Adirondack Waterfall: Roaring Brook Falls Trail Review

It’s officially mud season in the Adirondacks which means that it is advised to avoid notoriously muddy hikes and peaks over 2,500′ in elevation. Mud season doesn’t stop me from going up to the Adirondacks when I have the opportunity, so I knew I was going to have to choose my hikes carefully. Roaring Brook Falls is an easy hike that I’ve been saving in my back pocket just for times like these – I needed a short, easy trail, with some elements of interest to keep my 9 year old daughter engaged. 

Me wearing rain gear, with my daughter and our friend @cchikingadv in the background happily walking up the trail.

About The Location
Roaring Brook Falls is in Keene, NY in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks. The area is full of some of the tallest mountain peaks in New York State and is absolutely beautiful. It is also a tremendously popular area and you’ll often come across a lot of other people on the trails in this area. 

Ellie, the dog, looking back at me while walking up a trail.

Trailhead Parking
The trailhead for Roaring Brook Falls is along Route 73 in Keene, NY, across the street from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve Hiker Parking. You can find the trailhead on Google Maps here. This is a very popular trailhead that leads to several different popular viewpoints and destinations including Roaring Brook Falls, The Nubble, Giant Mountain, and Rocky Peak Ridge. So, on weekends and nice days, you may find that this parking lot fills up early – be prepared with a backup plan! 

(Another thing to note is that a lot of hikers mistakenly think they can park in this trailhead parking lot and walk across the street to hike the trails accessed via the Adirondack Mountain Reserve area at the Ausable Club. This is not possible due to AMR adding a hiker reservation system in 2021. The reservation system requires you to sign up for a parking spot ahead of time, and walk-in’s are not allowed without a reservation. 

However, on the fine, spring, mud season day that we hiked, there was hardly anyone in the parking lot, even at 11:00am. 

A smaller waterfall, further upstream from the original falls
This is a smaller waterfall that we found upstream from the actual falls.

About The Trail
We chose to do the out and back trail that brings you to both the top and the bottom of the falls. You can find the AllTrails trail map here.

This 1.6 mile out and back hike takes you to both the top and bottom of the falls for a total elevation gain of 456 feet. At less than 1700 feet of total elevation gain it meets the standard for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recommended guidelines of under 2500’ for mud season hiking. 

A small window in the trees looks out to a larger mountain peak beyond, covered in clouds.

Despite a heavy rainstorm the night before, the trail was surprisingly not muddy, except for in a couple of spots. The mud wasn’t too deep though and we were able to walk through it without any trouble.  The hike was short enough and interesting enough to be enjoyable by all.

I am standing on the stream bank, looking out towards where the falls go

We hiked to the top of the falls first, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a nice view of peaks off in the distance along with a gorgeous drop off of the waterfall. We spent a bit of time up at the top taking pictures before we headed back down to see the lower falls. 

The trail to the lower falls viewing area was basically flat so it was extremely easy. The best viewing spot required a water crossing, which I was not comfortable with doing for me or my daughter, but @cchikingadv braved the waters for all of us to snap a picture.

I recommend this hike for anyone who is looking for a cool Adirondack hike without the intensity of a high peak trail!

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