacks, we recommend Russell Dunn’s Adirondack Waterfall Guide.