The Cranberry Lake Waterfall Tour encompasses six easy-to-reach falls along a 20-mile drive. A couple of the waterfalls can be seen from the road, a couple require a short hike to reach, and one, Lampson Falls, is wheelchair accessible. The tour can be done in an afternoon, but it’s more fun to take an entire day so there’s time to fully enjoy each.
To start the tour, follow Route 3 west from Tupper Lake for about 35 miles, then turn right on Tooley Pond Road. This road is about a mile after Cranberry Lake and just before a bridge over the Oswegatchie River.
Use the descriptions below to guide you through the tour — parking for each waterfall isn't difficult to find if you know where to look. Please note that all driving distances are from the turnoff onto Tooley Pond Road.
Introducing the waterfalls
Some of the falls are quite dramatic, while others have a gentle slope — all are worth checking out!
Copper Rock Falls
At 8.25 miles, look for two signs nailed to a tree on the right side of the road. One is a yellow, State Forest Preserve sign and the other is a white sign with the name of the falls on it. There’s also a red paint blaze on the tree. This is the trailhead.
Park on the shoulder of the road and follow the trail, which quickly reaches the river. Turn right to go upstream and you’ll see the first of the falls about a half mile from the road. This is a great place to stop, but adventurous explorers can continue upstream to find a small gorge and more waterfalls.
At 11 miles, look on the left side of the road for a sign near three small boulders that are blocking a dirt road.
Park near the rocks and follow the dirt road through a lovely hardwood forest before descending to the river. A wooden bridge crosses the river to an island; just beyond that is the top of the falls, which plunge about 40 feet. The path can carefully be followed to the base of Rainbow Falls. This hike is about a half mile round trip.
At 13.8 miles you’ll come to the top of Twin Falls, which is just off the left side of the road. There are two options for parking. The first is the small pull off on the left — it’s marked by a “please do not litter” sign — but stopping here can be a little tricky as it’s located in a place where the road makes a sharp downhill bend to the right. Another option is to pass the parking area and park at the bottom of the hill, where there’s a wide shoulder and a nice view of the bottom of the falls.
At about 15 miles, turn left on Lake George Road and look for the small parking area on the right, just before the bridge. You can also pass Lake George Road and park in the large parking area on the left. Either way, a short walk through the woods brings you to the falls.
At 15.5 miles there’s a small boulder, a red post, and a sign for the falls on the left. Park here and follow the trail as it gently rises then descends to the river in about a half mile.
There’s a beautiful evergreen grove here that’s fun to explore, and the rocks next to Basford Falls provide plenty of room for lounging.
Tooley Pond ends at a T-intersection that’s about 17 miles from the Route 3 turnoff. Take a right here, and after 4.25 miles you’ll see a large DEC parking area for the Grass River Wild Forest on the left.
From the parking area, follow the smooth, wide trail for about a half mile to the enormous Lampson Falls. There is a gentle ramp designed for wheelchairs that ends at an excellent overlook for viewing the 100-foot falls. A narrow footpath continues to the base of the waterfall, where there is an idyllic, sandy cove and plenty of large rocks to picnic on and explore.