WiseAcre Gardens

north of the adirondacks – wildflowers & perennials that survive winters colder than my wife's feet

Blog Home - For more Wildflower, Perennial, Mushroom and Looney Tunes images visit my web site - Wiseacre Gardens
Posted by WiseAcre on Jan 30th, 2011

Frozen Waterfalls in Canton, NY

Jan 30

…winter grasse – part one

Yesterday’s exposure to the ice on the Oswegatchie River put a chill on my inclination to play with fire. Now my burning passion is to photograph frozen waterfalls. (again please bare with me – this post will load slowly due to the number of photos being displayed)

The waterfalls in downtown Canton, NY are probably the easiest to access in the north country. Parking is handy and a short walk (under a quarter mile) along the Grasse River Heritage Trail loop leads to waterfalls on both sides of the island.

I’ll start on the Main Street (US RT 11) bridge. Looking upriver.

Grasse River - looking upriver from the bridge

Looking downriver. Two open channels mark the river’s path around the island.

Grasse River in Canton, NY

The bowstring bridge connecting the island can be seen in a cropped version of the photo.

bowstring bridge

Looking down at the open channel from the bowstring bridge. Like tree rings the parallel ridges in the snow mark the growth of the ice sheet. A couple more sub-zero nights and the channel should freeze over.

frozen river

The Cascades can be seen looking from the other side of the bridge. No, no, not the falls. I meant my honeymoon retreat, the diner and motel on the far bank. Long story short – I was dairy farming at the time. I could only get off for 3 milkings so we spent our wedding night close to home. Dairy cows are so unromantic.

The Cascades in Canton

A closer look from the bridge at the top of the waterfalls below the Cascades’ dining room. Water flows from two falls in narrow channels meeting near the center of the photo where it disappears under the ice.

frozen waterfalls on the Grasse River

From a lookout point on the trail it is easy to see the chruning water emerging at the bottom of the falls.

water churning at the base of a frozen waterfalls.

I went off the trail to get the next set of photos. I don’t recommend following my lead. You should never trust ice on a fast flowing river.

I didn’t think it’s been all that cold this winter and was surprised to see the waterfalls completely frozen over.

waterfalls on the garsse river completely frozen over

The flat area just in front of me in the photo above is a relatively calm pool. I figured (correctly) it was safe enough to cross to the snow covered rocks just beyond the ice. I really wanted a better shot at the icicles at the bottom of the falls.

bottom of a frozen waterfalls

Winter Whitewater
Between these 2 photos you can get an idea how the river churns at the base of the falls.

winter whitewater

I was tempted to leave my rock perch and go farther but pushing your luck is generally a bad idea. This is as close to the falls as I was willing to risk.

frozen waterfalls in Canton

Whitewater. This is the source of the churning water seen from the lookout point.

white water

After retreating to safer ground I took this photo of the Grasse River below the falls. The islands are only ice sheets that look like they formed around large boulders exposed above the river’s surface.

Grasse River in Canton during the winter

13 photos already? I better stop while I still have your attention.
I hope you return to see the next exciting episode when I once again go somewhere I know better. I still have the other side of the island to show ya.

3 Responses

  1. Randy Says:


    It all looks so cold. Suprised nobody was kayaking in that narrow streach of river.

    We basked today in 65 degree temps, it was so good. The pond might even be melted.

  2. rainfield Says:

    If you show another one more, my desktop will be frozen.

  3. marguerite Says:

    I find it amazing that waterfalls freeze over. I’ve seen it a few times but it still baffles me. All that flowing and churning water makes me think it wouldn’t have time to freeze. Just goes to show how cold it is out there!