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Old 07-31-2021, 09:36 AM   #1
hikingandwildex
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New York Waterfalls (And Food & Drink!)

"There are more waterfalls in Upstate New York than in any place in the east." - Robert Dineen, New York State Geological Survey glacial geologist

New York has an abundance of waterfalls scattered throughout the state, including some truly spectacular ones like Niagara, Taughannock, Chittenango, Kaaterskill, Salmon River, and OK Slip Falls to name a few. For the past fifteen years, I have visited nearly 100 waterfalls in the western half of New York State and still haven't gotten around to every notable, publicly-accessible waterfall in the region. There is no shortage of falls to explore in these parts!

In the late-2000s and early-2010s, waterfalling was my outdoors obsession. Armed with informative guides such as NYFalls.com, Falzguy's website, Go Waterfalling, Dig The Falls, and the 200 Waterfalls in Central and Western New York book, I sought out to explore everything I could within reasonable driving distance. Five years ago, I caught the peakbagging bug, resulting in a dramatic shift in my hiking habits. With waterfalling having been relegated to the backburner in recent years, I've only managed to slowly chip away at my lifelong goal to visit every waterfall in the western half of the state.

With this summer being exceptionally rainy, now would be a good time for me to increase the frequency of my waterfall-oriented trips. I'm planning a couple of Finger Lakes trips between now and year's end, and would also like to hike to some of the more impressive falls in Adirondack Park this upcoming winter (I postponed last winter's trip due to covid cases spiking and vaccines not being available at the time).

To kick off this thread, here are some photos I've taken in recent years:


Carpenter Falls, Cayuga County (2018)


Chittenango Falls, Madison County (2018)


Deckertown Falls, Schuyler County (2020)


Dehgayasoh Falls, Livingston County (2019)


French Hill Falls, Ontario County (2020)


Glen Mills Falls, Chautauqua County (2020)


High Falls Gorge, Essex County (2016)


MacIntyre Range, Essex County (2020)


Niagara Falls, Niagara County (2016)


Oak Orchard Falls, Orleans County (2018)


Pratt's Falls, Onondaga County (2018)


Salmon River Falls, Oswego County (2019)


Seneca Mills Falls, Yates County (2021)


Shequaga Falls, Schuyler County (2018)


Taughannock Falls, Tompkins County (2018)


Tinker Falls, Cortland County (2019)


Warsaw Falls, Wyoming County (2020)

Feel free to post any waterfall photos, trip reports, and route descriptions in this thread and I will do the same as I explore more falls in the area.
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Old 07-31-2021, 10:45 AM   #2
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I would definitely recommend hitting some more of the southern Finger Lakes falls. Some of those you posted I've never heard of and look quite nice though.

Grimes Glen, Parish and Clarks Gully are all good (but extremely popular these days) and in western FLR.

Parish:




This one is close to those others and is smaller, and less known:



It's off of the Bristol Hills Finger lakes trail about half mile from a lean to called "Outback Inn".

All of these are pretty extensive hikes if you want them to be with a number of waterfalls each. Each "gully" will have a number of primary or side tributary falls depending on how much of it you want to explore.

Parish is a few miles long and if you start at the lowest elevation there you can walk along the creek or up on the rim. A couple spots its fairly easy to go between the two, other spots, it's a bit sketchy. Same for Clarks.

Another lesser known one near Naples is called Tannery Creek. I won't explain how to get there, because I'm not sure it's legal (might be private property) but it's not impossible to find, and I'm sure not too hard to figure out if it's legal to hike anymore.

Also in that region I can think of a number of other small falls in seasonal drainage gullies leading to the lakes that are on public land. There are trails near some, others require some gully whacking. Pretty much locate the gullies on a map and I bet there will be a falls along it somewhere.

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Old 07-31-2021, 11:30 AM   #3
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I would definitely recommend hitting some more of the southern Finger Lakes falls, although some of those I've never heard of and look quite nice.

Grimes Glen, Parish and Clarks Gully are all good (but extremely popular these days) and in western FLR.

It's off of the Bristol Hills Finger lakes trail about half mile from a lean to called "Outback Inn".

All of these are pretty extensive hikes if you want them to be with a number of waterfalls each. Each "gully" will have a number of primary or side tributary falls depending on how much of it you want to explore.

Parish is a few miles long and if you start at the lowest elevation there you can walk along the creek or up on the rim. A couple spots its fairly easy to go between the two, other spots, it's a bit sketchy. Same for Clarks.

