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High Falls Conservation Area

Hudson Valley, New York

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High Falls Conservation Area

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  • The trailhead with an information kiosk.- High Falls Conservation Area
  • The information kiosk tells about history and the Columbia Land Trust, which owns and maintains the preserve.- High Falls Conservation Area
  • Bridge near the start of the trail. A small stream runs under the bridge and joins the Agawamuck Creek.- High Falls Conservation Area
  • A well-marked and well-maintained trail make for an easy and enjoyable hike.- High Falls Conservation Area
  • Three different trails make up the over 8-mile system.- High Falls Conservation Area
  • Ferns line most of the trails.- High Falls Conservation Area
  • Agawamuck Falls flows from the hillside just downstream from High Falls.- High Falls Conservation Area
  • High Falls in the distance. A short rock hop gets you there.- High Falls Conservation Area
  • High Falls, the 150-foot hidden gem. Swimmers are seen sunbathing next to the falls.- High Falls Conservation Area
  • Approaching the overlook on the upper trail.- High Falls Conservation Area
  • The overlook offers a view of the entire length of the falls. - High Falls Conservation Area
  • High Falls as seen through the trees at the overlook.- High Falls Conservation Area
  • Ferns are a dominant plant here.- High Falls Conservation Area
  • A dam further downstream from the main waterfall.- High Falls Conservation Area
  • A large parking lot next to the trailhead allows easy access.- High Falls Conservation Area
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Swimming. Fishing. Scenic waterfall. Hiking trails.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Hudson Valley, NY
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

The 47-acre High Falls Conservation area in Philmont, New York, is home to 8 miles of hiking trails and two large waterfalls that once powered numerous mills along the creek.

There are three trails that make up the system; Red, Blue and Green. The Green Trail will lead you to directly to the High Falls overlook, where the main waterfall can be viewed in its entirety. The Red Trail also leads there, although it is longer and includes a slight incline. The Blue Trail leads to the creek and both waterfalls.

Along the trails are benches for resting or viewing of the forest. A number of bird species, including the Pileated Woodpecker, can be seen (or heard).

At the base of High Falls is a large pool which is ideal for swimming and fishing. Swimmers are often seen jumping from the sides of the waterfall. Bass, perch and trout can be found in the waters along the creek.

In the 19th century, the Agawamuck Creek was the main power source for as many as 17 mills that lined its banks. A dam was built at the top of High Falls in 1845 to help harness its power and divert a portion of its flow to other mills. This diverted water forms Agawamuck Falls, the first waterfall visitors encounter when approaching High Falls from below.

As technologies advanced, these mills became obsolete and closed. Only a handful of buildings remain with no ruins found along the creek except another dam further downstream.

As hikers follow the trails, they’ll observe locust stands, maples and oaks along the forest. Logging was also once a dominant industry here, and these lands supplied much of the needed wood.

Philmont wasn’t always known as such; its original name was Factory Hill, no doubt due to the number of factories and mills throughout the town. The name was changed at a later date following the decline of the milling industry.

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