During my travels around the state, I’ve had a chance to check out many fabulous waterfalls near Albany, NY.
While this part of the state isn’t as well-known for waterfalls as spots like the Finger Lakes, there are some incredible waterfalls an hour or less from the capital city of New York. In fact, two of the waterfalls I picked for my list of the 10 best waterfalls in New York are on this list below.
So, take a look at the spots near Albany below, and plan your next waterfall adventure!
At 1,000 feet wide and as tall as 90 feet in height, Cohoes Falls is a massively impressive waterfall near Albany that is definitely worth the 15-minute drive north of the city to check out.
Located along the Mohawk River shortly before it flows into the Hudson, Cohoes Falls spans the width of the river and is only broken by a power plant that diverts some of this water to make electricity for the region.
There are several viewing areas from which you can check out this spot. However, during the warmer months of the year, your best bet is to head to the observation deck set up next to the power plant for close views of the waterfall.
If water levels are low enough, you can even walk down a staircase to river level to get an even closer view of this majestic spot.
Indian Ladder Trail in Thacher State Park
John Boyd Thacher State Park is located in Albany County about 30 minutes west of the city, and there are two incredible waterfalls along the park’s Indian Ladder Trail.
These two waterfalls, Minelot Falls and Outlet Falls, look strikingly similar as they both flow in a plunging sheet off of the rock face high above. There is even a small cave behind both and great views of the valley from the base of the waterfalls.
Both of these waterfalls, as well as some incredible views and interesting rock formations, can be seen on a one-mile hike, making this one of the best waterfall hikes in the Capital Region.
Without question, Kaaterskill Falls is one of the most majestic waterfalls in New York, and it has been an inspiration for artists for hundreds of years. In fact, if you only have time to visit one waterfall south of Albany, make it this one. And, at only an hour from the city, it won’t take all day to visit it.
Kaaterskill Falls features two drops that combine together to be 260 feet in total height, which also makes it one of the tallest waterfalls in the state.
Visitors can walk the handicapped-accessible trail to the upper viewing platform and see the uppermost drop, or you can hike the somewhat challenging trail down to the base to see both portions of the waterfall.
Bastion Falls is located just downstream of Kaaterskill Falls and is one of the most impressive roadside waterfalls in New York. However, if you want to see more than a passing glimpse of this waterfall, you’ll need to do a bit of hiking to get here because there is no parking or pull-off near this spot.
In fact, you’ll have to start at Kaaterskill Falls and continue hiking downstream to get here. That being said, the hike is definitely worth it if you love waterfalls.
While it gets overshadowed by the much larger waterfall just upstream, Bastion Falls is an impressive spot in its own right at 70 feet in height. And, whether you just drive by it or hike to it, it’s one of my favorite waterfalls near Albany to visit.
Plotter Kill Preserve
Plotter Kill Preserve is a beautiful parcel of protected land about 30 minutes northwest of downtown Albany that is home to three incredible waterfalls.
While the trails here aren’t especially difficult, the waterfalls in the preserve are some of the more challenging ones to see in the region because of their location relative to the official trails. So, if you want a good look at these waterfalls, be prepared to do some steep hiking into gorges and to get your feet wet.
The largest waterfall in the preserve, Upper Falls, is about 60 feet in height. It is the easiest to see the top of and probably the easiest to reach the base of, though doing so is certainly not easy. That being said, standing near the base of this waterfall is incredibly impressive.
The other two waterfalls can be seen along the preserve’s trails as well, though are harder to reach.
Hannacroix Falls is located within the Hannacroix Creek Preserve south of Albany in Greene County, about 20-25 minutes from the city.
Hannacroix Falls sits in the middle of this 113-acre preserve and is the highlight of any hike here. While the falls aren’t overly large, the sheer beauty of this spot makes it worth the trip, especially since the water often flows in four distinct drops here.
As you hike to the falls, you’ll also pass an overlook and the ruins of a paper mill, which are both worth seeing while in the area.
Kirk Douglas Falls
Kirk Douglas Falls is located in Amsterdam, New York, the hometown of legendary actor Kirk Douglas. It is about 40 minutes northwest of downtown Albany.