Another lesser known one near Naples is called Tannery Creek. I won't explain how to get there, because I'm not sure it's legal (might be private property) but it's not impossible to find, and I'm not too hard to figure out if it's legal to hike anymore.

Also in that region I can think of a number of other small falls in seasonal drainage gullies leading to the lakes that are on public land. There are trails near some, others require some gully whacking. Pretty much locate the gullies on a map and I bet there will be a falls along it somewhere.
Thanks for the suggestions and pics. Clarks Gully and Conklin Gully are at the top of my Western Finger Lakes wishlist. Will probably do those in the early wintertime. Parish looks really nice. Surprised I've never heard of it before. Grimes Glen was the first hike I remember doing with pandemic-related caution. Looking at the date of the pics I took, that was 3/7/20.

The Southern Finger Lakes is where my biggest gaps are in the region. I'm planning to head out to Ithaca sometime in August to see a few of the waterfalls that I haven't gotten around to yet (looking at Triphammer, Forest, Wells, the ones in the Sweedler/Thayer preserves, and perhaps a return to the Cascadilla Gorge since the pics I took there over a decade ago are extremely crappy). Enfield I'll probably hold off on until it's too cold for all the swimmers who go there in the summertime. Right now it would be too crowded for my liking unless I went there around sunrise.

Fillmore Glen State Park is another place I need to visit sometime; I decided not to go there last year since the main gorge trail was closed.
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Old 07-31-2021, 11:37 AM   #4
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I knew I should have clarified: Parish = Conklin.

I’m from Naples so they are interchangeable in my mind. One is the “official “ DEC name and the other is a local name. I can never remember which is which.

FWIW Tannery is very similar to Grimes so it’s worth looking into. I haven’t been in 20 years so I don’t know the current situation (looks to be accessible still, but details are shady).

Ithaca is a lot like Naples in that there are a number of other lesser known falls. There are far more though and most bigger. Treman is my favorite though and of course justly popular.

Stony Brook is nice too - the farther up you hike the better it is IMO.

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Old 08-04-2021, 11:58 AM   #5
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Watkins Glen is hosting the big NASCAR race this weekend. Not wanting to deal with the increased traffic in the Southern Finger Lakes, I'm going to push back that trip another week or two. Would like to visit sometime before Cornell begins its school year at the end of the month since a few of the waterfalls I'll be seeing are on campus.

My updated weekend plan is to explore a park closer to home that has a small waterfall. It's one of the few remaining publicly-accessible waterfalls in Western New York that I have yet to visit. Will post some pics if there's a decent amount of water flowing.
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Old 08-04-2021, 01:18 PM   #6
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A friend of mine posted a pic of a "seasonal" waterfall in southern FLR on facebook the other day. It was dry as a bone. We DID have a lot of water. Easy come, easy go, I guess...
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Old 08-04-2021, 03:04 PM   #7
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A friend of mine posted a pic of a "seasonal" waterfall in southern FLR on facebook the other day. It was dry as a bone. We DID have a lot of water. Easy come, easy go, I guess...
Wow, that must have dried up fast. Hopefully there will be enough water going over Triphammer Falls, Wells Falls, Cascadilla Falls, and others when I travel out to Ithaca in a week or two.

Looking at Facebook posts of Western New York waterfalls, there has been a similar reduction in water here -- and this week's dry weather certainly won't help any. The waterfall I'm planning to visit this weekend is considered seasonal as well. At least there are other interesting natural features in the park I'll be visiting, so all won't be lost if water levels there are low or nonexistent.
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Old 08-04-2021, 06:09 PM   #8
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Wow, that must have dried up fast. Hopefully there will be enough water going over Triphammer Falls, Wells Falls, Cascadilla Falls, and others when I travel out to Ithaca in a week or two.

Looking at Facebook posts of Western New York waterfalls, there has been a similar reduction in water here -- and this week's dry weather certainly won't help any. The waterfall I'm planning to visit this weekend is considered seasonal as well. At least there are other interesting natural features in the park I'll be visiting, so all won't be lost if water levels there are low or nonexistent.
Yeah, I don't think this particular tributary has any real head to it. I bet it flows wildly when it does rain, and it's probably pretty dry the rest of the time.

I really don't know the hydrology of the ones in Ithaca, but I seem to recall them flowing well when I lived there. I'm sure in summers where we see a drought they do get thin though.

That tall side flow fall in Conklin is very seasonal. It's usually not doing much in the summer except after a thundershower. Probably the best time to see that is in spring, but winter is usually good because it ices up (per the pic). It does build up enough ice to be climb-able at times and I know people have done it.
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Old 08-04-2021, 08:01 PM   #9
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Yeah, I don't think this particular tributary has any real head to it. I bet it flows wildly when it does rain, and it's probably pretty dry the rest of the time.

