Adirondack hikers have plenty of trail options that don’t require bagging 4,000-foot peaks; this tranquil, 5.5-mile out-and-back in Independence River Wild Forest is just one of the more mild items on the menu. From the Beach Mill Pond Trailhead at the end of Beach Mill Road, hike southeast along a yellow-blazed trail; you’ll soon cross Burnt Creek on the first of several trail bridges. One mile in, the route traverses a beaver pond over a bog bridge and footbridge; keep an eye out for the beaver lodge in the heart of the swamp.
The undulating trail continues to meander southeast through a mixed maple forest and reaches a bridge over Second Creek (a subsidiary of Independence River). Continuing over a steep rock hump, the trail passes a large boulder and begins a slight descent to the edge of the gorge—look right for an unmarked spur trail that offers a bird’s-eye view of the falls below. The main trail continues for 0.2 mile along the top of the gorge wall until it opens up at a ledge overlook of Gleasman’s Falls (about 30 feet above the river): look upstream to see the series of cascades (each dropping 5 to 10 feet). Enjoy the sights and sounds of the gorge before backtracking to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Lisa Densmore, DensmoreDesigns.com