Waterfalls and Whitewater

Spring is for new experiences

Fresh water is abundant in the Adirondacks, and so are the ways to enjoy it! Hike to waterfalls so wildly beautiful you can't even believe it's real. Raft down whitewater in a torrent of cool, exhilarating fun. In Hamilton County, you can do either, or both, often on the same day. Big outdoors, big water, and big fun are yours to be had.

A young woman climbing a rocky waterfall in a forest smiles.
A group of people in PFDs and helmets paddle a raft on a churning river.
A young hiker sits next to a gushing waterfall amid sunlit greenery.
A group of whitewater rafters pose with paddles in rafting gear in front of a bus.

Falling water

We're kind of spoiled in Hamilton County, being home to a number of waterfalls, all of them beautiful, cascading parts of rich Adirondack forests. Big or little, they're unique destinations, especially in spring, when snowmelt means big water and trees and flowers are bursting into life.

Some of our waterfalls, like Buttermilk Falls, are just a short walk from the road, making it easy to find soul-cleansing bliss without a lot of effort. Other waterfalls, like the magnificent OK Slip Falls, require a hike to reach, but you'll find it well worth the effort.

We think our waterfalls are so special we've created a challenge to encourage others to explore them! Check out the Waterfall Challenge guide and start collecting points toward a Waterfall Challenge patch. One by one, they all add up to an impressive combined drop of 1,400-feet. It's a great way to make sure you don't miss a thing! Want a little help on where to start? Try the Hamilton County Waterfall Wayfinder Trail, a useful guide to help you navigate and customize your waterfall road trip!

Riding water

If you're looking for the kind of action that only riding the waves can provide, we have good news: there are 105 miles of navigable whitewater in the region. Rafting companies are ready to take people down the Hudson River Gorge, so it's easy to become one of the 25,000-plus rafters who make the trip annually. Beyond the gorge, you'll find every class of rapids up to V available.

Local guides have plenty of options so that you can plan a day, a weekend, or an extended backcountry trip.

Leave No Trace

From big lakes to winding rivers to small waterfalls, the waterbodies of the Adirondacks aren't just beautiful or great for recreation, they're also incredibly important for the health of the environment. Clean water means healthy plants and animals, which makes for a better, more vital Adirondacks and you can help!

The best way to cement your legacy is to take the Love Your ADKS pledge to always protect the wild lands and waters of the Adirondacks by practicing Leave No Trace ethics and good stewardship. Thanks for your commitment!

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