Hudson Valley Waterfall Roadtrip
by John Haywood
What better region in eastern New York state than the Hudson Valley for a waterfall roadtrip?! The topography of the Hudson River watershed creates breathtaking views and magnificent waterfalls, and the small towns and historic cities add a charm all their own.
The Hudson Valley is steeped in a deep, rich history that dates back hundreds of years. Exquisite architecture, lavish homes, and seemingly endless scenery are but a hint of the allure of the region. Arts and entertainment also play a major role, as does hiking and recreation.
We’ll explore waterfalls, and fun and interesting places to visit along the way. You’ll see national historic sites where past US Presidents, and industrial pioneers once lived. Explore fascinating natural areas, and take in shows, sporting events, and live music. You can even embark on the Shawangunk Wine Trail! You’ll definitely need more than a day to experience all the Hudson Valley has to offer!
Make the plans, check the map, grab some Divergent Coffee, and hit the road for some excitement, because food, drinks, and entertainment await on this Hudson Valley Waterfall Roadtrip! (Shop local! Divergent Coffee is based in Saugerties, NY. Use discount code “waterfall” when checking out on the Divergent coffee website to receive a 10% discount!)
We’ll begin on the east side of the Hudson River in Troy, then move south, then continue onto the west side and back north, traveling through Rensselaer, Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Ulster, Greene, and Albany Counties. Click each county name for the respective county tourism website.
Click the name of each location to be taken to an information page where you can get more information and directions, as well as other nearby waterfalls, so you can plan your own customized trip! Be sure to check each website prior to visiting a specific location for any entrance fees, seasonal closings, or other pertinent information.
East Side of the Hudson River
Mt. Ida Falls and The Narrows Cascades and Heritage Trail – This extensive five-mile urban trail system in the city of Troy takes hikers past a number of waterfalls, including Burden fall and Mt. Ida Falls.
Martin Van Buren Nation Historic Site – If you enjoy history, you can stop by the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site to learn more about the nation’s 8th President. Tour the grounds and home, or enjoy the hiking trails.
Beaver Cotton Mill Falls – The former site of old mills on the Kinderhook Creek, this waterfall is a year-round stop and is lighted at night.
Stuyvesant Falls – Another waterfall once used to power industry, this large fall forms with a dam running across the top and spans the width of the Kinderhoook Creek.
High Falls – Formed on the Agawamuck Creek in the High Falls Conservation Area, this tallest waterfall in Columbia County waterfall stands at 150ft. Just downstream, you can also find Agawamuck Falls; another large, but less dramatic waterfall.
Falls on White Clay Kill – This mid-sized fall forms on the White Clay Kill in the Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area.
Zabriskies Waterfall – This fall forms on the Sawkill Creek at Bard College. A short walk on a defined path takes you to the top, and bottom.
Poets Walk – Walking trails lead to stunning views of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River.
Samuels Sweet Shop – A must-stop destination when traveling through Rhinebeck. Fresh-baked goods, candies, chocolates, coffee, and so much more await. This is always a stop when we’re in the area!
Eveready Diner – Another welcoming stop for hungry travelers, and a favorite of ours, is the Eveready Diner. Delicious meals that are guaranteed to satisfy the biggest appetite!
Falls on Crum Elbow Creek – This small waterfall forms on Crum Elbow Creek under route 9. To see this fall, visitors must enter the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site. The site is open year-round and offers stunning views and tours.
Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt – Tour the grounds and home of America’s 32nd President at this national historic site in Hyde Park.
Falls on Fall Kill – One may not suspect waterfalls in the City of Poughkeepsie, but one is readily visible near the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum. Visit the museum with the family before or after catching a look at the waterfall.
Schatzi’s Pub and Zeus Brewing – Stop in for a pint and get a bite to eat at these fine establishments. With locations in Poughkeepsie and New Paltz, Schatzi’s has you covered on both sides of the river.
Zeus Brewing in Poughkeepsie offers a large assortment of brews for you to try, and a menu featuring small plate, pizza, and pasta dishes.
Follow @tommyd_qv on Instagram for recommendations and reviews of the many different brews in the Hudson Valley.
Walkway Over The Hudson – Take a walk across the world’s largest pedestrian bridge. Linking Poughkeepsie to Highland, this former railroad bridge has been transformed into an ADA compliant walkway that spans the Hudson River.
