115 votes

Cohoes Falls View Park

231 N Mohawk St, Cohoes, New York 12047 USA

  • Independent
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“Mohawk for canoe falls”

Cohoes Falls [Kahon:ios, Mohawk for "Canoe Falls"] is a waterfall on the Mohawk River shared by the city of Cohoes and the town of Waterford, New York. Discovered by the indigenous Mohawk tribe, the falls were originally called Ga-ha-oose or Ga-ho'n'-yoos, which is believed to mean "The Place of the Falling Canoe." Cohoes historian Arthur Masten wrote in his 1880 history that the phrase might mean "Potholes in the River," referring to the potholes that appear in the riverbed when it is dry. In the oral tradition of the  Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), the Cohoes Falls are the site where The Great Peacemaker, performed a feat of supernatural strength, convincing the Mohawk people to become the founders of the Iroquois League of Nations or Confederacy. Some historians believe the Mohawks launched the Confederacy as early as 1142 CE, though other experts report dates ranging from 1450-1650. Engraving of the Cohoes Falls in 1778, one of the earliest images of the falls.Celebrated by 18th-century travelers in letters and journals, the Cohoes Falls, also called The Great Falls of the Mohawk, were regarded as the second most beautiful cataract in New York State after Niagara. In 1804, the national poet of Ireland, Thomas Moore, visited Cohoes and wrote a paean to the waterfall's beauty: "Lines Written at the Cohos, or Falls of the Mohawk River."In 1831, town leaders built a dam across the Mohawk River to harness the power of the falls to fuel the turbines of the city's burgeoning textile industry. Over the next several decades, the predominant company, Harmony Mills, became the largest manufacturer of cotton in the United States, thanks to its control of local water rights. When all the mills closed in the wake of the Great Depression, city leaders neglected the potential of the falls for tourism. They leased the flow rights to a series of power companies, including Niagara Mohawk and Orion owner. Cohoes Falls in Winter - Very Low. Cohoes Falls in Spring - High Volume. Cohoes Falls in April - Dry.The Erie Canal was planned to overcome the navigational barrier of the Cohoes Falls. The original "Clinton's Ditch", the Erie Canal of 1825, was built through the city of Cohoes. The later Enlarged Canal was realigned, yet still went through the City of Cohoes. The Barge Canal, which opened in 1918, bypasses Cohoes and runs though the Village of Waterford via the Waterford Flight of Locks.The Cohoes Falls is 90 feet (28 m) high and 1,000 feet (305 m) wide. Its flow is most impressive in springtime, sometimes running at 90,000 cubic feet (2,500 m3) of water per second, but as the season changes, there is less water for the falls because so much of the flow is diverted at the Crescent Dam to the Barge Canal through Lock 6. Most of the water is still diverted for power generation; some is diverted for the Cohoes water supply. During the summer, the falls are virtually dry, revealing shale rock formations that have their own distinctive beauty. The 87-year average flow of the Mohawk River at Cohoes is 34,638 cubic feet per second, but this includes water diverted to the power plant and Erie Canal locks.

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Reviewed by

  • Road Warrior
  • 401 Reviews
  • 289 Helpful
September 14, 2014
Rated 5.0

Nice place to stop and admire nature. It was a bit difficult to find it due to the lack of signs at the road but it was totally worth all the trouble when we stopped.

The sound of the waterfalls relaxed our souls and we also took some lovely photographs there.

There were loads of explanatory signs within the place with educational content.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 9 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
June 20, 2018
Rated 4.0

This was interesting and easy to find. I wish you could get a little closer but definitely a good stop.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Tony Seely

  • 26 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
May 13, 2021
Rated 3.0

Small park with a great view of the falls. These falls are part of a large electrical generation system that is onsite. Parking was on the street in the surrounding neighborhood and it's easy to miss the entrance. A short but nice stop on your trip.

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Reviewed by
Nancy Sewell

  • 1,228 Reviews
  • 388 Helpful
February 10, 2017

One can gain access to the park by walking from North Mohawk Street on a footbridge over the power canals. The four-acre Falls View Park is adjacent to Brookfield Renewable Power’s School Street hydroelectric generating facility. Interpretive panels can be found in Fall Views Park’s canal-side plaza which were created by the National Park Service.

Visitors to Falls View Park can now enjoy a wide range of recreational and historical features including:

A two-bus, drop-off area and an informational kiosk along North Mohawk Street;
A 192-foot-long pedestrian bridge spanning the School Street power canal from North Mohawk Street to the primary overlook area;
Primary and secondary overlook areas with views of the falls and access to nearby trails;
Americans with Disability Act (ADA)-compliant facilities such as fishing platforms. These platforms are topped with IPÊ wood, a strong, dense wood, harvested only from naturally sustainable forests.
This fire-resistant wood has very high wear durability in daily use, and is resistant to splintering and checking; and
An 80-person amphitheatre.
HOURS: The carry in/carry out park will be open during daylight hours from May through October. Off-street parking is available for park visitors.

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Cohoes Falls View Park

231 N Mohawk St
Cohoes, New York
12047 USA

Hours not available

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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