Discovering Cohoes Falls

Discovering Cohoes Falls

Overlook Park & Falls View Park

Cohoes, New York – 2019
Overlook Park: Open year round
Falls View Park: Open May 1st – November 1st, sunrise to sunset

The first time I tried to visit Falls View Park, it was March and still closed for the season. Although the sun decided to shine brightly that day, Spring had barely arrived and there was still plenty of patches of snow on the ground. Because I had already stopped, with a great place to park, I decided to walk around. I was terribly curious about this waterfall in Cohoes as well as the history of the city itself.

Not too far away from the Falls View Park parking area, I came across Overlook Park and got my first view of Cohoes Falls. Even from a distance I was thrilled and impressed!

Overlook Park

Overlook Park provides a year round vantage point of Cohoes Falls.
My first view of Cohoes Falls, March 20th.

Even though I got a great view of Cohoes Falls from Overlook Park, I was still disappointed I couldn’t get closer to the falls. I took note of when Falls View Park would be open, and was renewed with the goal of coming back in May.

Falls View Park

July 29th.

Cohoes, NY is about 20 minutes north of Albany, and 30 minutes from Saratoga Springs, so when traffic causes panic or stresses me I’ll generally detour to Cohoes Falls.

For me, Falls View Park has perfect features for a quick jaunt to get the heart pumping and enjoy a little bit of nature.

  • Ample off street parking
  • Historic Features
  • Pedestrian Bridge
  • Challenging Stairs
  • Bird Watching
  • Massive Waterfall!

Although the park itself is small, it can be easy to lose time while experiencing the exhilarating power of Cohoes Falls and the Mohawk River.

Old Erie Canal Lock

Tangible history always excites me!

  • Cohoes had the greatest concentration of locks along the Erie Canal.
Lock 18 of the Enlarged Erie Canal, July 29th.

Pedestrian Bridge

I truly enjoy that you have to cross a bridge to get to the viewing platforms for Cohoes Falls.

Pedestrian bridge over the School Street power canal, May 13th.
Pedestrian bridge over the School Street power canal, July 29th.
  • The pedestrian bridge spanning the School Street power canal is 192 feet long.
Pedestrian bridge over School Street power canal, October 23rd.


Also, I love the challenge of descending and ascending 80+ stairs and being rewarded with an amazing vantage of Cohoes Falls.

Cohoes Falls

“Second only to Niagara – Cohoes Falls, also known as the Great Falls of the Mohawk, is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Rocky Mountains. The Mohawk River plunges nearly a hundred feet here, a navigation obstacle to early explorers, before emptying into the Hudson River. The falls have been regarded as a landmark, a sacred site, a scenic wonder, and a source of power for generations.” Interpretive Sign

  • Enormous quantities of water released from melting glaciers carved this gorge in less than 500 years.
  • Cohoes Falls is a pivotal landmark in the formation of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, the world’s oldest union of free nations.
  • Dutch visitors left written accounts of the Great Falls of the Mohawk River at Cohoes during the 1640s.
  • By 1823 a closely spaced series of locks on the Erie Canal lifted and lowered boats around the falls and rapids, and Cohoes became a gateway to the interior of North America.
May 13th.
July 29th.
September 16th.
October 23rd.
October 26th.

Brookfield Power – School Street Hydropower Plant

Looking across the School Street power canal – School Street Hydropower Plant & Harmony Mills, October 23rd.
A view of the School Street Hydropower Plant from the end of the trail, October 23rd.

Water Power

“Cohoes Falls was harnessed for waterpower. By the mid-1800s a multilevel network of canals powered dozens of Cohoes factories, including Harmony Mills, once the largest textile manufacturing complex in the nation. Since 1915 the water has been used to generate electricity.” Interpretive Sign

Similar Vantage: End of the Trail


I’ve read that the floodplains are open to the public when water levels are safe, but only on weekends between 11 am and 3 pm, which are times I have never been at Falls View Park.


Me, trying to have a steady hand to capture decent photographs of the waterfall while the sun is too bright! What I truly enjoy about these silly photos is my excited and happy is showing freely. I don’t always see that side of me.

Same Vantage of Cohoes Falls – Changing of Seasons

Near the end of the season I took my husband to the falls and I really enjoyed showing him this magical place.

We’re goofy sometimes. He was totally photobombing my waterfall selfie, October 26th.

All information shared was gathered from Interpretive Signs within Overlook Park & Falls View Park or linked to the appropriate website.

All photos taken by me (Alicen).