“There is a hidden message in every waterfall. It says, if you are flexible, falling will not hurt you.” – Mehmet Murat IIdan
The Adirondacks are known for their lush forests and serene mountains, but that is not the only beauty the outdoors here holds. When the sun hits them just right, they resemble falling crystals flowing over a vertical drop, coming down into a serene pool of flowing water. If you stand near one and close your eyes, you can hear the most relaxing sounds of a rippling flow and feel the slight spray of water kissing your face. I am talking about waterfalls. Upstate New York has over 2,000 of them. Hikers, locals, and visitors are always on the lookout for these beautiful rapids, and here I have put together six of the most beautiful.
Cohoes Falls is the second most beautiful waterfall, right after Niagara Falls. Here in New York, that is quite the comparison, which is why I put it on the top of the list. This waterfall spans the 1,000-foot length of the river and drops as much as eighty feet in height.
These mighty falls are great to see in spring. Falls View Park offers views of the waterfall that span the Mohawk River between Cohoes and Waterford, NY.
Ok Slip Falls
With its 200-foot drop, Ok Slip Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Adirondacks. It comes with a short three-mile hike from the parking lot. The trail has easy markers to follow, is wide and spacious, full of white pines, and tends to get slippery at the beginning, so be careful. The trail ends with a couple of scenic overlooks with a great view of the falls. There is also an additional short but strenuous trail that leads over the slip into Hudson Gorge. The best time to visit this is March through October.
Rock Garden Falls
This 20-foot waterfall is one of my absolute favorites. At the base of Giant Mountain in Kenne Valley, NY, a small footpath opens up to reveal a sheer rock wall. There the unique waterfall flows over the edge, seeping into the cracks and spilling out at random spots giving it, what locals call, a resemblance to a Japanese Rock Garden. The stream at the bottom flows to a flower-rimmed pond. This little oasis is the perfect place to throw down a blanket nearby, grab a book and a couple of snacks and just enjoy the zen that will be your afternoon.
Two miles from downtown Ithica is the beautiful 165-foot waterfalls called Buttermilk Falls. Buttermilk takes its name from the foaming flow formed by Buttermilk Creek as it flows down the steep valley toward Cayuga Lake.
Something other falls do not have that this one does is a natural pool at the base of Buttermilk for swimming. There is also a pavilion that fits 73 people. This is a great one to visit with family or friends for a fun and adventurous day out. Here at Buttermilk, there are restrooms, picnic areas, and some excellent wildlife.
Death Brook Falls
Do not let the name scare you. This 50-foot waterfall has a wide cascade that, after a good rainstorm, you can usually see not one but a couple of rainbows! When hiking around that area after or during a rainstorm, be careful of slippery rocks. There are many around, and people have slipped on them once or twice.
When you walk past the metal gate at the entrance and head down to the open field, there will be two options. Taking a left goes to the base of the falls, and if you go right, it leads to the top.
If you want to stay in that area while enjoying the views, Death Brook Falls is located near the Golden Beach Campground. Pack up the family and stay awhile.
Located in Keene, NY, this waterfall is the 36th highest peak. Hiking to it takes about 16 minutes and is an easy hike for beginners. There are two stunning lakes on either side of the waterfall. Being surrounded by all that water on a gorgeous spring day!? Yes, please. Spring is the best time to see them, and this is when the water force will be at its strongest. It is also a popular spot for ice climbers in the winter.
As always, when visiting any kind of park, woods, or beaches, always remember the LEAVE NO TRACE rule. Be kind to mother nature.
On this site, you will find everyday adventures in the Adirondacks for all different types of people. Whether you are a day hiker, overnighter, fisher, biker, having an outing with the family, or just looking to take a couple of friends and go camping in some of the most primitive campsites. Here for the mountains? We have 46 high peaks with all kinds of different trails. Let us help you find your next Adirondack Adventure!