Northern New York Waterfalls 
Northern New York Waterfalls ... Cascade Falls

Glen Park Falls


From the city of Watertown, travel out West Main Street and pass under I-81.  The hydro plant will be on your left.  Most people looking for this area will take I-81 exit 46, outer Coffeen Street which becomes NYS Route 12F.  Proceed west to the hamlet of Paddy Hill where you take a right and cross the Black River into Brownville.  Take another right and you are heading back into Watertown.  After the Brownville/Glen Park Elementary School there will be a dome structure housing the power plant.  You will then come to a fenced-in area where the Glen Park Hydro facility is located.

County: Jefferson
Town: Hounsfield/Brownville
USGS Map: Watertown
Waterway: Black River
Latitude: N 43° 59' 48"
Longitude: W 75° 57' 08"
Drop: 16'
Type: Curtain cascade
Region: West of Watertown
Parking: Roadside
Trail type: Dirt
Length of hike: 3 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Accessibility: Public by agreement
Name: Unnamed

Watertown Quadrangle

Children growing up in the Watertown area in the 50s and 60s were warned to stay away from the Black River.  Now, it is a whitewater rafting and kayaking paradise.  The Glen Park Falls is a pleasant little falls in the middle of a very popular whitewater stretch just west of I-81 on Watertown's northwest side.  

It should be noted that this is private property, owned by the Glen Park Hydroelectric Project.  As a hydro facility, parts of it are open to the public but it is closed from dusk to dawn and in winter months.  Also, you have limited views from the publicly accessible areas and the flow over the falls is minimal when the hydro plant is producing.  That is why it is best to visit this site on a weekend between 11 AM and 4 PM.  Due to agreements between the local whitewater businesses and the hydro plant, production is cut back during this time and the river returns to normal flow.  During these hours, this is a very active rafting/kayaking location.

Walk around the left side of the fenced area and you will find a gate that will be open and unlocked when they are open.  Proceed across the dam and on the other side, you will find an area to your left that is roped off and indicated as private.  The falls are on the far side of the river, just below the retaining dam, in the area beyond these ropes.

Shortly after we arrived at just about 11 AM on a Sunday in July 2011, several dozen people arrived carrying a number of whitewater rafts and kayaks.  There was also a hydro employee there.  We explained what we were doing to him and he guided us past the roped area to the river bank where he showed us the best place to get pictures.  We even took some shots with kayakers going over the falls!  To stay on the legal side of the trespassing issue, arrive when it opens at 11 AM.  The employee was very cordial and accommodating.

While doing some research for a new book we are writing, we discovered a Jefferson County history account at that indicated that before 1893 when the village of Glen Park was incorporated, the community was known as Jim Wood's Falls.  This was in reference to a man who settled in the area in 1804.  That moniker has not been used since the incorporation.

The Black River empties into Lake Ontario just a few miles downstream from this location.

Last update:  February 23, 2017

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