Stone Valley Trail ... Colton Dam, Colton Falls, SVT Falls 1, SVT Falls 2, The Narrows, The Tubs and Lucy's Hole

Directions

The Hamlet of Colton is located on NY 56, a few miles east of Potsdam.  At the intersection of Main Street, proceed northeast.  There are two parking areas.  The first is on the left just before crossing the bridge.  For the second, which is the preferred route for waterfalls, take the left after crossing the bridge.  There is a lot immediately behind the fire hall but you want the lot past that.

County: St. Lawrence
Town: Colton
USGS Map: Colton
Waterway: Raquette River
Latitude: N 44o 33' 20"
Longitude: W 74o 56' 20"
Drop: Multiple
Type: Multiple
Region: Off NY 56 near Colton
Parking: Unpaved parking area
Trail type: Dirt
Length of hike: Varied
Difficulty: Moderate
Accessibility: Public
Name: Common

The Stone Valley Cooperative Recreation Area is located on property owned by Brookfield Power, although a small portion of it is on Town of Colton land.  The trail network here, which is well marked and fairly well maintained, is undoubtedly the most popular nature trail in St. Lawrence County, if not the entire north country.  Publicly accessible, and free to do so, the area offers hikers, waterfall lovers, kayakers and rock-hounds a place to remember.

Since the access of all of these falls are from the same place, we have opted to provide this page for the common information.  There are separate pages for each of the falls.  Please note that although this area is legally named as the Stone Valley Cooperative Recreation Area, we consider this a common name since it is not registered on the USGS GNIS.  Likewise, none of the falls here are officially named.  Most get their names from the whitewater community.

There are actually two trails through this area.  Our preference for seeing the waterfalls is the trail that runs from south to north up the east side of the river.  The trailhead parking for this is behind the fire hall as described in the directions side-bar.  The west side trail will also give you access to the river and views of the falls.  It is probably debatable, but we just feel that the waterfall views are a bit better from the east side.  This is also the best route for those looking for the shortest path to see the waterfalls.  There are also parking areas on both sides of the river at the northern ends of the trails.  These are accessible from the Brown's Bridge Road, about 3 miles on the Potsdam side of the hamlet of Colton.

A couple of hundred feet in from the parking area behind the fire hall is a registration kiosk.  The hike from here is "vigorous."  Multiple ascents and descents make the trip moderately strenuous and will give you a good cardio workout.  Of course, you can make the trip at a leisurely pace.  There are plenty of vantage points and places to rest.  To see the falls, you are looking at about a 3-1/2 mile walk.  The only disadvantage with this route is that the falls are over your left shoulder as you walk in.  Of course, you are facing the flow on your return.  

You will pass, in order, Colton Dam, Colton Falls, two unnamed falls which we refer to SVT Falls 1 and SVT Falls 2, the Narrows, the Tubs and Lucy's Hole.  The rest of the trail is along fairly level water.  For those out to view the waterfalls, you have hiked about a mile-and-a-half by the time you get to Lucy's Hole.  Most people find they see sights on their return trip that they missed on the way down.  For those looking for a longer hike, there are several options.   Both the east and west trails are promoted as being 3.2 miles.  You can complete part or all of that and then return for a total trip of just under 6.5 miles.  If you're looking for something even more, the two south trailheads are a little less than 1/2 mile apart while the north trailheads are just under a mile from each other.  If you complete either trail, cross the river and return on the other side, you have covered about 7.8 miles.

This area is enjoyed by many during all four seasons.  It is a relatively untamed area and there are no fences or rails separating you from the river.  This is especially noteworthy in the winter when the ice and snow make things very slippery.  In the spring, the water volume is intense.  During periods of lower water in the summer, several swimming holes beckon.

Maps of the area are available at registration kiosks.  There are also informational signs along the way that describe the section or perhaps the geology of the area, which is somewhat unique.

The Raquette River empties into the St. Lawrence River in Massena, New York.

Hover on any of the thumbnails to see an enlarged image

 

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