Vernooy Falls Trail: Waterfalls & Mill Ruins

The delightful Vernooy Kill Falls trail leads to one of the funnest spots in The Catskills.

Hike Length: 3.3 miles (5.31 km)

Total Ascent: 600ft (183m)

Intensity: Moderate Catskills Hike

Route Type: Out-and-Back

Includes: Blazed Trail, Stream Crossing

Parent Samson

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vernooy falls waterfall

Vernooy Falls upper waterfall

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 A straight-forward out-and-back to Vernooy Falls

Hiking Trail Description

Vernooy Falls is a very popular four-stage waterfall near Riggsville in the Town of Rochester, New York.

The trail is short and moderate, but tends to be muddy, so pack your hiking boots. Your sneakers will take a dunking here.

Note 1: The falls themselves, being rocky and open, are a magnet for rattlesnakes in the warmer months.

Note 2: This hike can be extended in three special ways. See Vernooy Falls Trail Secrets.

Vernooy Falls Trail

The Vernooy Kill Falls hiking trail includes…

  • Beautiful forested trail
  • Sweet footbridges
  • Multi-stage waterfalls
  • Vernooy Mill ruins

Allow 2 hours for this hike.


This lot is very large and easy to get to.

The trailhead is across the street from the lot’s entrance.

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Vernooy Falls Trail Notes & Gallery

The trial begins with a hemlock stand. Along this trail, you’ll also see plenty of eastern white pine and mountain laurel. The trail is lovely.

Follow the red blazes.

Listen for lots of woodpecker action.

mossy covered log fallen
Mossy woodpecker log

Moss on log

Moss on log

Not far from the beginning, there’s one tricky stream crossing with lots of blowdown.

Pass over this beautiful footbridge over a brook that drains Wet Willy Swamp.

footbridge in the woods passing over a small brook
Footbridge over Wet Willy drainage

The trail climbs and passes through several stands of hemlock and mountain laurel.

Eventually, the trail passes over a high point and begins to trend downhill.

Very soon, right before the falls, there’s a legal campsite on the left side of the trail.

And then you arrive at Vernooy Falls footbridge.

 Warning! In warmer months, this hike includes potential exposure to rattlesnakes.

Vernooy Falls

The falls are very large. I explored them on both sides of the footbridge.

long footbridge over small falls
Vernooy Falls Footbridge

I can’t wait to get back here in winter, when everything is frozen.

vernooy falls waterfall
Upper Vernooy Falls

vernooy falls footbridge
Footbridge over Vernooy Kill

Mill Ruins

Check out these amazing ruins. This is an absolutely fantastic destination. It would be stunning on foggy morning.

This stone wall is a remnant of the Vernooy Mill which 200 years ago was a major crossroads where farmers near and far brought their grain for milling. [Source: NYS DEC Catskill Hikes.]

old stone wall ruins
Mill ruins at Vernooy Falls


old stone wall mill ruins
Mill ruins at Vernooy Kill

On the way back down to the trailhead, you get to pass that sweet little footbridge again…

footbridge in woods
Footbridge over Wet Willy drainage

Similar Hikes

This hike can be extended in three special ways. See Vernooy Falls Trail Secrets.

Check this list of waterfall hikes, and this list of short hikes.

I think this hike is short enough and non-strenuous enough to qualify as nature walk.

It’s also a pretty family-friendly hike.

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The parent mountain for this hike is Samson.

If you do this hike, LMK how it went…

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Trailhead Info for this Hike

Very large, popular lot

Google Maps Location: 41.864223, -74.346290

The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead

Cell Service

No cell service at the trailhead or anywhere in a long hike that I noticed. My network is Verizon. YMMV.