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Hiking at High Falls Gorge

With so much to see and so much to do in the Adirondacks, fitting it all into your schedule can be a little difficult. For spectacular payoff in just one-half an easily accessible mile, High Falls Gorge must be added to your itinerary.

Published: 08/12/2016
High Falls Gorge in Wilmington NY during the fall season

I suppose you can say I'm a bit of a Romantic.

That is to say, I am a Romantic with a capital "R"; the 19th Century American writers who embraced the exciting potential for our new and exciting continent and inspired the exploration of the American wilderness for the sake of experience over profit. Me? I'm only a bit of a Romantic. I'm not really a camper, I'm a glamper (Troop Beverly Hills style) but I am crazy-go-nuts for incredible vistas and sharing that with someone else. In my book, there is nothing better. So when I have family or friends visit (and I have a lot of family) I always, without question or fail, bring them to High Falls Gorge.

Among Native Americans, the gorge was called "the Ancient Valley of the Foaming Water" and by 1890 High Falls Gorge was known as an incredible sightseeing destination and visitors traversed a precariously hung rope bridge across the falls for a glimpse of the first waterfall. These days, visitors can take in all four waterfalls up close from a series of steel catwalks, bridges and staircases set into the cliffs themselves, feat of engineering that allows you to safely experience the rush from a remarkable perspective. It is also a place to learn about how waterfalls like these are formed and what you are actually looking at, from the falls, to the potholes (not the ones killing your car's suspension) to the trees and plant life.

Fun Fact

If High Falls Gorge looks familiar to you, you may recognize it from HBO's hit series Succession as the "place-based learning" hike attended by Tom Wambsgans in season 2 episode 6 "Argestes".

What Makes High Falls Gorge Different

When I mentioned I was going to High Falls Gorge today to a co-worker, he admitted he'd never been. "Never been?" Never been. His reason: you can see waterfalls all over the Adirondacks. Well, that's true. But you can't see them like this, from every angle, you can't follow them down from start to finish. And you can't get to them quite as quickly as you can High Falls Gorge - almost immediately. You can spend an hour at the falls, or you can spend all day exploring the falls and trails of the High Falls Gorge grounds.

Great for adults?

Absolutely. I've been to High Falls Forge four times and each time is absolutely breathtaking. Next visit? Winter snowshoeing at High Falls Gorge.

Great for children?

My two-year-old cousin loved it! Do keep in mind that you are walking across catwalks (albeit very stable catwalks) so do keep your child with you at all times.

Great for grandparents?

If you would enjoy a 30-minute walk and a few flights of stairs, this is a great spot to spend time with the grandkids without being concerned you'll wear out before they do.

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