Northern New York Waterfalls 

Rainbow Falls


The north end of the Tooley Pond Road is less than 1000' from the junction of CR 17 and CR 27 in the hamlet of Degrasse.  Proceed northeast on CR 27 and take a right. You will reach Rainbow Falls in 6.1 miles.

County: St. Lawrence
Town: Clare
USGS Map: Tooley Pond
Waterway: Grass River South Branch
Latitude: N 44° 18' 24"
Longitude: W 74° 59' 57"
Drop: 35'
Type: Flume
Region: South of Canton
Parking: Roadside
Trail type: Dirt
Length of hike: 1/4 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Accessibility: Public
Name: Official

Tooley Pond Quadrangle

Rainbow FallsRainbow Falls is one of eight well-known waterfalls on the South Branch of the Grasse River which are fairly easy to access from the Tooley Pond Road.  This road connects CR 27 in the hamlet of Degrasse to NY 3 near Cranberry Lake.  Like many of the falls on this road, it is on DEC maintained state land, accessible to the public.  It is also possible to reach this location from the Route 3 end but our information details access from the north.

Be careful as you approach this trailhead, which is marked by four large rocks/small boulders to block motorized vehicles from entering.  There are a couple of significant changes here that we discovered on our last visit in July 2017.  First of all, there has been a sign indicating "Rainbow Falls".  It is gone!  Also, there used to be a clearing here.  Brush and other growth has made it less obvious so you need to look for the boulders.  The hike is just under 1/4 mile down a fairly well maintained path that takes you to a foot bridge.

The river goes around an island at this point and you will encounter some rapids and at least two small waterfalls on the front side of the island beneath a footbridge.  Cross the bridge and continue walking on the path until you see the falls.

Rainbow is actually the second most popular waterfall name in northern New York.  This one, one of two in St. Lawrence County, is also known as Large Marge to the whitewater community.

The falls drop into a narrow but fairly deep gorge.  I almost felt like I was at Niagara in the Maid of the Mist because of the spray, just on a smaller scale.  When we were there in early November, even though temps were well above freezing, ice was forming on the edges of the rocks.  If you are there during spring run-off, there is so much power to the water coming through that you are going to get wet standing on the edge of the gorge.

These falls got their name because rainbows form in the mist on sunny days.

The Grass River flows into the St. Lawrence River in Massena, in St. Lawrence County.

Note:  Depending upon which map or sign you are using, this river is referred to as either Grasse or Grass.  Officially it is Grass.

Last update:  July 8, 2017

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