Shelving Rock Falls, Adirondack Forest Preserve, New York

Lake George, NY
Length: 1.00 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

ACTIVITIES: Hiking, camping, fishing, boating (on Lake George)


OUT AND BACK OR LOOP: Out and back


ELEVATION GAIN: A couple hundred feet










GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Carrier, hiking poles (optional), water, sunscreen, snacks/lunch, fishing equipment if you want to extend your hike to reach
Lake George

Located on the east side of Lake George, this trail has a fantastic waterfall and a wide, open path that can fit five people across due to its being an old carriage road. This makes it an obvious Hike it Baby pick for your family. Little ones will love the
amount of water spilling from the falls, as well as the fact that they can splash around at the base of the falls (depending on the time of year and how shallow it is) or wade in the shallow water that is next to the trail leading up to the falls. In the hot, muggy New York summer, a watery hike is a sure win for all.

While we are suggesting one of the easier trails in this region, there are a ton of mountain hikes throughout with beautiful views of Lake George and that leave  from the same dirt road. It just depends on how far you want to hike.

There are numerous places to stop and play along the way, stretching what may seem like a short hike into a few hours of toddle waddle play.

There are no benches or picnic tables, but you can sit on the rocks at the base of the falls to have lunch or continue down toward Lake George and eat at the water’s edge.

The trail to the top of the falls is extremely easy, but getting to the base of the falls is a little more challenging. It will be especially so if you are front carrying, so keep that in mind. A toddler can do it with help, but you’ll want free hands. “I’ve led this
as a Hike it Baby hike with seven families and have also done it pregnant while wearing a toddler on my back. You just need to go slowly and be careful because it is a tad steep. Hiking poles might help,” says a Hike It Baby Ambassador.

The end result is amazing and totally worth the small down/uphill detour. After checking out the falls, you can either continue along the trail (back at the top of the falls) or head back. If you turn back after the falls, it will be a 1-mile round trip. If it is a nice day, let the kiddos play in the water alongside the trail on the way back to the cars to make the adventure longer.

If you are feeling extra adventurous and the terrain is feeling good for you, consider hiking Shelving Rock Mountain for another 3.4 miles. Keep your eyes open around the lake for loons and beavers. In the sky, you might spot a bald eagle, or high in a tree napping, an Adirondack owl. Throughout this area there are bigger animals like moose, black bears, and coyotes, but chances are on a day venture around Shelving Rock Falls, you won’t spot any. If you make a camping trip out of it and head deeper in to one of the 12 primitive camping sites, you might see one of these larger animals.

As for hazards that would be immediate on this hike, ticks are common in New York, so bring protection and do a tick check at the end of the day. Fortunately, poison ivy and other creepy crawlies don’t seem to be present in this area. Also be aware of ice in the winter. You can definitely hike this with microspikes on the flat part of the trail. If you aren’t wearing a child, you can get to the base of the falls
in the winter as well. It can get a tad crowded during the summer with folks trying to escape the city.

There are a handful of first come, first serve primitive campsites down a 4 mile dirt road toward Shelving Rock Falls. You can stay up to 3 days for free without a permit and longer with a free permit. This area is open year round with the exception of closing briefly in mud season.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 200 ft.
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains No
Bathrooms No
Cell reception None
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby Yes
Emergency support
within 5 miles

Trail highlights

Camping Nearby, Creek / River, Fishing, Lake, Mud Puddles, Natural Play Area, and Waterfall

“Shelving Rock Falls is one of our most favorite hikes near Lake George, NY. The view of the falls is gorgeous, and it’s fun to swim at the base in the
summer. This is one of the places we always take family or friends when they come to visit. We also like to extend the hike and go all the way down to
Lake George to sit by the water for lunch or to fish.”

Trail Contributor

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.


Trail Map

Getting There

Expect the parking lot to fill up. There is no cell reception in this area so it’s important to map this hike if you are going. The trailhead is located off a dirt road that provides access to Shelving Rock Falls, Buck Mountain, and Sleeping Beauty.

The parking lot for Shelving Rock Falls is the farthest one and can be found with the following GPS coordinates on Google Maps (43.553012,-73.5966742). You will take the dirt road for what feels like forever. The parking lot will be located
immediately after a one-lane bridge. On the bridge, there is a very small sign that says “Shelving Rock Falls.”