The Waterfall Hiking Challenge
What could be more fun that adding gorgeous waterfalls into your hike? Check out the falls below and you could earn a patch for Hamilton County's Waterfall Challenge. Scroll to the bottom for the link to the official brochure.
Griffin Falls, photo credit: John Haywood
Hike Waterfalls, Collect Points, Get a Patch
There are 19 waterfalls in the Waterfall Challenge rated as Easy, Easy/Moderate, Moderate, and Difficult, with 1 to 4 points allotted to each; Easy Waterfall Hikes are 1 point, Easy/Moderate are 2, and so forth. Get 12 points or more from visiting the below falls, and you can submit your info for a Challenge patch. Good luck!
Please note: Those rated as difficult can in fact be extremely challenging. Always do your research on where you plan to go, and hike within your abilities.
Easy Waterfall Hikes
Austin Falls is a long, sliding waterfall surrounded by rock formations and it doesn't take a long hike to reach.
Bray House Falls
Also known as "The Potholers," Bray House Falls consists of a section of East Canada Creek that has waterfalls, chutes, and potholes that drop over 15 feet.
Buttermilk Falls comprises a series of short and wide cascades on the Raquette River that total more than 40 feet. There's an elevation phenomenon that occurs here that makes the river look like it's elevated above the surrounding bedrock.
Christine Falls is located slightly downstream from the power generation dam on the Sacandaga River and you can check out two small waterfalls that drop approximately 20 feet to a large swimming hole.
Also known as "Secret Falls," Death Falls is on a tributary into Death Stream and drops nearly 70 feet over a cliff. The best viewing is during high water.
East Jimmy Creek Falls
East Jimmy Creek Falls consists of two small waterfalls that are surprisingly picturesque for their size. One is near the beginning of the hike and the second is just upstream and drops into a small swimming hole.
Griffin Falls comprises several drops, large blocks, and potholes, plus an 8-foot cascading waterfall on the East Branch of the Sacandaga River.
Squaw Brook Falls
Squaw Brook Falls is a small roadside falls located in a rocky gorge on the Squaw Brook. The falls are on private property; you'll view the falls and gorge from a small bridge.
Whiskey Brook Falls
Whiskey Brook Falls is 5 to 6 feet tall, surrounded by large boulders, and is accessible by a short walk.
West Stony Creek Falls, photo credit: John Haywood
Easy to Moderate Waterfall Hikes
Auger Falls is 40 feet tall at the beginning of a series of drops, plunges, and cascades that total over 100 feet through a narrow gorge on the Sacandaga River.
Buckhorn Lake Outlet
Buckhorn Lake Outlet waterfall is on a small stream that serves as the outlet for Buckhorn Lake, also known as Fiddler's Pond. Birders will want to check out this waterfall; the lake is known for its nesting loons and great blue herons.
Limekiln Falls is a series of easy-dropping falls that flow along a trail surrounded by dark cedar and hemlock forest. They're 15 feet wide and go for almost half a mile.
Tenant Creek Falls
Also known as Hope Falls, Tenant Creek Falls consists of a 40 to 50 foot high falls that forms at a sharp bend in Tenant Creek. There are two other small falls located farther upstream that are worth the effort to check out.
Moderate Waterfall Hikes
Cascade Falls is only 12 to 15 inches in width and drops over 40 feet into a shade pool.
West Stony Creek Falls
The hike to West Stony Creek Falls takes you along an old dirt road for 1.5 miles to a small, 4-foot cascade on a medium-size stream along the Northville-Placid Trail.
Austin Falls, photo credit: John Haywood
Difficult Waterfall Hikes
Dug Mountain Brook Falls
Dug Mountain Brook Falls is located on the south end of Indian Lake and is best reached by canoe. There is a small falls where the brook enters the lake and another, larger, 40-foot falls farther upstream.
Groff Creek Falls
Groff Creek Falls consists of 3 waterfalls along Groff Creek, all of which take some extra effort to see. The third one is easier to get to than the first two.
OK Slip Falls
OK Slip Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in the Park. The trail to the falls, constructed in 2014, is 3 miles long plus a .2-mile walk from the parking area, making for a 6.4-mile round trip. The falls drops 200 feet into a gorge.
West Branch of Sacandaga River & Cold Brook Falls
West Branch of Sacandaga River and Cold Brook Falls is a 2.5-mile one-way hike over uneven terrain to the West Branch Gorge. This should only be attempted mid-summer when the water levels are low. The West Branch cascades through a narrow gorge that is over 400 feet tall in some spots.