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The Adirondack Fifty Falls Challenge is here!

Adirondack Fifty Falls Waterfall ChallengePatch

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

Website: www.dec.ny.gov

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.

Leave No Trace 7 Principles

The Ten Essentials of Hiking

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 adkfiftyfalls@gmail.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:

  1. 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.
  2. Allen Falls
  3. Anderson Falls
  4. Auger Falls
  5. Austin Falls
  6. Beecher Creek Falls**
  7. Block Cascade on Stag Brook
  8. Blue Ridge Falls
  9. Blueberry Falls
  10. Bog River Falls**
  11. Buttermilk Falls (Deerland/ Long Lake)**
  12. Cascade Lake Falls (Eagle Bay)*
  13. Christine Falls
  14. Death Brook Falls**
  15. Deer Brook Falls
  16. Dunkley Falls
  17. East Jimmy Creek Falls
  18. Falls of Carillon**
  19. Griffin Falls
  20. Hanging Spear Falls* NOTE: Requires a waterway crossing. May not be accessible in early Spring or after heavy or sustained rains.
  21. Jamestown Falls
  22. Jay Falls**
  23. Lampsons Falls**
  24. Mill Park Falls**
  25. Millbrook Falls
  26. Monument Falls
  27. Mossy Cascade
  28. Northwest Bay Brook Falls
  29. OK Slip Falls*
  30. Oregon Trail Falls
  31. Potholers, aka Brayhouse Falls
  32. Rainbow Falls (Ausable Chasm)** Check www.ausablechasm.com for hours of operation and other pertinent information, prior to your visit.
  33. Rainbow Falls (Tooley Pond Rd)
  34. Rice’s Falls
  35. Rocky Falls
  36. Sawmill Falls or Noisy Cave Falls  NOTE: PLEASE CALL OR CHECK WWW.STONEBRIDGEANDCAVES.COM FOR SEASONAL INFORMATION BEFORE VISITING.
  37. Shelving Rock Falls NOTE: Seasonal Road.
  38. Shingle Mill Falls**
  39. Sinclair Falls
  40. Split Rock Falls
  41. Stag Brook Falls
  42. Tenant Creek Falls NOTE: Seasonal Road.
  43. Twin Falls
  44. Upper La Chute Falls
  45. Wadhams Falls
  46. Wanika Falls* NOTE: Requires a water crossing.
  47. West Stony Creek Falls
  48. Whiteface Brook Falls*
  49. Wilmington Flume
  50. Wilmington Notch Falls

Additions

  1. Basford Falls**
  2. Bulkhead Falls
  3. Copper Rock Falls
  4. Dug Mountain Brook Falls*
  5. Gleasman Falls*
  6. Harper Falls
  7. High Falls (Oswegatchie River)*
  8. High Falls Dam (Saranac)
  9. Opalescent Falls* NOTE: Requires a water crossing.
  10. Raquette Falls*
  11. Rockwell Falls
  12. 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 adkfiftyfalls@gmail.com

Safety

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.

For more New York waterfall locations, visit our New York State waterfall map.

Please consider donating to our Paul Smiths College Scholarship Fund and help a student realize their dream. Click here for details.

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18 Responses

  1. […] To get there: From Wells, drive north on Rte 30 to the intersection with Rte 8. Continue past that driving north for 6.5 miles. Turn right onto a paved seasonal road known as Old Rte 30 and drive southeast for approximately 2.7 miles. Please note that this road is buckled in numerous spot and cautious driving is required. Nearing the end of the mileage, the road will run parallel to the river. Pull over and follow one of several paths to the falls. Use caution as the rock here is very slippery. Austin Falls is part of the Adirondack Fifty Falls Waterfall Challenge. […]

  2. my 50 Falls Challenge book does not have a form to fill out!! WHERE Do we get the form?? i’ve already hiked to 6 of them!!

    • Hi Faithe,
      No form to fill out. Feel free to keep track of any way that works best for you. There are some waterfalls that do require specific GPS information, but the rest is up to you how you would like to track. Please share on social media and hashtag #ADK50Falls when you do.

      Safe and happy hiking!!

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