Rick Brockway: On second thought, do go chasing waterfalls

I started out writing about the magnificent waterfalls that dot the landscape of this beautiful state, but realized that most of you will never walk three or four miles back into the wilderness just to see some water flow over the rocks above. Still, I didn’t want to cover those famous ones like Niagara Falls or Letchworth State Park. So that led me to those beautiful cascading waters that can almost be seen from the front seat of your car.

Now I did say front seat, but one of the best in the Catskills is an easy ¾ mile walk along a newly constructed trail. Kaaterskill Falls is off Route 23A near Haines Falls. It is actually a series of two falls where water drops 260 feet to the rocks below. These falls were sacred to the Mohicans who inhabited this area centuries ago; they believed it was the final resting place of their creator. Never attempt to visit the falls on weekends, though, there are just too many people and parking is limited. Besides, the trail is temporarily closed due to the virus.

Certainly in the spring, when the water is high, viewing these waterfalls is best. One of my favorite areas is down Route 42 from Boiseville. There are a couple beautiful waterfalls that run off Peakamoose Mountain. These are visible right from the front seat of your Chevy.

Closer to home is Mine Kill Falls on Route 30 near Blenheim. It is an 80-foot cascade visible from the road or from a nearby parking area.

North of Utica, just upstream from Poland, is Trenton Falls on the West Canada Creek. The area is closed to the public except for Columbus Day Weekend, when the power company opens the area for a short walk along the falls. It’s an event that you shouldn’t miss.

Some of the best waterfalls are found near Ithaca. Taughannock Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains at 215 feet. The falls are a short walk from the parking area.

Chittenango State Park is home to a 167-foot series of waterfalls near Cazenovia. You can view the falls from the top, or take a winding trail into the gorge and see the beautiful falls from a foot bridge over the creek.

When I was young, I was taken to the Adirondack Mountains to fish the Au Sable River near Lake Placid. As we left the Northway and headed toward Keene Valley, the road passed Giant Mountain. There on the side of the mountain was Roaring Brook in all its glory. It’s a beautiful site as it cascades hundreds of feet down the rocky cliffs.

Let’s face it. There are hundreds of beautiful waterfalls in the Adirondacks. No matter what road you take, you’ll see them. Every river and stream has its share, but there are two others that come to mind. The problem is, you can’t see them from any highway, yet they are well worth the hike.

The highest waterfall in New York is T Lake Falls. There are two ways to get there and neither are for the faint of heart. You can go into the wilderness on a several-mile herd path from Piseco Lake, but you can’t see over the crescent-shaped rock to see the bottom. Some who have tried have died plunging off the slippery rocks. It is estimated that the falls are between 400 and 500 feet high. The other option is a 10-mile round trip hike to the bottom of the falls from the end of Mountain Home Road on Route 8 near Noblesboro. The trouble is, it is difficult to see the falls once the leaves are on the trees.

A favorite of mine is a six-mile round trip hike to OK Slip Falls. Until 2014 this 200-foot beauty was on private land and not open to the public. In 2013, the land was purchased from Finch Paper Company and a trail was constructed from Route 28 near Indian Lake. It is a pleasant hike and well worth the effort.

Okay… I ventured away from my car by a few miles here or there, but my mind just kept wandering to those wonderful places in the wilderness. I’ll try to do better the next time.

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