Skip to main content

11 Epic Waterfall Hikes for Your Bucket List

Hiking is one of the most popular activities to enjoy in the Adirondacks, but what if you could take your hiking experience up a notch? We've rounded up 11 epic waterfall hikes so that you can experience even more picturesque scenery while you're out in the spectactular Adirondacks.

Note: Many of these falls require long hikes, and/or are rated as difficult. Please do your reserach beforehand, know your own hiking abilities, and stay safe.

1) T Lake Falls

tall waterfall going down rocksPhoto credit: John Holmes

It requires a 10-mile round trip to reach it, but T Lake Falls has been called the most impressive waterfall in the Adirondacks with a drop of 500 to 600 feet! Not surprisingly, the hike to these impressive falls is difficult and should not be attempted by beginners. This is the highest waterfall in the Adirondacks.

2) Beaver Meadow Falls

huge waterfallPhoto credit: John Holmes

Beaver Meadow Falls is a gorgeous 60-foot horsetail cascade waterfall on a tributary to the East Branch of the Ausable River. You can access the falls from a trailhead just outside Keene Valley. The hike is 7.4 miles round trip and will take a few hours, even for experienced hikers.

Note: The waterfall is located on the Ausable Club property, so certain rules apply: Hikers must stay on designated trails or roads without trespassing on Ausable Mountain Reserve lands or waters, and dogs are prohibited.

3) OK Slip Falls

hiker with a camera stands on a ledge looking behind him at the waterfallPhoto credit: John Holmes

OK Slip Falls in Indian Lake is one of the highest waterfalls in all of the Adirondacks at 200 feet. This almost vertical waterfall became open to the public in 2014. The trail to the waterfall is 3 miles long; with the walk from the parking area the roundtrip distance ends up being 6.4 miles.

The hike can be difficult, and is known to be buggy and muddy as it's near some swampy areas. Bring bug spray with you and wear sturdy boots.

4) Indian Falls

rocky waterPhoto credit: John Holmes

Indian Falls can be found on the Mount Marcy Trail, which is only recommended for experienced hikers. For those taking on Mount Marcy - the tallest mountain in New York State - Indian Falls is a popular spot to break just off the Van Hoevenberg Trail.

5) Hanging Spear Falls

a very tall waterfall

Hanging Spear Falls is a picturesque, 75-foot tall waterfall on the Opalescent River. It's named for its resemblance to the shaft of a falling spear. This can be reached by a six-mile, difficult hike. You'll drive north to the end of Route 25/Tahwaus Road and park at the end of the road in the Upper Works parking area.

6) Wedge Brook Falls

waterfall that looks like it's being split in two by a large boulder

You can see a series of three falls with Wedge Brook Falls at Wedge Brook. The most prominent of the three is in the middle. These falls get their name from the large boulder wedged between the two large rock walls; water flows down either side of the boulder, then combine towards the bottom. These falls are located on the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, so certain rules apply for hikers.

7) Goldmine Stream Falls

waterfall going down rocks with trees in the background

Although not a long hike at just 1.2 miles one way, the hike to Goldmine Stream Falls does prove moderately challenging and follows an unmarked trail. The beginning of the trail is difficult to find - the spot is about 12.5 miles north of New York Route 29A along Powley-Piseco Road.

The hike can be wet in some sections. However, this is a lovely, lesser-known area of the Adirondacks and you will be rewarded by an amazing, cascading waterfall.

8) High Falls Gorge

a waterfall splitting into two falls going over rocks

High Falls Gorge is a series of four waterfalls in a privately-owned park. The hike to reach the falls is just half an hour - "The Adirondacks' Most Breathtaking 30 Minute Walk." High Falls Gorge is located in Wilmington, right near Whiteface Mountain.

You will need to pay a small fee to access the falls, but it's well worth it! The hike includes well-maintained bridges, walkways, and paths.

9) Raquette Falls

rushing falls over rocks

Raquette Falls near Tupper Lake are located along an 8.8-mile trail that follows the east side of the Raquette River. The multi-use trail is popular for cross-country skiing in the winter. There are several wetland areas along the trail and some hills during the latter half of the hike.

10) Wanika Falls

waterfall cascading over rocks

You'll have to hike close to 14 miles round trip to reach Wanika Falls near Lake Placid. This 150-foot high waterfall is broken up into sections. You'll follow the blue-blazed Northville-Placid Trail south for 6.5 miles, then bear left onto a spur path. You'll pass by two Chubb River Falls before coming to a stream crossing.

Depending on how much water is flowing down the Chubb River you made need to stop here. If it looks possible to ford the river safely you can proceed on and then follow a path that leads to the base of the falls.

11) Bushnell Falls

waterfall on rocks Photo credit: John Holmes

Bushnell Falls near John's Brook Lodge in Keene is used as a resting spot for hikers - you can also swim here. The 20-foot waterfall forms on a gorge and cuts through a slab of solid bedrock. Bushnall Falls is named for Reverand Horace Bushnell, who made frequent visits to Keene Valley from his home in Hartford, Connecticut.

Check out all Adirondack waterfalls »

See a map of NYS waterfalls »

Sources:

  • Adirondack Fifty Falls Challenge by John Haywood and Russell Dunn
  • AdirondackExperience.com
  • AllTrails.com
  • CNYHiking.com
  • DigTheFalls.com
  • LakePlacid.com
  • NYWaterfalls.com
  • TupperLake.com

« Back to the Adirondack Hiking Guide