Tenant Creek Falls
Overview: Beautiful area with a remote feeling. Pleasant hike. Location: Hope, NY Stream : Tenant Creek Height : Three separated drops, 30-50 feet each. Finding : Requires a good map and precise directions. Access : Easy hike. Swimming: Possibilities. Privacy : Remote feeling. Legal : Adirondack Park.
The information presented in this document was provided by Jon Binder. I appreciate his excellent and detailed account! Please note that Jon now has his own waterfall page at http://www.angelfire.com/ny4/waterfalls where he has descriptions and pictures of this and many other Adirondack waterfalls. Jon's page may have more up to date information than displayed here.
From Northville (Great Sacandaga Lake)
To reach the trailhead for Tenant Creek Falls take NY 30 and, traveling North from the area of the Great Sacandaga Lake, turn right 0.5 mile (0.8 km) past the bridge over East Stony Creek onto Old Northville Road. Continue 1.5 miles (2.5 km) on this road and turn left at East Stony Creek Road. Here a customary brown and yellow Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) sign gives mileages to some destinations. Drive down East Stony Creek Road for 7.4 miles (12.3 km) until a parking area is seen on the left with room for about 5 or 6 cars. The road is winding and made of dirt at the end; however, it is easily passable by normal cars. There are a couple of forks in the road; for the most part stay to the left (there are exceptions) and try to look for road signs. You will know when you are at the trailhead as the parking area is up on the bank of East Stony Creek. Don't give up if you take a wrong turn. Just turn around and take a right when you get back to the road you want. Take care to grant privacy to the owners of the old Brownell Lumber Camp, the land to the right, by staying on the trails.
I tried to verify these directions using DeLorme's New York State Atlas & Gazetteer. However, the area seemed a little different on the map than Jon describes it. We had an email conversation on the subject that went something like this:
Peter: Following your directions I was a little confused about the first turn off. It looks to me like the river crossing on route 30 that you mention is actually over the Sacandaga River and not East Stony Creek.
Jon: To tell you the truth, I have some confusion about that turnoff too. I can't remember, but I think it was in fact East Stony Creek. Route 30 does cross the Sacandaga, twice actually, but I believe that the first time (from the south) is further below the turnoff, and I know the second time is much farther north -- above Lake Algonquin in the town of Wells. East Stony Creek meets the Sacandaga River and then widens into the Great Sacandaga Lake. By one of my maps, you'd be right. However, by my U.S.G.S. topographical map of the region (which is missing the turnoff road), route 30 crosses the Sacandaga south of its crosssing of East Stony Creek. Because of this, and since I remember crossing and recrossing East Stony Creek (on route 30, then on the turnoff road), I think it is East Stony Creek. That's also what it says in ADK's Guide to Adirondack Trails: Southern Region.
Peter: Hmmm. There is only one thing to do: one of us will have to go back!
Jon: Good call. I'll get back up there a.s.a.p! I'll be sure to let you know if I'm wrong!
July 28, 1998
From the parking area walk north on the trail following blue DEC markers. After about 5 or 10 mins you will reach a sturdy wooden bridge that crosses Tenant Creek. Before the bridge a hard to miss sign says "falls" and points right. This is the trail leading to Tenant Creek Falls. Before taking the turn look up and down the Creek from the bridge. You can see water cascading over boulders for some distance. It's very nice. About a half of a mile from the turn, over an easy, flat, and well-defined unmarked trail, you will come to the first waterfall of Tenant Creek on your left.
This waterfall alone is a worthwile destination. Crystal clear water spreads out in an upside-down V shape over an inclined rock slope and a couple of ledges. The water splits at the top of the falls to form two practically identical parallel cascades. At the bottom the cascading water collects in a large, round pool that is waist deep. I walked through the pool right up to the falls, and even climbed carefully a short disctance up the side of the falls, choosing a place that wasn't too steep or slippery. ADK's Guide to Adirondack Trails: Southern Region gives a perfect description of the rocks and cliffs around the falls which create a "small natural ampitheater." Exploration of some kind on the rocks and a long rest are practically mandatory here. The falls are, by my estimation, about 50 feet high.
After about another mile of walking along a fairly easy trail, passing a marshy area and climbing up a small ridge, the second waterfall of Tenant Creek is reached. This one was definitely the least beautiful of the three. It's just a small cascade, maybe 30 feet high, over slightly inclined broken-up rock.
About another 250 yards upstream from this falls is, in my opinion, the best of the three waterfalls that grace Tenant Creek. The falls are at the back of a large, fairly deep pool surronded by small cliffs. They are about 30 feet high. The water cascades over many ledges, this time with no incline, to the pool. On the left side of the falls the water falls with less interruption. Explore the area for different angles from which to view the falls. I got what I considered the best picture from the rocks below the pool at the base of the falls.
All three falls give the feeling of great remoteness; it's quite apparent that not many people visit these falls. Even a story on the falls last summer in the Times Union, the newspaper for Albany, NY, hasn't taken this feature away. I visited just a few days after that story ran, and only met one other group along the trail. Don't even be dismayed if the small lot at the trailhead is full -- they are probably headed for Wilcox Lake, accessible by the same trailhead.
Overall, the falls are very pretty and worth the short, easy, pleasant walk to reach them -- especially the first falls. They aren't spectacular falls, but rather places from which to attain solitude in the midst of beauty.
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