Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Sunday, May 11, 2014

OK Slip Falls - Hudson Gorge Wilderness - 5/10/14

Sunday, Leesa and I chose to head in to take a look at the newly acquired OK Slip Falls, located in the newly named Hudson Gorge Wilderness.  We waited until now because we wanted the ice at the falls to be gone yet still have high spring water flowing over the falls.  Perhaps we could have done this trip a week or two ago, but this trip still worked out well.
We weren't sure where the access point was from on Route 28.  The "Conceptual Recreation and Access Strategy" map that I had seen a while back produced by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), appeared to show access coming from the old road leading to the Northern Frontier Camp (see drawing below).   
Pertinent portion of the "Conceptual Recreation and Access Strategy" map form DEC
Yet when we got to the Northern Frontier Road, there was a gate there with a posted sign.  What we learned, was that access is from the Ross Pond, Whortleberry Pond, Big Bad Luck Pond trail.  There is a big parking lot for this trail on Route 28 at the intersection of 28 old Route 28.
From the parking lot, you walk a couple hundred yards west on Route 28 to the trailhead.  Here a red disk marks the trail towards Ross Pond.
After hiking approximately .4 miles, you come to a tree with 3 pink ribbons on the right side of the trail.  This is the beginning of a pink flagged route that leads to a blue disk trail that leads to the falls.
The pink ribbons represent a proposed route that hasn't officially been accepted and marked yet.  Therefore, you are essentially bushwhacking following pink ribbons.  After 1.7 miles, you cross the Northern Frontier Road and come to a sign that says Falls 1.0 miles.  From this sign, you now follow a blue disc trail all the way to the falls.  
This sign is actually pointing to the pink flagged route at this point in time

The beginning of the blue disc trail to the falls 

The same sign and the Northern Frontier Road
The mile long blue disc trail to the falls follows an old jeep road that was quite wet on Sunday.  Near the end of the mile, the trail hooked left and began descending to a viewpoint of the falls.  We hadn't seen anyone on the trail and we soon found ourselves at a sign just before the overlook indicating that the blue trail also continued on to the Hudson River.

I was surprised to see that the blue trail continued on to the Hudson River
We first went to the falls and soon found ourselves alone at a beautiful overlook.  It is truly amazing.  I found myself thinking that it is awesome that this falls is now on state land.  It was also great that we had the spot to ourselves! 
Pictures can't do this falls justice, so if you'd like, you can see a short 15 second video I took here on YouTube.  The video will really give you a better sense of how it felt to look at the falls.

OK Slip Falls
a closer look...

An old sign made by Northern Frontier Camp
We, or course, spent a while just looking at the falls.  We thought about looking for a way down to the bottom of the gorge, but it looked really steep and deep.  We instead continued on the blue trail to follow it towards the Hudson River.
The trail hooks around the gorge and crosses OK Slip Brook on a bridge just upstream from the head of the falls.  
Looking at the head of the falls.  You can't tell that the water plummets just beyond this point.

The bridge over OK Slip Brook
As we got close to the river, the trail dropped steeply to reach the shore.  We could soon see that there was a blue raft pulled up on the shore at the rivers edge.

Steep bank near the Hudson

A fire ring at the waters edge

OK Slip Brook as it is reaching the Hudson River

A blue raft at the shore.  A woman was there taking a break from rafting.

Looking downstream on the Hudson.

OK Slip Brook entering the Hudson River

OK Slip Brook again.
A purple trillium
We ate lunch at the Hudson River.  I was hoping to see some rafts go by, but we didn't see any.  After lunch we headed back the way we had come.  We soon came across a friend of mine who was hiking in with 3 others.  We also saw 3 other people at the falls as we passed back through.  The rest of the hike was quiet.
All-in-all a great day to the beautiful OK Slip Falls.  This falls is the largest in the Adirondacks.  It drops 250' in a single cascade.
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  8 miles
Hike Time:  4.5 hours
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 1000'
The route (Click image to enlarge)

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