Last week, on one of our first 60+ degree days of Adirondack spring, we hiked OK Slip Falls. You might’ve heard of them- they’re the biggest falls in the ‘dacks.. and some of the biggest in New York. I make an effort to visit as many falls as I can while traveling. Waterfalls represent to me life, strength, and clarity. Three things I channel positivity toward each day.
The hike begins in Indian Lake, NY. The trailhead wasn’t difficult to find and had a great parking area. After parking it’s a short road walk to the trailhead and off you go. Packing through the woods (and in this case, followed by a trail of vampires! ADK May = Blackfly Season). This is a beautiful 6.5 mile round trip of non-taxing terrain. Slight ups and downs make for good opportunities to get your heart rate up without dragging yourself up a steep climb just yet. This is what I tell myself anyway!
Flowers, plants, and trees were blooming everywhere and there were some wonderful opportunities for bird watching. We were so happy to see two black-backed woodpeckers which are very difficult to find. This trail had many trees filled with holes drilled by woodpeckers. It was definitely a great place to go for birders interested in finding this rare species. A lovely walk through the woods is always beneficial anyway.
When we got to the middle of our hike (where the waterfalls are) we had two options. We could view the falls from our current standpoint, which was from above looking through the trees and did not involve any taxing climb, or we could hike down the ravine and see the whole thing from the bottom. Well, I LOVE waterfalls. They always move me and change my life a little bit. I consistently have inner revelations upon seeing these giant cascades of sparkling water. It’s as though the falls cleanse the sand from my thoughts and things become significantly clear again! So I said, “Let’s go! We’re doing this!”, and we were off to see the wonderful wizard of falls. (Ha Ha).
We followed the advice of two hikers passed to “be mindful”. This traverse was the steepest terrain I’ve accomplished without a harness and climbing shoes. It was a careful endeavor. It was also worth every single second.
The waterfalls live up to any writing about them. They stand at over 200 feet tall with massive amounts of water pouring over the top, cascading down the rock ledge creating tons of magical tiny falls. The water began so far away, and streamed down in a way that it seemed as though a giant was holding a pitcher of water and pouring it down into the valley. We arrived late in the day. The sky was tinted purple and dulled by the mist. It was 15 degrees cooler by the falls. There were two huge floats of snow hanging onto the browned outer edges of the falls, waiting for the official end to Adirondack winter.
The hike back up that hill was obviously difficult, but it was short, and again, it was worth it. It gained us several different views of the falls and one last rewarding view before our trek out. We walked out seamlessly, stepping quickly to avoid the flies, and stepping quietly to hear the birds.
As a whole this was one of my favorite hikes. It was medium distance and slightly challenging in that way. This is officially a hike that I will revisit in my future. The pure enjoyment of the walk through a dense forrest, views of the falls, and the wildlife and blooms were plenty enough for me to fall in love. A definite Adirondack must do.
Hugs and Backpacks, BB.