A place to discuss waterfalls. Including the parks that house them and the hikes to get to them.
OK Slip Falls is the Holy Grail of Adirondack waterfalls. For most of living memory, it has been owned by Finch Pruyn Paper Co, and leased to the Northern Frontier Camp. Recently, the Nature Conservancy has purchased the land but the public isn't allowed access yet. Hopefully this will change in the near future. But, back a while ago, my cousin and I took the hard way to see the falls, and only from a distance. We bushwhacked from the North Woods Club road to Kettle Mtn where you can look across the Hudson River Gorge to see the falls. Considering OK Slip is one of the tallest falls in the Adirondacks and probably also the state, there's very little you'll find on it because of the land ownership problem. A few years ago, I contacted people at Northern Frontier who said they had no control over who could enter the area and were actually under orders from Finch Pruyn to evict any trespassers. I contacted Finch Pruyn and was essentially told no chance would they allow anyone access.
So, until the Nature Conservancy grants the public access (a friend of mine knows people who know people, so we might get special permission this summer hopefully) the only pictures I have were taken from the top of Kettle Mtn with a telephoto lens, on film, so don't expect too much. A recording shot at best, at least it will give you an idea of the possibilites:
It is amazing, even from a distance. To get a better perspective, here's a wide view, showing some of the gorge:
The close up shot was taken with a 300mm lens if memory serves, I don't have any of that old manual film gear any more. The Hudson River is about 700 feet below the point I'm standing on, and the falls is about 3/4 of a mile away.
I really hope to get in there this year, but I guess there is a lot of pressure to open this area up, and I'm not sure what the holdup is.
Thanks for that link. Same old argument there, what it boils down to is a bunch of local government yahoos have hunting cabins on rented Finch Pruyn land and don't want them to be torn down and have to share hunting access on that land with the great unwashed after the land becomes state property. It has nothing (well, almost nothing) to do with jobs. If the state buys the land, they pay taxes to the town for it, so there's no loss there. It's actually a gain since some (or all?) of that land is now in the hands of non-profits, who, I think, don't pay as much or any taxes on it.
We never got there last year, no one we knew at the Nature Conservancy even wanted to talk about it, much less give us access. Some of them didn't even want to admit they owned the land yet. Weird.
How did you find Kettle Mt? I can't find anything on it. Is it a maintained trail?
No, there is no trail, and that is one of the worst bushwhacks I've ever been on. You park along Northwoods Club Road and just walk into the woods. It's not too bad for the first mile or so, but then you start hitting beaver ponds and endless swamps until the edge of the mountain rises from the woods, then it's pretty easy, but steep. Then you have to go back. I took that route because the hiking guide recommended it as the fastest. I think they wrote it before the beavers moved in and flooded large areas, but they did warn about the swamps. The beavers may be gone now, that was over ten years ago. I've since looked at the maps and decided if I ever go back that way (not likely) I would hike down the railroad tracks to just before the bridge, then head up the mountains from there and follow the ridges to the overlook to the falls. I also don't recommend trying to hike the riverbank on the other side to get to the falls. I did that once and it was not fun, not to mention Finch Pruyn still owned it then and we met a large group from the Northern Frontier camp at the stream outlet and they promptly told us to leave. I don't know what situation you'd find there now, they may be more accommodating to visitors, now that Finch Pruyn is out of the picture.
This falls looks so interesting. Did some digging. Are you thinking it is impossible to take Ok slip Rd southwest of the falls down to the hudson by heading almost NNE. Follow the Hudson to gully and then head south to the falls almost directly? Seems early morning might yield a crest with sunlight on the top of the falls. david
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Oh, yes, that would be the most direct route, if the Northern Frontier camp, who leases that section of land, would let you use their road. They even have hiking trails right to the top of the falls. When we hiked up the river, there were people from the camp fishing at the mouth of the stream and they told us in no uncertain terms to get out. Not that the numerous posted signs were any clue
The thing is, my canoe guide for that area says to stop there and go up to look at the falls, so I figured it was OK to hike up, but no way. Could be the canoe guide trip assumes you're going to be going when the camp is not being used, which I think is only July & August. Now that the Nature Conservancy owns the land, it may be different, and I do know certain people have been in there, but general public access is not allowed yet. They took the road in, then took a side wood road that's not on the map, but runs to the right toward the top of the falls, so you can view it from across the gorge.
Well, for what it's worth, I signed it. Hopefully something will come of it. As I said above, this "vocal minority" are people who have rented land and built hunting cabins on the old Finch land. They want to keep their exclusive access to this land all to themselves.
Then the water would drop into a small chasm and not flow over the main part of the rock that create the falls. I can only assume that these small dams were added during construction of the power plant and are there solely to enhance the aesthetic beauty of the falls. -FXDD Reviews