Adirondack waterfalls

There are approximately 110 waterfalls in the Adirondacks, and dozens of those waterfalls are within a reasonable driving distance from the village of Lake Placid. Whether you want to appreciate these beautiful natural formations from wheelchair-accessible walkways, enjoy the sound of water cascading against the rocks in its plunge pool after a family hike, or break out the compass and topographical map before heading into the bush with a few other experienced hikers, you’re starting your search in the right place. As with many hikes, your experience hiking to a waterfall can vary season to season. Waterfalls typically have the greatest amount of water flow during the spring thanks to snow and ice melt, but catching one frozen in time by the temperatures an Adirondack winter can bring or seeing the colors of our famous fall foliage paint the backdrop of a Lake Placid waterfall is equally memorable. While sometimes at their driest in the summertime, an August hike past a waterfall provides an opportunity to cool off in ways you’ll be talking about for years to come. 

Waterfall safety tips

Be sure to obey any signs or markings, as accidents leading to serious injury and even death around waterfalls do occur. Surfaces near waterfalls have a tendency to to be slippery so keeping to the trail and paying attention to your footing at both the top and bottom of a waterfall can help avoid a mishap. Not unlike any outdoor pursuit, it’s recommended to research your destination and be prepared for your hike to be aware of potential dangers you may encounter.

Waterfalls you can swim at

As mentioned above, waterfalls can be dangerous places and should be approached with caution. Thankfully there are several Adirondack waterfalls deemed to have pools suitable for swimming.  

Bushnell Falls

Bushnell Falls is near Johns Brook in Keene, NY and can be reached from the Garden Trailhead, which is also the starting point of some of the Adirondacks’ most popular hikes. Bushnell Falls is a little over a five mile hike from the trailhead, so you’ll have certainly earned a dip in its beautiful natural pool. This is located on the trail used to hike Mount Haystack and Basin Mountain, and directions to the falls can be found on either of those mountains’ pages.

Rocky Falls

While this waterfall is only a six foot drop, this waterfall and its serene surroundings are sure to take up some room on your phone’s camera roll. The trailhead leading to Rocky Falls starts from the parking lot at the Adirondack Mountain Club, so while you will pay for a day pass you can make this a stop along the way to many other destinations you’ll find on this network of trails.

Split Rock Falls

Located in Elizabethown, NY on the Boquet River, Split Rock Falls is well worth the 45 minute drive to bask in the water alongside the picturesque falls. 

The Wilmington Flume

A favorite in the area for travelers and locals alike, The Flume in Wilmington is a popular road-side swimming hole complete with rock jumps. Its popularity does occasionally contribute to a lack of parking, so have a backup plan in mind like taking a dip by the covered bridge in Jay.

View of the Wilmington Flume from in the water

Roadside and wheelchair-accessible waterfalls

Not everything in the Adirondacks is nestled at the end of a trail in the mountains. If you’d rather hop out of the car and experience some awe, we’ve got roadside waterfalls, too! For travelers with mobility restrictions, attractions such as High Falls Gorge and Ausable Chasm can scratch your waterfall itch, and are impressive enough to be found on many lists of top activities near Lake Placid.

Two children stand on a transparent platform above the Au Sable River at High Falls Gorge in Wilmington, NY
Suspended walkway hanging on the side of a cliff face above a series of waterfalls on the Au Sable River at High Falls Gorge
Walkway heading towards a waterfall along the Au Sable River at High Falls Gorge
A couple looks off of a platform at a waterfall at High Falls Gorge.
View of one of the waterfalls at High Falls Gorge from a suspended walkway above the Au Sable River.
View of a waterfall at Ausable Chasm in Keeseville, New York during summer
Frozen waterfall at Ausable Chasm in Keeseville, New York
Closeup of a frozen waterfall in Keeseville, New York

46er waterfall hikes

With so many mountains and waterfalls around Lake Placid, you may be wondering if there are any hikes where you can see waterfalls and also cross one of the 46 high peaks off your summer list. The answer is of course! You can stop for a swim by Bushnell Falls on your way to the peaks of Basin, Big Slide, and Haystack

Adirondack Mountain Reserve

Several of the trails to high peaks that start from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve pass by Rainbow Falls and Beaver Meadow Falls. If you’re planning on adding one of these hiking trails with waterfalls to your itinerary, you’ll need to first make a reservation through AMR’s free reservation tool.

Uphill Brook Falls

If you’re hiking Mount Redfield you can find Uphill Brook Falls and marvel at the water cascading past you on its way to the Hudson River.

Indian Falls

New York’s tallest mountain, Mount Marcy, features a lookout from the top of Indian Falls which offers a stunning view of the MacIntyre Range. 

