The Raquette Falls Trail is one of the most popular Adirondack backcountry ski routes in winter, and a wonderful hiking route along the river in summer.
Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
This trail is not groomed.
The trail to Raquette Falls is a wide, multi-use trail that follows the east side of Raquette River, the second longest in New York, for over 4 miles. Hikers can view the lovely Lower Falls from a side trail off the canoe carry route. This trail leads to some of the most remote sections of the Adirondacks.
How to Get There
From the intersection of Routes 3 and 30 in Tupper Lake (by Stewarts convenience store), follow Route 3 east for 7.9 miles to a right turn onto Coreys Road. If traveling from the east, follow Route 3 west for 12.5 miles from the intersection of Route 3 and Main Street in Saranac Lake. Continue on Coreys Road for 2.7 miles to the Raquette Falls Trailhead parking lot on the right.
The wide 4.3 mile trail begins in coniferous forest habitat and transitions to mixed forest for most of the hike, then transitions back to boreal habitat near the falls. There are several wetland areas along the trail, and occasional views of the Raquette River. A few hills are encountered in the latter half of the hike, but not overly steep. The trail ends at the intersection of several trails. Heading right takes a hiker to the shore of the river at the canoe put-in, and heading left takes you to the seasonal ranger outpost and a trail to Dawson Pond. Heading straight is the 1.25 mile canoe carry trail. Just a short distance up the carry trail is the side trail on the right to the scenic Lower Falls. The foot trail continues past the Lower Falls on rocky, and at times, steep terrain to meet the canoe carry trail at its start. A hiker can do a loop of these trails if desired, but it adds 2.5 more miles of hiking.
Ranges up and down from 1565 feet to 1815 feet.
4.3 miles to the Lower Falls
Time Round Trip
Family with Young Kids: Not recommended for very young children
Experienced Skier: 2 hours to the Lower Falls
Out of Shape Skier: 2.5 hours to the Lower Falls
Raquette Falls is much more popular as a ski trail, but it does get a bit of use during non-snow months. From the trailhead you will enter the woods on a wide trail which continues all the way through to the DEC outpost. The trail flows over undulating hills with scenic views out over the Raquette River. There are a couple short steep descents that bring you back down to the river’s edge just shy of the DEC outpost.
At the DEC outpost there are three trails. Right leads down to the canoe launch and are part of the Canoe Carry and the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Left leads over to Dawson Pond, where the trail is very hard to locate.
Straight leads to the falls, which is about 0.25 miles away. Start on a forest road and then take a right onto a narrow foot trail.
Hikers can continue past the Lower Falls on a trail with rough, and at times, steep terrain along the Raquette River to the junction with the canoe carry trail. To add this hiking loop would require about 2.5 more miles of hiking. The total round trip distance would be just over 11 miles.
The narrow foot trail can be a bit slippery with odd footing and steep drops to the river, so take your time and be careful especially with young children.
From the intersection of Route 30 and Route 3 in Tupper Lake follow Route 3/30 toward Saranac Lake. Continue To Coreys Road on the right. Follow Coreys Road for 2.6 miles to the trailhead parking lot on the right.
Distance Round Trip
Elevation Gain or Loss
Time Round Trip
Family with Young Kids: 4 to 5 hours
Experienced Hiker: 3 to 4 hoursOut of Shape Hiker: 4 to 5 hours
Most of the trail is also a horse trail, although it does not seem to receive much horse traffic.
A canoe carry trail leads to the upper end of the rapids. Side trails lead to points on the river.
There are several lean-to locations along the Raquette River which can be accessed from the trail for camping.
This river and forest trail is home to many arboreal birds, with many varieties of warbler. The old woods road ends at a grassy clearing that is near the rapids and final cascade.