New York is filled with many towering waterfalls, but sometimes the smaller ones are just as beautiful and worth visiting. Hart’s Falls in St. Lawrence County is one such waterfall.
Hart’s Falls is the focal point of the Hart’s Falls Preserve near the communities of Pyrites and Hermon, New York. This 33-acre preserve was created in 2015 when the land was donated to the St. Lawrence Land Trust.
Today, visitors can walk on a short trail through the fields and forests of the preserve to Hart’s Falls and the ruins of a mill that is located just downstream.
From the parking area, a single trail leads towards the waterfall. This appears to be an old road, and while it is overgrown in places, it’s easy to follow and a path is being formed.
For roughly a quarter-mile, this trail hugs the edge of the forest and the field. After 5-7 minutes of walking, you’ll come to a wooden boardwalk that passes over an area that is oftentimes marshy.
Just after the boardwalk, look for a trail to your right that heads into the woods. While this trail isn’t marked, it’s an obvious trail and is also easy to follow.
After just a couple of minutes, this trail deposits you along the edge of the Grasse River near Hart’s Falls.
Hart’s Falls is located in a narrow and rocky part of the river. In fact, it’s amazing how narrow the river is at this point given how wide it is just downstream of the waterfall.
This narrowing of the river means that Hart’s Falls is very powerful, so use caution around the edge of the river, especially if the smooth rocks here are wet. They can get very slippery.
Hart’s Fall is only about 8-10 feet in total height over two main drops, but this is still an incredibly beautiful spot to enjoy.
Surrounding the waterfall, at least when water levels are normal, is a large rock outcropping. What I found most interesting about this area was the many potholes that had been naturally carved in the rock by the waterfall.
Because of these unique rock formations, this is actually a great waterfall to visit when water levels are lower, which is in contrast to most other waterfalls in New York.
Just downstream of the waterfall, the Grasse River opens up significantly as it heads down towards a dam in Pyrites. It would be interesting to know how much of this area is now flooded because of the dam, but it’s still an incredibly beautiful sight to see.
Before leaving the area, take time to check out the ruins of Hart’s Mill just downstream from the waterfall on the same side of the river as you hiked on.
This mill was likely built sometime just after the Civil War by a local veteran Horace Hart. Hart built a mill just downstream of the waterfall and used the flowing Grasse River to power it.
Today, it’s still possible to see a roughly 8-foot stone wall that was part of his mill, as well as other foundations around the site. Without a doubt, this is an interesting piece of history that is worth checking out while you are exploring this beautiful area.
While Hart’s Falls might not be the largest or most impressive waterfall in northern New York, it’s still an incredibly scenic spot and worth the short 1/2-mile roundtrip hike to see.
If you find yourself exploring the northern part of the Thousand Islands’ region, don’t miss this beautiful preserve.
How to Get to Hart’s Falls
Hart’s Falls is located in Hart’s Falls Preserve in St. Lawrence County, NY.
The parking area for the preserve can be found at the following coordinates along Pyrites Russell Road: 44.504289, -75.164906.
There is a small dirt lot next to a small informational sign for cars to park. There is also room along the road if the parking area is full, but make sure you pull off enough so you aren’t blocking the road.
To the left of the information sign, there is a gated path. Follow this path (which appears to be an old road of some kind) until you reach the end of the short boardwalk. From there, turn right into the woods and, after a few hundred feet, you’ll be at Hart’s Falls.
For those that use coordinates, Hart’s Falls can be found here: 44.502566, -75.168745