Northern New York Waterfalls 

Rensselaer Falls

Directions

Take US 11 south from the village of Canton. Just north of the hamlet of De Kalb Junction, the Rensselaer Falls Road will exit north ... a right if you are driving south.  This will take you to the village of Rensselaer Falls.

County: St. Lawrence
Town: Canton
USGS Map: Rensselaer Falls
Waterway: Oswegatchie River
Latitude: N 44° 35' 22.70"
Longitude: W 75° 19' 19.62"
Drop: 1-2'
Type: Curtain cascade
Region: East of Canton
Parking: Roadside
Trail type: Dirt
Length of hike: Roadside
Difficulty: Easy
Accessibility: Public
Name: Common

Rensselaer Falls Quadrangle

Since this village is named Rensselaer Falls, it stands to reason that a waterfall is, or at least once was, there.  It is not uncommon, especially in St. Lawrence County to encounter communities with no waterfalls that carry "Falls" in their name.  This is usually because of the construction of a power dam.  At first glance, one might think that Rensselaer Falls is such a place, except that there is no dam around here.

The waterfall that gives the village its name is clearly visible from the intersection of CR 14 and CR 15, the main intersection in the village.  It is so insignificant, however, that one might be led to believe that there must be another waterfall in the area.  There isn't ... this is it!

There is an arc-shaped ledge that runs across the width of the river.  It may be a two foot drop, but certainly no more than that.   Our pictures were taken in late fall of the year.  The Oswegatchie gets very active in the spring as it drains the melting snow from the Adirondacks.  We suspect that during that time of the year, the flow through here would be so heavy that it might obscure the fact that there is even a drop here.

If one were to read the wikipedia.org account about the village of Rensselaer Falls, it might further confuse the issue.  It states "A six foot drop in the river attracted early settlers to the available water power."  Local sources have assured us that this is the only drop there.   In fact, the Oswegatchie is completely flat for over five miles upstream to Coopers Falls and over four miles downstream to some small rapids just above the village of Heuvelton.  What happened to this six foot drop that attracted the first settlers is a mystery to us!

The Oswegatchie River flows into the St. Lawrence River in Ogdensburg, New York, roughly eleven miles from here.

Last update:  December 19, 2015

Hover on any of the thumbnails to see an enlarged image

Rensselaer Falls Rensselaer Falls
Rensselaer Falls Rensselaer Falls
Rensselaer Falls Rensselaer Falls

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