Best winter waterfall hikes

Roaring Brook Falls

Roaring brook falls is one of the most popular and easy waterfall hikes during the spring season, but it’s well worth the short trek from the trailhead to see it in its frozen state.

Wanika Falls

Wanika Falls is a fourteen mile trip along the Northville-Lake Placid Trail. Snowshoes are the recommended mode of transportation, but cross country skiing is also an option.

High Falls Gorge

For those looking to see frozen waterfalls near Lake Placid without donning any special gear, High Falls Gorge is open during the winter and is a favorite attraction among all ages.

Cascade Pass

Visit Cascade Pass, where ice climbers are often seen scaling the slopes around the frozen waterfall that feeds the two lakes beneath it during the warmer months.

Hamilton County Waterfall Challenge

Are the lasting memories and Instagram-worthy pictures not quite enough for you? Our friends at Adirondack Experience in neighboring Hamilton county have an Adirondack waterfall hikes challenge that rewards a patch to those who rack up enough waterfall sightings. The best part of this challenge is that thanks to the number of waterfalls with varying degrees of difficulty, many hikers can find criteria within their comfort level to earn the coveted waterfall challenge patch.

Other Great Waterfall Hikes

Stag Brook Falls

Many summer itineraries include riding the Cloudsplitter Gondola to the top of Whiteface or disc golfing at their summer course, but the mountain also features a free trail only open in the summer where you can hike to Stag Brook Falls

Roaring Brook Falls

Roaring Brook Falls is one of the more popular springtime waterfall trails near Lake Placid. Thanks to the level, well-maintained trail this hike is one of the better choices for a family with children. Located between exit 30 on Interstate 87 and Lake Placid, this 0.3 mile hike is also the perfect activity to squeeze in before heading home to plan your next Adirondack vacation.

Winter shot of Roaring Brook Falls in Keene, NY
Aerial view of a frozen Roaring Brook Falls in Keene Valley, NY
Photograph of a beautiful waterfall cascading down a mountainside in the Adirondacks in spring




Results for "Waterfall Hikes near Lake Placid"

Rocky Falls is a gem of a hike.
Rocky Falls
Heart Lake, Lake Placid
(518) 523-2445

This is a gentle walk to a lovely, miniature waterfall. This hike's charm is the easy route and the lovely setting. 

Wanika Falls
Lake Placid

This is the most northerly section of the 133 mile Northville-Placid Trail. The 14-mile round trip to Wanika Falls is a challenging undertaking, but there are many views and other stopping points along the way to make this a shorter trip. How to get...

Great Falls Loop
Ausable Road, Lake Placid
(518) 523-2445

This trip offers some of the most spectacular sights of the Adirondacks. You hike it alone or it can be part of a "must-not-miss" side trip to nearby Gothics and Upper & Lower Wolf Jaw.

Mount Redfield
Adirondak Loj Rd, Lake Placid
(518) 523-2445

Redfield was named for Professor William C. Redfield: meteorologist, organizer of, and participant in, the first recorded ascent of Mount Marcy. This High Peak is trailless so use of map/compass is required.

Monument Falls
Route 86, Wilmington
(518) 523-2445

Hiking Follow the path to, and along, the Ausable River for an easy trip suitable for small children. The Monuments commemorate the 50th, and 100th Anniversary of the establishment of the Adirondack Park. Find out more Read our blog post about...

Stag Brook Falls
5021 New York 86, Wilmington
(518) 946-2255

Stag Brook Falls is an excellent couple hours of hiking along an attractive brook with numerous waterfalls and cascades. Picnic benches, nature signs, and swimming are available along the way.

Elk Pass
Route 73, Keene Valley
(518) 523-2445

Elk Pass is an excellent destination to just get out and enjoy nature. It is loaded with wildflowers and outstanding waterfalls in the spring. The pass itself is also a great spot for wildlife viewing.

Lost Lookout
Route 73, Keene
(518) 523-2445

Lost Lookout is an amazing loop hike that incorporates Beaver Meadow Falls on one end and Rainbow Falls on the other. But, along with that, there are outstanding views along the short ridge trail as well.

Roaring Brook Falls
Route 73, Keene Valley
(518) 523-2445

Roaring Brook Falls is visible from the road at a pull off, but now you can see it up close via a short hiking trail.

Beaver Meadow Falls
Route 73, Keene Valley
(518) 523-2445

Beaver Meadow Falls is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the Adirondacks, but it does require a bit of work to reach it. With a fanned out waterfall feature it cascades a gorgeous white to the Ausable River below.

Rainbow Falls
Lake Road, Keene Valley
(518) 523-2445

Rainbow Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the park and definitely one of the most photographed. On a hot day lingering near the base will give you a very cooling mist. Spring time hiking gives the best opportunity for heavy water flow.