Northern New York Waterfalls 

Rushton Falls

Directions

US 11 crosses the Grass River just west of the downtown section of Canton.  There is an island at this point and the entrance of the park will be on the north side of the road.  

County: St. Lawrence
Town: Canton
USGS Map: Canton
Waterway: Grass River
Latitude: N 44o 35' 48"
Longitude: W 75o 10' 29"
Drop: ~ 10'
Type: Rapids
Region: In the village of Canton
Parking: Paved lot
Trail type: Stone paths
Length of hike: 0.1 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Accessibility: Public
Name: Official

Canton Quadrangle

Waterfall videoThere are many waterfalls that are two parts, splitting around an island.  Most of them, however, have one name.  Cascade and Rushton Falls are two such waterfalls, but carry separate names.  Located in the village of Canton, Cascade Falls is on the west side of two islands in the Grass River.  Rushton Falls is on the east.  The east channel splits just above Rushton Falls and separates the islands.  This split joins the west channel at the crest of Cascade Falls.

There is a bit of irony regarding the names of these waterfalls.  Of the two, Cascade Falls is the larger.  It is a single-drop plunge whereas Rushton Falls is really little more than a set of rapids.  Rushton, however is an officially named waterfall, listed on the USGS GNIS.  Cascade Falls are commonly named.

A local group, known as the Grasse River Heritage has been formed.  This "is a group of Canton citizens dedicated to working with the Canton community and local, state, and federal agencies to improve the educational, cultural, economic, and recreational opportunities in the Grasse River Corridor."  This is according to one of many plaques, signs and posters in this pleasant little park they have constructed.

 As you enter the parking area, you are in Heritage Park.  As you cross the footbridge, there are trails that take you to the waterfalls.  You will find several educational signs with pictures, maps and valuable information.  There are a number of benches to rest as you stroll around the short, very nicely maintained area which provides great views of both falls.

Not only is the naming of the waterfalls here somewhat unique, so is the naming of the islands.  The parking area is on Coakley Island.  The trails on the other side of the footbridge are on Falls Island.  Both of these properties make up Heritage Park and are owned and maintained by the Grasse River Heritage.  On the other side of US 11, even though it is the same island as the parking lot (Coakley Island), it is known as Willow Island.  "The 25% or so of Willow Island that is adjacent to Route 11 also belongs to Grasse River Heritage"  They have installed an outdoor sculpture garden there.  "The remaining 75% or so belongs to the Village of Canton and is the site of Canton Island Park."  This information has been provided to us by Louis Tremaine, the president of Grasse River Heritage.

Several places on this website, we have noted that depending upon which map or sign you are using, this river is referred to as either Grasse or Grass.  Originally it was Grasse and this organization uses that spelling in an effort to highlight the historical significance.  Somewhere along the line, when it got named on the GNIS, it became Grass.

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

Last update:  June 6, 2017

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Rushton Falls Rushton Falls
Rushton Falls Rushton Falls
Rushton Falls Rushton Falls

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