The Adirondack Fifty Falls Challenge is here!
Russell Dunn and John Haywood bring their years of experience and expertise together to bring you the Adirondack Fifty Falls Waterfalls Challenge!
Waterfalls are a mainstay of the Adirondacks that attract people from all over who come to see their natural beauty. Many of these visitors come to the High Peaks region where the issue of overcrowding is prevalent. Our goal is to help alleviate overcrowding of parking areas, roadways, and trails by attracting more people to other areas of the Adirondacks. It is our hope that this challenge will not only help with overcrowding, but will also benefit businesses in these areas.
The Adirondack Fifty Falls Challenge works as follows:
- For the Fifty Falls Challenge blue patch, any fifty waterfalls must be visited in person, including any 5 of the 11 waterfalls designated with an asterisk (*) requiring proof in the form of a safely-taken selfie with each waterfall behind the hiker. This is to encourage fair play.
- For the Fifty Falls Challenge green patch, any fifty waterfalls must be visited in person, excluding those marked with an asterisk (*), must be visited. Waterfalls marked with a double asterisk (**) require proof in the form of a safely-taken selfie with each waterfall behind the hiker. This is to encourage fair play.This is the easy version of the challenge.
- For the Fifty Falls Challenge extreme rocker patch, any fifty waterfalls must be visited in person, including all 11 waterfalls designated with an asterisk (*) requiring proof in the form of a safely-taken selfie with each waterfall behind the hiker. This is to encourage fair play.
- There is no time limit for the completion of the challenge. It begins when you get your guide.
If you have the original guide that only has the fifty waterfalls, we have made the additional pages available as a downloadable PDF. Fifity Falls Challenge Second Edition Additions
Take note that some of the hikes to reach these waterfalls are physically demanding. Please use your best judgement when deciding to visit those waterfalls.
Weather in the Adirondacks can turn in a matter of minutes. Be prepared for inclement weather.
Be sure to check road conditions ahead of your trip. Severe weather can effect roadways, and seasonal roads may not be open when planned. Check the NYS DEC website before making a trip.
NYSDEC contact information for the included regions
In the event of an emergency, dial 911
Region 5 – Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties
Contact – (518) 897-1200 Ray Brook
Forest Rangers – (518) 897-1303
Region 6 – Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and St. Lawrence counties
Contact – (315) 785-2239 Watertown
Forest Rangers –
(315) 785-2263 Watertown
(315) 866-6330 Herkimer
(315) 376-3521 Lowville
(315) 265-3090 Potsdam
Respect private property at all times and practice “Carry in, carry out” and the seven principles of the Leave No Trace Center of Outdoor Ethics.
A guidebook for the challenge, written by John Haywood and Russell Dunn, is available for purchase through Amazon, and select bookstores and retailers.
“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
The email address to send all information, ask questions, or to provide feedback, is email@example.com
Proceeds from the sale of the guidebook will be used for the production of patches, promoting the challenge, and publishing, as well as our Paul Smiths College scholarship fund.
Click here to be taken to the Facebook page created for the challenge where you can find updates and postings about the challenge!
A checklist can be found here: Second Edition Checklist
The list of waterfalls for the Adirondack Fifty Falls Waterfall Challenge is:
- Alice Falls NOTE: Alice Falls has limited access! The gate to Alice Falls is closed seasonally from September 8th to May 20th. The gate is open between 8am and 3pm. Please plan accordingly.
- Allen Falls
- Anderson Falls
- Auger Falls
- Austin Falls
- Beecher Creek Falls**
- Block Cascade on Stag Brook
- Blue Ridge Falls
- Blueberry Falls
- Bog River Falls**
- Buttermilk Falls (Deerland/ Long Lake)**
- Cascade Lake Falls (Eagle Bay)*
- Christine Falls
- Death Brook Falls**
- Deer Brook Falls
- Dunkley Falls
- East Jimmy Creek Falls
- Falls of Carillon**
- Griffin Falls
- Hanging Spear Falls* NOTE: Requires a waterway crossing. May not be accessible in early Spring or after heavy or sustained rains.
- Jamestown Falls
- Jay Falls**
- Lampsons Falls**
- Mill Park Falls**
- Millbrook Falls
- Monument Falls
- Mossy Cascade
- Northwest Bay Brook Falls
- OK Slip Falls*
- Oregon Trail Falls
- Potholers, aka Brayhouse Falls
- Rainbow Falls (Ausable Chasm)** Check www.ausablechasm.com for hours of operation and other pertinent information, prior to your visit.
- Rainbow Falls (Tooley Pond Rd)
- Rice’s Falls
- Rocky Falls
- Sawmill Falls or Noisy Cave Falls NOTE: PLEASE CALL OR CHECK WWW.STONEBRIDGEANDCAVES.COM FOR SEASONAL INFORMATION BEFORE VISITING.
- Shelving Rock Falls NOTE: Seasonal Road.
- Shingle Mill Falls**
- Sinclair Falls
- Split Rock Falls
- Stag Brook Falls
- Tenant Creek Falls NOTE: Seasonal Road.
- Twin Falls
- Upper La Chute Falls
- Wadhams Falls
- Wanika Falls* NOTE: Requires a water crossing.
- West Stony Creek Falls
- Whiteface Brook Falls*
- Wilmington Flume
- Wilmington Notch Falls
- Basford Falls**
- Bulkhead Falls
- Copper Rock Falls
- Dug Mountain Brook Falls*
- Gleasman Falls*
- Harper Falls
- High Falls (Oswegatchie River)*
- High Falls Dam (Saranac)
- Opalescent Falls* NOTE: Requires a water crossing.
- Raquette Falls*
- Rockwell Falls
- Shanty Brook Falls* NOTE: Requires a water crossing.
*Waterfalls appearing in bold require proof of visit as noted.
* Indicates that a selfie must be submitted as proof for the blue patch.
** Indicates easier hikes that a selfie must be submitted as proof for the green patch.
We do not recommend attempting to visit any of the listed waterfalls during the Winter or during times of snow and ice. Do not attempt water crossings during times of high water or turbulent water.
Dig The Falls is seeking business sponsors for the Adirondack Fifty Falls Waterfall Challenge. If interested please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Click here for our article regarding social media and waterfalls.
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.
- DO NOT WEAR FLIP FLOPS when hiking or visiting areas you are unfamiliar with. Waterfalls are no place for improper footwear and have lead to accidents and deaths over the years.
- 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.