Locust Grove Estate – Tour the grounds and mansion of Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph Morse Code. Five miles of hiking trails, beautiful gardens, and a small cascade await.
Dover Stone Church – Here, you will find a waterfall inside of rock formation called Dover Stone Church. The falls form inside of a “cave” where fallen rock has created an enclosed area with a small opening above.
Wappingers Falls – This waterfall in the heart of town drops a total of approximately 75ft on the Wappinger Creek.
di’Vine Wine Bar – Wine, beer, and small plate menus combined with outside seating that overlooks Wappinger Falls makes this a prime location!
Fish Kill Overlook Falls – This waterfall forms on the Fish Kill as it flows under Main Street in Beacon.
The Roundhouse – This hotel and restaurant looks over the Fish Kill and Fish Kill Overlook Falls. Event space, and outdoor seating is available.
Falls at Madam Brett Park – A quick .2-mile walk along a nice path brings you to a waterfall in Madam Brett Park in Beacon.
Melzingah Falls – A nice waterfall set back in an open area with a large pool formed by a dam.
Indian Brook Falls – One of the more notable waterfalls, Indian Brook Falls is a popular spot nearby the Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary.
Waterfall at Croton Gorge Park – This must-see waterfall forms alongside the massive New Croton Dam at Croton Gorge Park.
West Side of the Hudson River
Cascade of Slid – Located in Harriman State Park, this waterfall forms on Pine Meadows Brook. A 1-mile hike takes you to the falls.
West Point United States Military Academy– Take a guided tour of the grounds, visit the West Point Museum, or attend a sporting event. The history of West Point dates back to the Revolutionary War and has played an important role in preparing future military leaders.
Storm King State Park – If breathtaking views of the Hudson River and valley are what you seek, look no farther!
Mineral Spring Falls – This 50-ft cascade forms on Mineral Spring Brook. A 0.3-mile hike along a well-defined path brings you to the base of the falls.
Marlboro Falls – Standing at approximately 100ft, Marlboro Falls forms on Lattintown Creek next to The Falcon, a live music venue and restaurant.
The Falcon – This restaurant and live music venue offers great food and drinks, a beer garden with seating next to Marlboro Falls, and an art gallery.
Walden Falls – Formed on the Wall Kill, this waterfall is the site of a dam and hydro-electric facility in Walden.
Minnewaska State Park – With a number of outstanding waterfalls, Minnewaska State Park is a waterfall-lover’s dream. Quick hikes up to more demanding hikes offer something for every skill set.
Awosting Falls – The 60-foot centerpiece waterfall at Minnewaska State Park, Awosting Falls forms on the Peters Kill. Downstream you can find several other waterfalls such as Sheldon Falls and Peters Kill Falls.
Waterfall at John C. Burroughs Nature Sanctuary – Found at the end of a 0.1-mile hike, this 25-foot waterfall is best visited in wet weather or early Spring.
Waterfall at Shaupaneak Ridge Park – This 30-foot cascade forms on an unnamed stream at Shaupaneak Ridge Park. Follow the white trail to the purple trail. A moderate hike of 0.7-mile.
Town of Woodstock – If it’s the Arts you seek, then the Town of Woodstock will be on your list of places to visit in the Hudson Valley. Painting, photography, sculpture, and of course music are prominent here. Walk the town and explore the shops and galleries… you may even find a waterfall here!
Cantine Falls – A waterfall that’s capped by a dam, this one sits in the heart of Saugerties just before the Esopus Creek joins the Hudson River. Right around the corner a bit you can find the Saugerties Lighthouse. Walk the trail out to the Hudson River where the lighthouse, that is now a bed and breakfast, awaits. Check ahead of time as the trail closes seasonally.
Krause’s Chocolates – When visiting Cantine Falls, you’ll be in the same parking lot; so why not stop in for the large selection of chocolatey treats and other delicious candies?
Bastion Falls and Kaaterskill Falls – These can’t-miss waterfalls form on Spruce Creek not far from each other, on the same trail. 70-foot Bastion greets hikers at the lower trailhead to 231-foot Kaaterskill Falls.
Hannacroix Creek Falls – A half-mile hike at the Hannacroix Creek Preserve in New Baltimore leads to this block cascade.
Cohoes Falls – This 65-foot tall giant spans the width of the Mohawk River in Cohoes. The falls are viewable from a lookout above, or from riverside.