From the north: In Canton, drive
out Park Street past St. Lawrence University. This
becomes St. Lawrence County Route 27. It will take
you through a small corner of the town of Russell, the
town of Pierrepont and into the town of Clare.
Shortly after crossing into the town of Clare, the sign
will be on your right.
From the south: On New York State
Route 3 just east of Fine, you will find the end of CR 27.
A short distance down this road, CR 27 will make a right
hand turn on to a road known locally as the Cracker Box
Road. In a few miles, this will come to a
"T" where you take a right in the hamlet of
Degrasse. From this corner
(the intersection of CR 17 and CR 27), go 4.6 miles.
|| Grasse River
|Length of hike:
Lampsons Falls is perhaps the most popular waterfall in St.
Lawrence County, New York. The trailhead is just north of an airstrip which is north of the
hamlet of Degrasse.
We first have some comments on the name. As an officially
named waterfall, it is listed on the USGS GNIS data base.
Here it is called Lampsons Falls. Topographical maps also
refer to it as Lampsons. Locally, however, it is called
Lampson. The trailhead is clearly marked by DEC signs for the "Grass
River Wild Forest" and it calls it Lampson Falls on the
The ½ mile trail in is well maintained and
easy to walk. Part way in, there is a bulletin board and a
registration stand. They ask you to sign in and check
out. The DEC does this at a number of sites to track
use. Please use this. It is there way of justifying
expenditures for maintenance and improvements. It is also a
way to make sure everyone going in, comes out! There is even
a handicapped access portion at the end leading down to a very
close view of the waterfalls.
There are several trails you can take. On the handicapped
access portion, there is a trail to the left that takes you right
to the crest of the falls. At the end of the handicapped
access trail, you can simply continue down to the beach area and
then across to the point of land that juts out below the falls for
a great downriver view. As an alternative, a short distance
in the handicapped access trail, you will come to a fallen
tree. You will be looking at the bottom of the root
structure. Just to the left of this there is a trail that
leads to the beach.
The area is very popular with locals and students from area
colleges. While we were there in November 2009, there were
six kayakers from Canada heading in. Canoeing, kayaking,
hiking and even camping are common here. It is also a
year-round area. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers use
this area in the winter.
It is significant to note that some publications list Lampsons
Falls as being on the South Branch of the Grasse River. In
reality, the North Branch branches a few miles downstream of this
area and the
river breaks into the Middle Branch and the South Branch a few
miles upstream. The stretch containing Lampsons Falls is
the main section of the Grasse River.
It is a view of Lampsons Falls that is used in the banner of
The Grasse 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 both Grasse and Grass.