Last Updated on March 14, 2020 by Lori
We love waterfalls and were absolutely in awe of those we saw at High Falls Gorge during our trip to the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Mountains in New York.
High Falls Gorge features four beautiful waterfalls cascading over rocks with walkways, trails, bridges and two glass floor walkways to safely view the falls. It definitely should be on your “Must See” list when visiting the Lake Placid area!
High Falls Gorge, Wilmington, NY
Where is High Falls Gorge?
High Falls Gorge is located in Wilmington, New York just a short drive from Lake Placid and only one (1) mile from the entrance to Whiteface Mountain.
We loved our visit to High Falls Gorge because there was so much to see and do in the area! We traveled to the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack Mountains with our travel trailer and was so happy that we decided to stay in the Wilmington area!
Related Reading: Here’s a 4-Day Itinerary of The Best Places To Visit in the Adirondack Mountains!
What You Will See At High Falls Gorge
High Falls Gorge is actually a deep crevice carved by the Ausable River a billion years ago. Native Americans once called High Falls Gorge “The Ancient Valley of Foaming Water.”
The falls and trails are located on 22 acres and are open year-round. The park is privately owned and therefore receives no federal or state funding to preserve the natural beauty of the area or to help maintain the walkways and paths which allow visitors to view the falls year-round.
The 2020 Summer entrance fees (May-October) are $13.00 for Adults/$10.00 for Children ages 4-12 (plus tax). Winter rates (November-April) are $14.50 for Adults/$10.50 for Children (ages 4-12) plus tax.
There is also Snowshoe Package which includes a day pass to waterfalls, snowshoes, and snowshoe trail admission $26.50 Adults/$16.50 Children (ages 4-12) plus tax.
Also note ** High Falls Gorge does not allow pets.
Check the High Falls Gorge website for days and times as it varies from season to season.
You will enter this cute gift shop (where we purchased awesome mugs), to pay for your ticket.
There is also the River View Cafe which not only has food, but also New York craft beer and wine.
***Tip*** Ask at the desk for your FREE area map of things to do in the Adirondacks!!
The map includes all the things to do, places to see, restaurants, etc. that you will want to have. It is FREE but you have to ASK for it. It’s on the wall right behind the counter.
Luckily, I had read this tip somewhere prior to our trip and knew to ask for it before we left. So happy we had that map!
After paying for your day pass, you will cross a bridge over the Ausable River.
I think what amazed me about our entire trip to the Adirondacks was the beautiful views everywhere you looked!
After crossing the river, you have the choice of taking the Waterfall Trail (a half-mile loop of stairs and walkways) or the Easy Path which is a 1/4 pathway taking you to the center of the Gorge without stairs.
We, of course, took the stairs!
Just remember – after you climb down the stairs…you climb back up! Sorry…I’m just kidding…the stairs weren’t really THAT bad!
However, that being said, if you have trouble walking up and downstairs, I strongly suggest taking the “Easy Path” to the main part of the gorge.
There are four (4) falls to see at High Falls Gorge: Rainbow Falls, Climax Falls, Mini Falls, and the Main Falls. One million gallons of water flow through the gorge every day!
Here is the first of five (5) viewing platforms providing an awesome photo op!
Another reason we loved High Falls Gorge is the informational signs telling visitors about the history of the park, interesting tidbits about the area, foliage and trees that you see.
As you continue along the Waterfall Walk you will learn more about how the Master Pothole and the Porridge Potholes have been formed by the rushing water.
The views from the bridge over the falls are incredible! Just being up that high was very cool.
High Falls Gorge Nature Trail Hike
After completing the Waterfall Walk, we decided to take the one (1) mile Intermediate Nature Trail.
Once again, I was SO happy I wore my hiking boots and brought my backpack with a couple of water bottles! The trail was nothing like I expected – a little more advanced that what I envisioned.
Do you see where it says “Uneven Surfaces and Steep Inclines”?
Yep…I shoulda known. It was definitely and Intermediate Trail!
But…I Made it!!! Thanks of course to my husband who had to pull me up the hill a few times!
We loved the hike though! It was very quiet through the woods.
You had to make sure you followed the signs on the trees which guided you as to the direction to take.
You can see from this photo…sometimes the direction you were supposed to take was not clearly visible!
This photo shows a better trail through the woods.
While the Nature Hike was definitely a challenge – we were so happy we did it! We took our time and made it to the Ausable River.
At the end of the trail, there are comfy Adirondack Chairs where you can sit by the river and rest or eat a picnic lunch!
When we returned to the gift shop I told the young lady the Nature Trail seemed much longer than a mile…and she smiled and said, “It’s an Adirondack mile!”
5 Tips For Your Visit to High Falls Gorge
1. Bring along bottles of water.
Even if you don’t take the Nature Trail, the Waterfall Trail and even the Easy Path is will take you at least an hour. It can be very hot and humid during the summer.
2. Wear Sturdy Shoes. I recommend wearing Hiking Boots if you want to take the Nature Trail.
You will feel more confident climbing all the stairs and walking along the paths if you wear sturdy shoes and not flip flops. They won’t let you go on the Nature Trail wearing flip flops, and I highly recommend wearing hiking boots for the Nature Trail.
3. Ask for the Free “Discovery Map” of the Adirondacks & Lake Placid at the ticket counter.
On one side is the map of all the places to see and things to do in the Adirondacks and the other side is a map of all the places you won’t want to miss in Lake Placid.
4. Bring a picnic lunch to eat at the tables along the Ausable River. You can also order food at the River View Cafe and take it out to the tables to eat.
5. Take your time and enjoy the views!
Have you ever been to High Falls Gorge? If so, did you take the Nature Trail?
I’d love to hear about it!