Northern New York Waterfalls 
Northern New York Waterfalls ... Childs Falls

Childs Falls

Directions

This waterfall is located a short distance from the village of Philadelphia.  Since it is on private property, it can only be accessed with permission from the landowner.

County: Jefferson
Town: Philadelphia
USGS Map: Philadelphia
Waterway: Black Creek
Latitude: 44o 08' 10"
Longitude: 75o 42' 19"
Drop: 15'
Type: Curtain cascade
Region: Due south of the village of Philadelphia
Parking: Private
Trail type: Dirt
Length of hike: Private
Difficulty: Easy
Accessibility: Private
Name: Official

Philadelphia Quadrangle

Childs FallsFirst and foremost, this waterfall is on private and posted land.  The current owners are retired educators, and fairly well known  in the area.  They have owned the property since the late 1970s and live at the location.  Dale Watkins was an administrator and his wife, Marie, a teacher, both in the Indian River Central School District.  They often welcome school, church and scout groups and the location is frequently used for family, wedding and graduation photos.  They have been actively involved with the foreign exchange program in the area and note that the site has entertained hundreds of foreign exchange students and many European and South American guests.  Because of a disrespectful public, the area is now by invitation only.  They not only graciously allowed us access to view and photograph the location, they gave us a tour of the property and shared many historical details about the land, the waterfall and the area in general.

This is a very interesting area.  Often you would have to hike a significant distance to find this kind of beauty and tranquility.  This gem, however, is about a mile from the village of Philadelphia, two miles from the Fort Drum Army Base and less than 500 feet from the highway.  They maintain a series of trails there, including picnic tables and concrete/wooden benches.  This is very much a private nature trail/picnic area.

Distant views of the falls can be had from County Route 29, just south of the end of Belile Road.  We often note that in private property situations, it may be possible to canoe/kayak up the waterway to the falls.  In this case, even that is not an option.  The owners' land extends around the corner and about 50 to 60 feet up the Belile Road.  Beyond this, the adjacent property is also private.  Permission to access the creek at this point would have to be granted by the landowner or else one would have to find a point further downstream that is public.  We don't know if such a point exists.  In addition, there is an interesting clause in their deed.  Although they note that they "cannot own the creek", the deed states that they own "the land under the water to the low mark on the other side".  If you stay in your boat, you are safe, but if you get out and stand in the water, you will be trespassing.

This waterfall is named after Cadwallader Child, who was a surveyor and informal leader of a group that came from Pennsylvania and settled this area in the very early 1800s. The name of this waterfall is now official, having been added to the GNIS data base on November 9, 2017.

Immediately adjacent to the property is a new cemetery which has been dedicated as Childs Falls Sunrise Cemetery.  The cemetery is upstream from the waterfall, so it is not visible from there.

The Black Creek flows into the Indian River just upstream from the village of Philadelphia.  The Indian flows through Black Lake and joins the Oswegatchie River which flows to the St. Lawrence River in Ogdensburg.

Last update:  November 14, 2017

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