I really don't know the hydrology of the ones in Ithaca, but I seem to recall them flowing well when I lived there. I'm sure in summers where we see a drought they do get thin though.

That tall side flow fall in Conklin is very seasonal. It's usually not doing much in the summer except after a thundershower. Probably the best time to see that is in spring, but winter is usually good because it ices up (per the pic). It does build up enough ice to be climb-able at times and I know people have done it.
I'm leaning towards doing Conklin/Clark in the winter or spring. Can't completely rule out a multi-day fall outing with an overnight stay at one of the High Tor lean-to shelters, though. Wonder how busy those shelters get compared to ones on the FLT, which for the most part don't see a whole lot of usage.

As long as those Ithaca waterfalls aren't a trickle (like Taughannock was the first time I went there), I'll be good...

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Old 08-04-2021, 08:10 PM   #10
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There is only one legal shelter near Hi Tor, and it's on private land. The ones that are in Hi Tor are reserved for special groups only.

Anyone, the one that used to be open is called Fraley's Lean To. I haven't been up there in years but it's a stick frame building with astroturf. Not my favorite lean to, but it works.

I'd recommend hiking up to Outback Inn which a little way up Italy Valley Road away from Hi Tor. I'd say if you want a scenic trip hike up from Costanza's farm down in the valley - it's a bit of a climb but the grade is consistent. That crosses many intermittent drainages that may be flowing good if it rains. You could then explore the larger drainage past the lean to as well. Just hike up until you cross the next stream from the lean to and find your way down, eventually it'll open up into a really steep drop and a big mud slide and a series of small falls.

I'm really surprised by that Taughannock comp, I've never seen it that dry!
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Old 08-04-2021, 08:26 PM   #11
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There is only one legal shelter near Hi Tor, and it's on private land. The ones that are in Hi Tor are reserved for special groups only.

Anyone, the one that used to be open is called Fraley's Lean To. I haven't been up there in years but it's a stick frame building with astroturf. Not my favorite lean to, but it works.

I'd recommend hiking up to Outback Inn which a little way up Italy Valley Road away from Hi Tor. I'd say if you want a scenic trip hike up from Costanza's farm down in the valley - it's a bit of a climb but the grade is consistent. That crosses many intermittent drainages that may be flowing good if it rains. You could then explore the larger drainage past the lean to as well. Just hike up until you cross the next stream from the lean to and find your way down, eventually it'll open up into a really steep drop and a big mud slide and a series of small falls.

I'm really surprised by that Taughannock comp, I've never seen it that dry!
Thanks for the info on those Hi-Tor shelters. I didn't see any indication of them being off-limits on DEC's page or map, so I figured they were available for public use.

Earlier this summer, I did a steepish hike starting from Italy Valley Road. Not sure if it's the same one you mentioned. The creek there was mostly dry when I went. Here are some pics from that outing: https://peakery.com/west-italy-hill-...ummits/317663/
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Old 08-04-2021, 08:31 PM   #12
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That looks like the opposite side of the valley (at the so-called jump off). So where that trail continues on the South side of the valley should take you up to the Lean To.

That trail is really cool in the older, private section which traverses a gully, but I think FLT lost the rights to it and it's a road section now. Again, I haven't done some of these hikes in years...

If you go to the FLT website and look at the interactive map for the Bristol Hills Branch it will show all the legal sites, and that Outback Inn. I think you'll be able to easily see the trail I'm talking about. It's about 2 miles or so one way up from the valley to the lean to. The creek is about another 1/4-1/3 mile before the trail crosses it.
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Old 08-04-2021, 08:44 PM   #13
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So about those Lean Tos in Hi Tor - I'm surprised the DEC shows them on the map, but I guess they probably refer to that map for groups who use them.

If you look in the actual structures there are signs that indicate they are for overnight group use only. And technically you aren't supposed to camp anywhere else in Hi Tor.

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The following activities are not permitted in High Tor WMA:

Unless specifically stated, using motorized vehicles, including:
all-terrain vehicles
snowmobiles
motorboats
Swimming or bathing
Camping
Using metal detectors, searching for or removing historic or cultural artifacts without a permit
Damaging or removing gates, fences, signs, or other property
Overnight storage of boats
Cutting, removing or damaging living vegetation
Construction of permanent blinds or other structures such as tree stands
Littering
Storage of personal property
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Old 08-04-2021, 08:52 PM   #14
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That looks like the opposite side of the valley (at the so-called jump off). So where that trail continues on the South side of the valley should take you up to the Lean To.

