Rainbow Falls is a beautiful oasis in the High Peaks. It gets its name from the rainbow that often forms against the glistening waters as the sun hits the rock wall. Hikers and photographers alike will find this spot a worthy spot as a destination or mid-point.
Please note that this waterfall is reached from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve property, which is accessible to the public through a conservation easement. Be respectful of private property and stay on marked hiking trails. Dogs are prohibited on AMR lands.
This hike is accessed through a conservation easement with the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR). A parking reservation is needed from May 1 - October 31. Although it is called a “parking reservation,” everyone will need a reservation to access hikes leaving from AMR, whether you drove yourself, rode a bike, got dropped-off, or walked. These reservations can be made online via the AMR website. For more information, please read these FAQs or contact the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
How to get there
This is part of the St. Huberts parking area/trailhead on AMR property. Leave Lake Placid on Route 73 and follow Route 73 toward Keene. Continue through Keene and Keene Valley and into Saint Huberts. Continue to the trailhead for the AMR on the right, directly across the road for the Roaring Brook Falls trail to Giant Mountain. This is approximately 3 miles from the outskirts of Keene Valley.
By the numbers
- Milage: 9.4 miles, round trip.
- Most of the milages is along a private road, with the last mile to the base of the falls being the hardest. Elevation gain to the falls is steady or minimal.
- Waterfall height: 150 feet
From the parking lot, you will initially have to follow a dirt road to a paved road next to the golf course. At 0.5 miles from the parking area, turn left and down between two tennis courts on Lake Road Way to get to the gate into the AMR. The AMR is a private property area with recreational easements - special rules apply to use and those are posted at the gate. After signing it and passing around the gate you will need to hike the dirt access road for a bit over 3 miles to Lower Ausable Lake. This dirt road is referred to as Lake Road and it climbs steadily to a dam at the end. There are other trails to get you to Rainbow Falls, but using the road is the most efficient. At the dam, cross the bridge below the dam and follow signs to Rainbow Falls.
At this point the trail becomes a bit difficult and very slippery in spots. The footing is a bit difficult everyone should just take their time and be cautious. You will be following along the stream that leads through a deep canyon with rock slopes and steep side that leads to the base of the falls and as you get closer you will hear it and eventually feel the spray.