Adirondack Park, NY: High Falls Loop

Score Lakeside camping at its best on this 19.2-mile, multi-day loop in the Adirondacks.
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Score Lakeside camping at its best on this 19.2-mile, multi-day loop in the Adirondacks.

Backpacker Map Contributor Lisa Densmore says you’ll want to spend at least four days on the leisurely, 19.2-mile High Falls Loop, a route packed with stay-awhile features. From the Wanakena trailhead, follow the Wanakena Primitive Corridor 3.7 miles to camp along the Oswegatchie River at High Rock. The short day allows late starts, swimming, or picking trailside blueberries (August).

Next day, continue southeast on the High Falls Trail, past beaver ponds and an old-growth white pine forest. Hit 20-foot High Falls on your way to Jannock’s Landing at mile 12.7. Settle in at this sandy beachfront lean-to (first come, first serve) on Cranberry Lake.

Day three, pack for a daytrip and retrace your route .9 mile to the Cat Mountain Trail, leading 1.1 miles (gaining 500 feet) to an open ledge with views of endless wild forest. Sleep at Jannock’s Landing again before following the Dead Creek Flow Trail three miles back to Wanakena.

Contact: Adirondack Mountain Club; adk.org

-Info provided by Lisa Densmore

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 30.8

Waypoints

HFL001

Location: 44.131797, -74.921811

Park here, and it's .1 mile (east, then a sharp turn to head south) to the trailhead to begin your loop.

HFL002

Location: 44.130909, -74.922638

From the Wanakena trailhead, follow the Wanakena Primitive Corridor south.

HFL003

Location: 44.121483, -74.925857

Continue as the trail meanders south, skirting the edge of a Dead Creek Flow tributary. From here, it's 2.8 miles to camp along the Oswegatchie River at High Rock.

HFL004

Location: 44.096235, -74.96362

Take the spur trail southwest to High Rock. Bonus: in August, watch for trailside blueberries.

HFL005

Location: 44.095087, -74.965227

Set up camp at High Rock. The short day allows for late starts, or swimming in the nearby Oswegatchie River.

HFL006

Location: 44.095075, -74.96139

Next day, continue southeast on the High Falls Trail, past beaver ponds and an old-growth white pine forest.

HFL007

Location: 44.075728, -74.930289

Ariive at the trail Junction to Little Shallow Pond. Continue east for an elevation-steady 1.1 miles.

HFL008

Location: 44.074692, -74.911274

Hang a right to head south on this .4 mile spur trail to High Falls.

HFL009

Location: 44.069134, -74.910176

Hit 20-foot High Falls at the end of the spur trail, then retrace your steps to join back up with the loop.

HFL010

Location: 44.110046, -74.891315

Dead Creek Trail leads you to the .2-mile spur trail toward Jannock's Landing.

HFL011

Location: 44.112164, -74.891557

Settle in at this sandy beachfront lean-to at Jannock's Landing (first come, first serve) on Cranberry Lake. Day three, pack for a daytrip and retrace your route .9 mile to the Cat Mountain Trail.

HFL012

Location: 44.099973, -74.886568

Dead Creek Trail arrives at a junction with Cat Mountain Trail. Take a right to follow Cat Mountain Trail for camping options, or for views of endless wild forest from an open ledge.

HFL013

Location: 44.099338, -74.882653

A waterfront campsite next to Gatsby pond makes a great lunch spot.

HFL014

Location: 44.100663, -74.876444

Cat Mountain Trail intersects with Cowhorn Junction Trail here. Follow the latter further east for even more places to pitch a tent and the open ledge dayhike view.

HFL015

Location: 44.100463, -74.864972

Arrive at a summit tower site and catch views of Can Mountain Pond to the south.

HFL016

Location: 44.100036, -74.864386

Hit the highest spot to spend the night: at 2250 feet, reach another campsite. Retrace your steps to HFL010 and rejoin the Dead Creek Trail. Sleep at Jannock's Landing once more before heading the three miles back to the trailhead.

HFL017

Location: 44.133278, -74.915042

After 3 miles, arrive back at the Dead Creek Flow Trailhead to close the loop.