High Falls (Chateaugay)

Adirondacks / Chateaugay / Malone, New York, USA

About High Falls (Chateaugay)


Hiking Distance: 1.5 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2013-10-10
Date last visited: 2013-10-10

Waterfall Latitude: 44.90978
Waterfall Longitude: -74.08656

The High Falls on the Chateaugay River impressed us with its three- or four-tiered 120ft drop as it progressively fanned out the further it dropped.

Since we decided to drive from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to Albany, New York as part of our Adirondacks leg of the trip, we thought this was a pretty convenient excursion.

High_Falls_Chateaugay_039_10102013 - High Falls on the Chateaugay River with Autumn colors
High Falls on the Chateaugay River with Autumn colors

It was the very first thing we did after re-entering the US through the Cornwall border station.

With this section of the Northern Adirondacks fairly developed with rural farmlands, the High Falls felt like it was in a pocket of nature amidst these agricultural developments.

That said, this waterfall was privately run so we had to pay a very modest $2 per person entrance fee (as of October 2013) before making our visit.

Experiencing the High Falls on the Chateaugay River

After paying our fee (and letting our daughter finish playing with the local dog Chelsea), we walked out the back of the welcome center and into what looked like a little putting course.

High_Falls_Chateaugay_003_10102013 - The miniature putting greens set up in the back of the welcome center for the High Falls Park
The miniature putting greens set up in the back of the welcome center for the High Falls Park

Then, we proceeded onto the short trail to the base where we encountered a fork in the trail.

Going right at this fork led towards the top of the High Falls on the Chateaugay River.

However, it didn’t look like this path was really meant for visitor traffic as there wasn’t much of a view of the waterfall from there.

The going got a little rougher and steeper the closer to the falls we got.

But by the time we made it to the end of this spur, we noticed from here that High Falls was actually regulated as there looked to be some dam infrastructure just upstream of the drop of the falls.

High_Falls_Chateaugay_007_10102013 - Looking down towards some kind of dam contraption above the High Falls from the upper trail
Looking down towards some kind of dam contraption above the High Falls from the upper trail

Back at the trail junction, we then took the left fork, where the trail skirted part of what looked to be a fairly large RV park before the trail went downhill.

Towards the end of the initial long-stepped descent, we were able to get a look at the impressive High Falls in full context (including hints of the dam infrastructure upstream of it).

After getting our fill of this initial look at the falls, we then followed a narrower trail.

It initially skirted some cliffs before descending some narrow wooden steps headed right down to the plunge pool of the falls.

High_Falls_Chateaugay_025_10102013 - Looking down at the High Falls on the Chateaugay River from high up on the trail leading to its base
Looking down at the High Falls on the Chateaugay River from high up on the trail leading to its base

Given the steepness of the terrain and how high up the stairs were compared to some parts of the underlying cliff, we definitely felt that our $2 admission was a fair price.

After all, we had to consider how much harder (and more dangerous) the trail would have been without these stairs.

We also had to be wary of some poison ivy overgrowth onto the narrow stairs.

Once we were at the base of the stairs, there was a bench that allowed us to take in the High Falls from across the plunge pool.

High_Falls_Chateaugay_030_10102013 - Context of Julie and Tahia about to go down the steep steps leading to the base of the High Falls on the Chateaugay River
Context of Julie and Tahia about to go down the steep steps leading to the base of the High Falls on the Chateaugay River

There was also additional remnants of hydro infrastructure on the far left side of the plunge pool, which further reinforced to us how this waterfall might have served a purpose before becoming a tourist attraction.

In addition, we noticed some side light from the early morning sun during our visit, which didn’t quite fully penetrate the shadowy falls.

As a result, I’d imagine that this might be more of an early afternoon waterfall if we were seeking the best possible natural light for photos.

Overall, we spent a little over an hour doing both the hike and the photographing.

High_Falls_Chateaugay_050_10102013 - Making it down to the base of the High Falls on the Chateaugay River
Making it down to the base of the High Falls on the Chateaugay River

On the way back up, Julie and Tahia went straight to the playground at the entrance of the RV park, which was our daughter’s reward for being able to do this hike with us without a child carrier.

