This trail, while quite short is an excellent destination for photographers and bird watchers. You will first need to pinpoint the metal gate which marks the start of the trail. This is not too difficult, just be sure to look for it just west of the entrance to the NYS Golden Beach Campground. There is parking for 2-3 cars. Passing by the gate you will be on an old access road that brings you through a grass field with an attractive wetland to your left.
As you continue by the wetland there are a few small areas that you can approach the shore, but don’t get too close the edges are a bit unstable in parts. This opens up great opportunities for birding and wildlife photography. As you continue through you will notice a split in the trail. Right will lead you around to above the falls – the area above the falls is not recommended for young children. The left fork will lead to the base of the falls. At this point you should be able to hear the water pouring to the rocks below. You will have a small stream crossing to where you will be able to see the falls to the right.
Death Falls is a wide fanning cascade where in the spring or after a heavy rain spell, rainbows often develop. Use this area to do some additional photography, but be aware that the rocks along the brook are very slippery and loose. The steep slopes of Estelle Mountain are directly to the south, as a small pond at the base of the mountain helps nourish this wonderful natural feature.
Distance Round Trip:
Family of Four with Kids: 1/2 hour to base of falls
Experienced Hiker: 15 minutes to base of falls
Inexperienced Hiker: 1/2 hour to base of falls
From the intersection of Route 28 and Route 30 in the Town of Long Lake follow Route 28/30 toward Blue Mountain Lake. In Blue Mountain Lake follow Route 28 toward Raquette Lake for just under 10-miles to the trailhead. This trailhead is located on the left about 0.3 miles past the entrance to Golden Beach Campground. Look for a metal gate across a dirt access road. There is no trailhead sign.
This makes for an excellent snowshoe or very short cross-country ski destination. Parking in winter can be tough, it is all dependent on if the parking area is plowed.
Information and photos provided by Spencer Morrissey of Inca-Pah-Cho Wilderness Guides – 607.267.3474