About The Site
The High Falls Conservation Area is home to Columbia County’s highest waterfall. The wooded trails bring visitors to a dramatic overlook with views of the falls and provide access to the Agawamuck Creek. The Agawamuck Creek flows northwest until eventually joining the Claverack Creek on its way to the Hudson River. You can enjoy several hiking trails at High Falls, as well as fishing.
What to Do Here
- Hike – trails are easy to moderate
- Cross-country Ski
- Fishing (Permit Required)
- Now you can enjoy a guided tour using the Vizzit App! Click here to tour the T-Trail! Click here to tour the Creek! Click here to tour the Red Trail!
- Join CLC in the Hike Five Challenge by hiking this site or at least 5 any of our 10 Public Conservation Areas and you’ll be eligible to receive a prize! Click HERE for more information and to download your entry form!
High Falls is exceptionally rich in cultural history. The Agawamuck Creek and these falls have been an important part of Philmont’s history and development. Dense locust stands and large oaks and maples that are found along the trail system tell a story of past logging.
In the early 19th century hydropower was the chief source of energy for industry; the water provided by the creek led to the growth of a bustling town called Factory Hill which was later renamed Philmont. Through the construction of a dam atop High Falls and a series of aqueducts and diverter dams, enough hydropower was harnessed to provide power for a total of 17 mills during Philmont’s heyday. The dam above High Falls, which was built in 1845, is visible from the viewing area, and the old mills still stand on the creek’s northern slopes. By the 1950s new technologies marked the end of many mills across the country, and as a result most of the mills in Philmont were closed by the end of the decade. In the mid-1990’s the landowner at that time contacted CLC to explore how the property could be made available to the public.