This waterfall sits in the heart of the city next to Kirk Douglas Park and is just upstream of where the Chuctununda Creek flows into the Mohawk River. There are two drops here, with the lower drop being a bit taller than the upper falls.
Both waterfalls can be easily seen from the park and a nearby bridge over the stream, though because of a bend in the creek, you can’t see them both at the same time.
Barberville Falls can be found in Poestenkill, New York, about 25 minutes east of Albany on the opposite side of the Hudson River from the city.
Over the last few years, this spot has gotten more infrastructure than it used to have, including an official parking lot, which makes it easier to visit than it was when I first visited this spot in Rensselaer County.
Barberville Falls is the highlight of this preserve and is an impressive waterfall at about 90 feet in height. If you visit this spot when water levels are high, the waterfall spreads across the entire 50-foot width of the rocks here, making this a very impressive waterfall.
While this is the only waterfall on the property, there are other trails here for those looking for more than the very short hike to the base of Barberville Falls.
Stuyvesant Falls is a beautiful waterfall that is located in a village of the same name about 30 minutes south of Albany on the eastern side of the Hudson River.
This waterfall is on the edge of town within a park in an area known as the Stuyvesant Falls Mill District. Make sure to take a look at the exterior of the historic mill that is right across the street from the falls, as well as the large waterfall downstream that can only be seen from above on the bridge over the Kinderhook Creek.
Stuyvesant Falls, which sits upstream of the bridge, is about 25 feet in total height, with it roughly split in half between a natural waterfall and the man-made dam on top of it. This gives the waterfall a very unique look compared to most of the other Albany waterfalls on this list.
Located 45 minutes from downtown Albany, you’ll find the E.N. Huyck Preserve in the southwestern corner of Albany County. And, at the heart of this preserve, you can see the incredible Rensselaerville Falls.
Rensselaerville Falls is an incredible 120-foot waterfall that twists and turns its way down the hillside. Interestingly, it’s only possible to see two of the three portions of this waterfall at any one time.
Fortunately, there are trails here that allow you to see the waterfall from the top, the middle (which is pictured above), and from the crest of this magnificent waterfall in Albany County.
High Falls is the namesake of the High Falls Conservation Area, about 40 minutes from Albany, and is said to be the tallest waterfall in Columbia County. And, at 150 feet in height, it’s also one of the tallest waterfalls near Albany, New York.
There is one official viewing area for High Falls, which can be found at a somewhat overgrown overlook that’s easily reached along the conservation area’s trails. You can also take a rather challenging hike to the base of the waterfall to see it in its full glory.
If water levels are higher, there is a second fantastic waterfall just downstream of this main one that flows into the creek from a side stream.
Diondonhowa Falls is a hidden gem of Washington County and is a roughly 45-minute drive north of Albany.
A viewing area overlooking this waterfall can be found at the end of a lightly-trafficked trail through a scenic woodland. Unfortunately, the viewing area is both very eroded and somewhat overgrown, which makes seeing this beautiful waterfall a bit of a challenge.
That being said, Diondonhowa Falls is very impressive at approximately 60 feet in height, most of which is natural stone that has been topped with a man-made dam.
Fox Creek Falls
The waterfalls on Fox Creek near Berne, NY can be found about 40 minutes west of downtown Albany.
There are a total of four drops here, which add up to around 25-30 feet in total height. The largest of these is the uppermost falls, which is 10-12 feet tall.
These waterfalls can be seen from a small park located behind Fox Creek Pizza, and several other historic buildings line the creek as well. This gives the waterfall a bit more of an industrial feel than the other Albany waterfalls on this list, but it is very cool to see how these structures have been built up right alongside Cobbleskill Creek.
There are short trails that lead from the parking area to viewing spots for each of the drops, but, sadly, there isn’t really a viewing area where you can see them all at once.
What are your favorite waterfalls near Albany, NY to visit? Let us know in the comments below.
Looking for more places to visit nearby? Check out the New York State Museum, the covered bridges in Washington County, and the best waterfalls near Syracuse.