Spring is waterfall time! And we are Waterfall Country.
As the snow melts and flows down from the mountains, our many waterfalls put on a spectacular show. There's something about water tumbling over a rocky base that lifts one's spirits. The sounds, the spray, the grandeur; young and old, there's a special allure of visiting a waterfall.
The problem with a lot of wilderness waterfalls is how they can be difficult to get to. Here's our picks for the easiest access, some even from roadside.
This dam complex known as Chasm Falls is about twenty minutes south of downtown Malone. While it is surrounded by hydroelectics, the area provides both a parking spot and a spectacular view of some impressive rocky gorges and considerable water movement.
The area offers great photo opportunities. Those with good zoom lenses will be able to visually get past the forbidden areas which keep people safely away from the slippery rocks and steep drops, and the hydro-electric equipment itself. There's also marvelous contrast with the broad and tranquil lake across the road, the result of damming the Salmon River at this point.
Blogger photo tip: This waterfall, like most, would greatly benefit from both a polarizer and a warming filter, and focal lengths of around 50mm.
There's a small parking lot for you to safely enjoy the view. And, what a view - with 125 feet of height, and about 30 feet of drop, the best part of these falls may be how the giant tumbled rocks go on for quite a ways down the river.
Heading north on Duane Road brings us to the Chasm Falls fishing access site, with parking and a trail to experience more Salmon River action. The third stage can be the Bill King Park, with its many trails and views of the river, including a bridge nearby for some unique head-on angles that cannot be gotten from the trails.
It all makes for a very fine photo outing that is not far from Malone itself.
Next on our list is the roadside spot is known as Everton Falls. They may not be particularly tall, but these falls are marvelously complex.
While there are views roadside, expanded views are accessible via a short hike. The trailhead is across a seasonal access road, and leads to the crest of the waterfall complex. Higher up from the main falls are a series of rapids, starting with a nice three-foot plunge.
The main waterfall splits around an island in the middle of the river. There are multiple steps on the near side, near the trail, and the far side plunges, unimpeded, about forty feet.
It's a great little hike with so many scenic possibilities.
St Regis Falls
The charming village of St. Regis Falls has a widely photographed pumphouse as part of their dam complex. There's a half-mile trail known as the St Regis River Loop which has beautiful views of the roaring river.
This village itself has a beach, playground, and dining opportunities. It's easy to spend a fun day here with the St Regis River providing backdrop for hiking and picture taking.
The dam and pumphouse are located on a side road, with a parking lot and bridge allowing views from three sides.
A trip to Burke Rocks offers an easy little hike and a long stretch of unusual water features.
This is a stretch of flat rocks that form a broad canvas of rapids and rock features. It's easy walking among the beautiful, multicolored, layers of sedimentary rocks that have been carved by the river.
To reach it, there's a short hike through the woods, and several access points to the rocks. It is amazing how, in the space of fifteen minutes, you can virtually "immerse" yourself in a very unique section of nature... and, fiften minutes later, emerge into Burke itself to get back into the modern world again.
split rock falls
Start with a drive along a seasonal road, to find the many lovely looks that can be had just a few steps down the hiking path for Split Rock Falls.
This is another long stretch of river that has been tumbled with wild rock formations. The falls are only a foot or two high, but they are lively and there are lots of them, along with wonderful scenery.
The hiking path is a personal favorite, a flat and easy riverside trail with wonderful river views that stretches to an hour or more of hiking if you explore all the twists and turns. This path also has a high incidence of the classic "it looked like a trail" that suddenly becomes not-a-trail. The best thing to do, always, is retrace your steps back to where you lost the real trail.
It always seems so obvious when you head back. The real trail pops up, wider and better defined.
I've saved the biggest for last. There are considerable stairs to reach it, and it opens late in the season, but Chateaugay Chasm is truly a splendid sight.
This waterfall cascades over multiple steps, and there is a giant wall of rock to the right for even more scenic possibilities. The base of the falls is paved with chunky rocks of varying sizes, so walk among them very carefully, and hold hands if necessary.
At the bottom is a rocky pool that flows into a river to the left, and going back up the stairs takes us to a riverside trail with occasional viewing platforms with benches for even more river views. The whole circuit takes about an hour, but whenever I go I spend much more time than that. I want to soak it all in, as the soothing roar of the falls looks different in as little as a quarter hour of time, since the sun is moving across the river. It creates a wide variety of lighting on the falls.
Photographers will want to park themselves here for a while to catch all the angles.
The stairs and trail are maintained by High Falls Park Campground, and there is a small fee charged for access.
This amazing natural feature has been celebrated since the founding of the town of Chateaugay, which was in 1796, making them the oldest town in the county. It was harnessed as a hydro-electic installation, and was once the site of an elaborate lodging complex, The Chasm House.
This hotel was built in 1863 and proved so popular that special trains were run to Chateaugay to handle the flow of visitors. It burned down in 1907 and the marvels of the Chateaugay Chasm were forgotten. It was only in recent years that it has been re-discovered by the public as the natural marvel that it is.
It's all part of a Great Day in Chateaugay.
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