That trail is really cool in the older, private section which traverses a gully, but I think FLT lost the rights to it and it's a road section now. Again, I haven't done some of these hikes in years...

If you go to the FLT website and look at the interactive map for the Bristol Hills Branch it will show all the legal sites, and that Outback Inn. I think you'll be able to easily see the trail I'm talking about. It's about 2 miles or so one way up from the valley to the lean to. The creek is about another 1/4-1/3 mile before the trail crosses it.
I pulled up the FLT's interactive map page to get a better look at the area. I see a camping icon at 42.6417, -77.2587 that's labeled Outback Inn LeanTo. That's actually where I was thinking of staying the night before my recent hike, but ended up making an early-morning drive from WNY instead.

That hike from Italy Valley Road to West Italy Hill is a new BHT section that replaced the old one. Pretty nice trail until you reach the top of the ridge at Wood Hill Road. Then it's all road walking with only a short spur trail leading to a grassy overlook spot. The landowner posted signs instructing hikers to turn around at the viewpoint. One hiker wrote snippy remarks back to the landowner on each of the signs, lmao.

Water levels were low in that section when I went. Here's a pic I took at a fairly benign crossing...



I'll have to check out the other side of Italy Valley Road sometime.
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:27 PM   #15
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Yeah, I looked at your pictures. I kind of deduced they might have changed that section.

The section with the gully is directly after the Wood Hill Rd section and it drops back down into the valley before crossing CR-18 near Flint Creek. East goes up to Outback Inn Lean To, and west is the gully, which I recall being a cool hike but challenging with a heavy pack on, I think the only time I've done that section is a multi-day thru hike of the trail.

But that seems to be the steep section you climbed, as all the rest is road... I must have climbed the older, much cooler trail.

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Old 08-04-2021, 09:36 PM   #16
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In the topo you can see that gully directly to the east and north of the Lean To site. It's pretty easy whacking around there and there are some herd paths, but be careful, the west side gets steep real quick.

IIRC there is an old fire road that runs down the west side of the gully that takes you all the way to the end of the public land. It starts up near the lean to actually and you can follow that down and hike back up the creek.
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:44 PM   #17
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Also just checking the map, the "Fraley" lean to is still shown but with no name.

It's at:

Location: 42.6034, -77.3816 or N42 36.2022 W77 22.8958

It's right on the south edge of Hi Tor, and it's a really nice part. There are a number of man-made ponds up the trail from East Hill Rd and the forest is plantation pine, mostly.
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:48 PM   #18
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In the topo you can see that gully directly to the east and north of the Lean To site. It's pretty easy whacking around there and there are some herd paths, but be careful, the west side gets steep real quick.

IIRC there is an old fire road that runs down the west side of the gully that takes you all the way to the end of the public land. It starts up near the lean to actually and you can follow that down and hike back up the creek.
That gully looks promising on the map. Right near the shelter too. Just added it to my ever-growing hiking wishlist, on the same line as the Conklin and Clark gullies. That would definitely make for an adventurous day or two...

Quote:
Also just checking the map, the "Fraley" lean to is still shown but with no name.

It's at:

Location: 42.6034, -77.3816 or N42 36.2022 W77 22.8958
Thanks. Always good to have more options since those lean-tos in the WMA are off-limits.
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:56 PM   #19
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Personally I use a tent out here. I know of a number of good off the trail tent sites that are much better than the lean tos. They take a little scouting around, but they are there.

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Old 08-04-2021, 10:38 PM   #20
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That gully looks promising on the map. Right near the shelter too. Just added it to my ever-growing hiking wishlist, on the same line as the Conklin and Clark gullies. That would definitely make for an adventurous day or two...
I've done all 3 as a mutli-day backpacking trip. There's a fair bit of road walking but it's one of the more fun backpacking trips in the area.

If you want to fully explore Conklin from the top and bottom (they aren't easy to connect as there is a big, dangerous falls to climb up to get to the rim) as well as Clarks, then it's probably best to stay at Ontario County Park and drive over.

Fall is real nice, but expect low water.




Seems the busiest in summer these days as the majority of users are "creekers" and walk right in the water up to the 50' falls. The rim is less busy I'd say.



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Thanks. Always good to have more options since those lean-tos in the WMA are off-limits.
You bet, looking forward to your pics. I'm not a great photographer but there's probably some potential in the area. Clarks and Conklin for sure.
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