The Chittenango Falls State Park is another park slated for closure by New York State government, due to
politicians’ mismanagement of taxpayers’ money lack of funds. It’s a lovely park, and I would hate to see it closed. We visited the park a few years ago. It is one of the crown jewels of Madison County. And Chittenango Falls is exquisite.
Chittenango Falls is about 170 feet high. The gorge, as you can see in the photo above, is enormous. There is no doubt that a whole lot of water once flowed down this creek.
The park is very woodsy. Admission for us (a minivan with four kids) was $6. There are no amusements at this park, and the trails are short (some were closed; I suspect it was because of the severe flooding we had before our visit that summer of 2006). But the “atmosphere” was right up our alley– thickly wooded forests, roaring water, lots of green space, benches, and beautiful stonework. The kids were enthralled with watching tufted titmouse birds dive and spin with vicious acrobatic moves over the water (we figured they were catching bugs). Chipmunks scurried everywhere, walnuts, dropping from trees, were just begging to be opened, and there were amazing fossils to be found in the large stone slab steps.
There were fossils in the stone stairs. The kids loved discovering them. According to Wikipedia, the Chittenango Falls park is home to the “endangered Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail (Novisuccinea chittenangoensis).”
Live specimens of the Chittenango snail cannot be found anywhere else on Earth.
I love that Latin word for Chittenango: chittenangoensis. We did not spot any snails.
We enjoyed terrific views of the falls at all levels: above, looking straight down, halfway down, below, and down the Chittenango Creek a bit. I liked the trails best of all. Walking down the trail to the gorge below was no easy feat. The trail was rocky and steep, and narrow at times. I guess that is part of what made it fun– it was adventurous!
The trail begins at the top of the falls. There are a lot of areas convenient to the view.
There were logs and other mangled debris snagged to the rocks. It can be safe to surmise that all this junk was a result from the Big Floods of June 2006 here in Upstate New York.
You can see the wooden footpath in the photo above. A steep trail takes you directly to it. Click the picture if you want a larger view, and then click “All Sizes” for a very large photo.
We made our way down to the gorge toward the creek.
The mulch trails were sometimes a little slippery. This is not a place to wear high heels, ladies. Believe it or not, we’ve been hiking at other places, and some of the women actually had high heels.
Here we are on the footbridge over the creek.
The footbridge leads to more paths, and we wanted to take them, but it was blocked off. A barrier with a sign said that due to the flooding, the trails on this part of the falls was closed. Rats.
We didn’t stay as long in the gorge as we liked. The heat and humidity was unbearable– it was 85 degrees (F) even at 6:30pm. I’d read that down here in the gorge the humidity is about 100%. It definitely felt that way for us. The forest literally sweated around us. The creek looked so terribly inviting, but wading was not allowed. The creek is Chittenango Creek.
This is our idea of a vacation day: quiet, outdoors, near water. You’ll NEVER find me at DisneyLand or Enchanted Forest, ugh. The only thing I wished we could have done was hopped in the water on such a scorcher of a day.
The view of the falls is best in this area.
We continued on our journey, and the trails opened up to a nice picnic area.
There are restrooms and shady places to sit here. It would have been nice to have brought a picnic lunch. Too bad we didn’t, because it was lunchtime and we were hungry now.
Time to make the arduous hike back up to the parking area.