There are many impressive waterfalls in the Adirondacks, but few, if any combine such impressiveness with also being easy to reach like Roaring Brook Falls.
Roaring Brook Falls is located in the Keene Valley of the eastern Adirondacks. At approximately 300 feet in height, this is said to be the tallest waterfall in the region that can be seen from the road. However, for those that want a closer look, you can also walk to the base or the top of this incredible waterfall.
The hike to Roaring Brook Falls starts from a parking area located along Route 73. This is the parking lot not just for the hike to the waterfall but is also a popular spot to ascend Giant Mountain, one of the High Peaks in the park.
The first recorded ascent of Giant Mountain occurred in June 1797, making it the first of the High Peaks to be officially climbed. Today, there are three trails that head to the top of this mountain, one of which starts at the same parking lot as the Roaring Brook Trail.
While the hike to the peak of the mountain is roughly 3.5 miles, you only have to hike a fraction of that to enjoy this beautiful waterfall.
From the parking area, there is one trailhead that heads to all three destinations.
From the parking lot, the trail winds its way flatly through the woods for 0.1 miles before it splits in two. If you want to head to the top of the waterfall (or to the mountain peak), take the trail uphill to the left.
From the trail split, the top of the waterfall is a half-mile hike with a 350 elevation gain. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to complete that portion of the hike this time, but it seems fairly straight forward from everything I’ve seen.
However, I did have time to hike to the base of Roaring Brook Falls, which is a fairly easy hike of 0.2 miles from the trail split.
This trail passes through a beautiful section of woodland and while there are a few small rises and dips, it should be doable for anyone that is capable of tackling uneven terrain as there is only about 100 feet of elevation gain.
The trail ends at the edge of Roaring Brook. This is a fairly small stream that, to be honest, isn’t really roaring for much of the year.
If the waterway is relatively calm, you can get the best views of the base of Roaring Brook Falls from the rocks on the far side of the stream. However, use caution as wet rocks can be slippery, and don’t attempt to cross if water levels are high.
From near the base of the waterfall, the rock wall that it falls off of towers 300 feet into the sky; a truly impressive sight. Unfortunately, you can’t see the upper reaches of the waterfall from here, so it does take a bit away from the impressiveness of the waterfall itself.
The bottom of the waterfall crashes down a series of rocks and is usually fairly skinny. Despite this, it’s still a really great spot to visit.
To return to your car, simply retrace your steps back the way you came.
It’s worth noting that the openness of the forest in this area makes it a little difficult to figure out exactly where the trail is on the return trip. However, since you are sandwiched between the road/creek and the mountain, there isn’t much worry about getting lost here.
In addition to hiking to Roaring Brook Falls, it’s well worth taking the time to see the waterfall from the road. Not only does this provide an easy option for seeing this waterfall, but this also probably provides the best view of the waterfall.
The roadside viewing area for Roaring Brook Falls can be found near the top of the hill a third of a mile south of the parking area (turn left when leaving the parking area).
This wide parking area is located along the shoulder on the northeastern side of the road, the same side on which you’ll find the waterfall. From here, you can see the top of the waterfall, as well as most of the way to its base.
While the waterfall is in the distance, you can really get a good feel for how tall and majestic this waterfall is.
Overall, Roaring Brook Falls is a spot that should be on the list of any waterfall lovers visiting the Adirondacks. It’s not only one of the most impressive waterfalls in the region, but there are several great and easy ways to see it.
How to Get to Roaring Brook Falls
Roaring Brook Falls is located in the Keene Valley in the eastern Adirondacks.
The parking area is located along Route 73 at the following coordinates: 44.150387, -73.767696.
This lot is located 7.5 miles north of exit 30 on I-87. If coming from Lake Placid, it’s a 30-minute drive to the parking lot.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t an overly large lot and can fill up on busy days as many also use this area to hike to the top of Giant Mountain. If this lot is full, there is another lot directly across the street.
Don’t park along the road here as I’ve heard they are quite persistent with enforcing the “No Parking” signs.
From the parking lot, hike a third of a mile to the base of the falls or two-thirds of a mile to the top of the waterfall.
To see Roaring Brook Falls from the road, head south on Route 73 for a third of a mile. The overlook can be found at the following coordinates: 44.149172, -73.763161.
If you are approaching Roaring Brook Falls from the south, you will get to the overlook before you reach the parking area for the trail.
While in the area, it’s also worth checking out Split Rock Falls, which is located only about 10 minutes away.
Looking for more places to visit nearby? Check out Ausable Chasm, High Falls Gorge, Auger Falls, and the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]