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Grass River's Rainbow Falls

Adirondacks, New York

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Grass River's Rainbow Falls

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  • The trailhead is not well marked. Keep an eye out for the boulders by the clearing.- Grass River's Rainbow Falls
  • The start of the walk to the falls.- Grass River's Rainbow Falls
  • Foliage after a gentle rain.- Grass River's Rainbow Falls
  • The trail is well worn.- Grass River's Rainbow Falls
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Grass River's Rainbow Falls
  • Spring beauties (Claytonia virginia).- Grass River's Rainbow Falls
  • A small footbridge crosses a narrow side channel.- Grass River's Rainbow Falls
  • The falls as seen from downstream.- Grass River's Rainbow Falls
  • Looking into the canyon and the falls.- Grass River's Rainbow Falls
  • Visitors can get very close to the falls.- Grass River's Rainbow Falls
  • Looking down from near the lip of the falls.- Grass River's Rainbow Falls
  • Crossing the small side channel.- Grass River's Rainbow Falls
  • The side channel has some nice cascades as well.- Grass River's Rainbow Falls
  • - Grass River's Rainbow Falls
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful waterfall. Other adventures nearby. Wildflowers.
Cons: 
None.
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Region:
Adirondacks, NY
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Rainbow Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in northern New York. The dark tannin-stained waters crash 35 feet over a broken bedrock slide and into a narrow gorge. The falls are accessed by a 0.3-mile walking path. Several other waterfalls on the Grass River are nearby, but this is by far the most scenic.

The pull-off to visit the falls is easy to miss, so keep a sharp eye out for the boulders and small clearing on the right side of the Tooley Pond Road 5.9 miles south of the intersection with County Route 27.

The footpath begins in a small clearing and quickly meanders through the woods passing wildflowers along the way. Red trillium (Trillium erectus) and spring beauty (Claytonia virginia) are especially common in early May. Just before the main falls, a small wooden footbridge crosses a narrow side channel. In the spring, this is worth a stop, as the cascade is quite scenic.

Continuing across the bridge, the footpath spiderwebs to various overlooks of the falls. Great views can be found from all over the river bank, but keep young children within reach as the river's edge is a sheer dropoff with no safety rails. Common viewpoints are from directly above the falls and from far downstream, looking up through the narrow canyon. The heavy mist from the falls causes vivid rainbows on sunny days.

Unfortunately, the swift currents both above and below the falls prevent this from being a swimming area. Sometimes, when the water is high, whitewater kayakers will make descents of the falls. This is a challenging Class V falls, and it should only be attempted by experts. Kayakers know this waterfall as Large Marge.

To return to the vehicle, simply retrace your steps along the footpath. If you haven't already, continue downstream to visit Twin Falls and Sinclair Falls, also accessed off the Tooley Pond Road.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(12 within a 30 mile radius)

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