While New York is home to many towering waterfalls, some of my personal favorites to visit are the smaller ones that have a lot of unique character. The waterfall in the Hannacroix Creek Preserve is one such spot.
The Hannacroix Creek Preserve is located about halfway between New Baltimore and Coeymans in Greene County, New York. It is also only a 20-25 minute drive from downtown Albany, making it one of the best waterfalls to visit near the city.
This 113-acre preserve protects a section of land along the Hannacroix Creek near where it enters the Hudson River. There are a series of trails here that allow you to explore the property, with the highlight being Hannacroix Creek Falls.
Parking for the Hannacroix Creek Preserve
While there are two trailheads shown on the preserve’s map, there appears to only be one parking area (the other trailhead is in a residential area with no real parking lot).
This lot is located off of South Main Street (Route 144) sandwiched, like the entire preserve, between I-87 and the western bank of the Hudson River. It can be found at the following coordinates: 42.462855, -73.791748.
There is a short gravel road that leads to a rather large gravel parking lot that has room for a dozen or so vehicles.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]
Hiking to the Waterfall in Hannacroix Creek Preserve
The waterfall on Hannacroix Creek is located a 0.7-mile hike away from the parking area, making for a roundtrip hike of 1.4 miles. This is not an overly difficult hike, though there is a bit of elevation gain and loss as you cross up and over the ridgeline, and the area around the waterfall has some tricky footing if you want to get a good look at it.
From the parking area, follow the Irving Trail, which is the wide and obvious trail at the end of the parking lot next to the information sign. Make sure to take a photo of the preserve’s map before you leave so you don’t get turned around on the trails.
The Irving Trail immediately heads uphill, gaining most of its elevation within the first few hundred yards right at the beginning of the hike. Once atop the hill, it levels out as you continue to get closer to the waterfall.
After hiking for about three-tenths of a mile, you’ll pass a turn-off on your left for the Red Loop and, just after that, you’ll come to a three-way trail split.
If you head to the right, you’ll be on the North Trail. It is said that there are two overlooks along this trail, but I hiked down it to the first (at a wooden platform not far from the trail split) and there was basically no view. That being said, it might be nice when there are no leaves on the trees.
The trails to the left and straight ahead loop around to reconnect with each other a short distance down the trail. That means that you can take either trail and you’ll end up at the same spot.
The trail to the left is the continuation of the Irving Trail and is a bit less steep than the Blue Trail, which goes straight. I opted to take the Irving Trail to the waterfall and then hike the Blue Trail on the way back, but both trails lead to the same spot and are roughly the same length.
Whichever trail you take, after about two-tenths of a mile from the trail split, both come together after having headed downhill to the level of the creek.
Once at the creek’s level, continue heading upstream. This hike along Hannacroix Creek is quite beautiful and you’ll see several tiny waterfalls as you approach the main drop.
Before you get there, however, you’ll pass the ruins of the Croswell-Parsons Paper Mill. This mill was in operation from 1826 until 1897, and even though only the foundation of the building remains adjacent to the creek, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
While there isn’t much to see here, it’s still a point of interest worth taking a moment to check out.
From the dam ruins, it’s only a few steps to Hanncroix Creek Falls. Just make sure to stay to the right along the creek at the trail split near the mill and you can’t miss it.
Hannacroix Creek Falls is quite a beautiful waterfall because of the multiple streams of water flowing over the rock face. This is definitely a waterfall that I feel would lose a lot of character if water levels were especially high.
For those that hike with coordinates, the waterfall can be found here: 42.459160, -73.800781.
The waterfall is only about 10 feet in height but spans the entire 70-80 foot length of the creek. During my visit, there were four main streams of water across the creek separated by the waterfall’s unique rock formations.
There are a variety of viewing areas where you can see the waterfall from including near its crest, near its base, and on a rock ledge overlooking the waterfall. Unfortunately, none of these are overly easy to reach but none are overly difficult either.
Just don’t expect to walk right up and have a great view of the entire waterfall without a bit of work.
Once you’ve finished enjoying this beautiful spot, it’s a 0.7-mile hike back to your vehicle following the same route you took on your way to the waterfall (unless you want to complete the other half of the small loop I mentioned earlier).
Ultimately, I really enjoyed this beautiful hike through the Hannacroix Creek Preserve. While the waterfall isn’t as large as some of the others you’ll find in the Catskills, it’s incredibly scenic, and the fact that it can be seen via a short and relatively easy hike makes this a spot I definitely recommend checking out.
For more information, visit the New Baltimore Conservancy’s website.