Authorities

High Falls on the Chateaugay River resides in the High Falls Park Campground near Plattsburgh in Franklin County, New York. It is administered by the High Falls Park Campground. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

High_Falls_Chateaugay_008_10102013 - The area around High Falls was forested like this as we made our way to get closer to the waterfall
High_Falls_Chateaugay_009_10102013 - The trail to the bottom of High Falls then skirted the RV park before descending further to the right
High_Falls_Chateaugay_011_10102013 - Descending the long steps leading down towards the base of High Falls
High_Falls_Chateaugay_023_10102013 - Looking down towards the High Falls on the Chateaugay River as we were about to get to the steep part of the descent to its base
High_Falls_Chateaugay_032_10102013 - Some poison ivy overgrowth around the narrow wooden steps to the base of High Falls
High_Falls_Chateaugay_035_10102013 - At the base of High Falls where Julie and Tahia chilled out on the bench with the view across the plunge pool
High_Falls_Chateaugay_041_10102013 - Zoomed in look at the three bottom drops of High Falls in long exposure
High_Falls_Chateaugay_059_10102013 - A more direct and long exposed view of the High Falls on the Chateaugay River as seen from across the plunge pool just as the late morning sun was working against us
High_Falls_Chateaugay_060_10102013 - A more direct look at High Falls in long exposure showing the steep gorge walls surrounding it
High_Falls_Chateaugay_067_10102013 - After having our fill of the High Falls, it was time to climb back up the stairs leading up to the top of the gorge
High_Falls_Chateaugay_069_10102013 - Passing back through the RV Park at High Falls Park on the way back to our car
High_Falls_Chateaugay_070_10102013 - The playground that our daughter played in while she and Mommy waited for me to catch up

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To drive to High Falls on the Chateaugay River from the Cornwall Border Station heading south (105km or 90 minutes drive southeast of Ottawa), we turned left onto Route 37 due east.

We then followed Hwy 37 for about 5 miles until we made a right turn onto Hwy 95 (though we could’ve stayed on Hwy 37 all the way to Malone).

We then followed Hwy 95 for just under 5 miles towards the village of Bombay where we continued straight ahead onto the Bombay-Westville Road (instead of turning right to stay on Hwy 95).

High_Falls_Chateaugay_073_10102013 - Looking back at the parking lot for the High Falls Park and Campground
Looking back at the parking lot for the High Falls Park and Campground

After almost another 8 miles, we turned right to rejoin the Hwy 37 due south.

At about a mile, we then turned left to go onto Hwy 122, and we followed Hwy 122 for another 10 miles.

Then, we continued to go straight on Hwy 11 for the next 5 miles.

At that point, we followed the sign and turned right onto Cemetery Road (note the village of Chateaugay was another mile east of this turnoff).

Next, we followed Cemetery Road for the next 1.3 miles (there was a three-way intersection after a mile where we turned left) where the turnoff for High Falls Park was on the left.

High_Falls_Chateaugay_001_10102013 - Looking towards the welcome center at High Falls Park from the parking lot
Looking towards the welcome center at High Falls Park from the parking lot

We then followed the turnoff right to the large parking space and welcome center with the words “High Falls Park” painted on the roof of the welcome center.

Another way to go from Chateaugay town was to go south on Hwy 374, then turn right onto Pulpmill Rd.

Then, we’d turn right onto Cemetery Rd where shortly thereafter, there would be the turnoff for High Falls Park.

Just to give you a sense of context, Chateaugay was 196 miles north of Albany and 55 miles southwest of Montreal.

Zoomed in top down sweep showing the dam above the falls, then panning to the bottom before zooming back out again


360 degree sweep from within the gorge, then a zoomed in bottom up sweep of the falls before finally zooming back out again

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Tagged with: adirondacks, chateaugay, malone, franklin county, new york, upstate, waterfall, cornwall, border station, rv park



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
Read More About Johnny | A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls.