Chittenango Falls State Park, Chittenango, NY

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.

Beautiful Chittenango Falls

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.

Looking Down the Falls

Debris from Floods

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.

Footpath over Creek

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.

Down to Chittenango Gorge

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.

Gorge Trail

Here we are on the footbridge over the creek.

On the Foot Bridge

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.

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.

The Falls 2

We continued on our journey, and the trails opened up to a nice picnic area.

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.

Arduous Trek Up

Stone Stairs

Chittenango Falls

About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

Comments (9)

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  1. […] 24, 2006 After our excursion to Lorenzo House and Chittenango Falls State Park, we drove up to Route 23 and to Peterboro Road in the town of Fenner, Madison County. There are […]

  2. […] Chittenango State park, Chittenango, NY: This was our summer visit to a lovely state park in Central New York. The waterfall here is stunning. See the photos for yourself! And the falls are home to the acclaimed Novisuccinea chittenangoensis. Yes, it’s true! […]

  3. […] Here we are, high at the top of Chittenango Falls. I am looking down the waterfall in this photo. I am leaning up against a rail to take the shot. It was scary but fun! Hm, maybe I should give some thought to term insurance if I am going to live so dangerously, eh? It was a lovely visit. Read all about our journey here. […]

  4. Alicia Hill says:

    could you please let me know if i could have a big gathering there with my family maybe about 50 or more and is there a charge and could you let me know if we could bring food to cook and if i need to reserve an area thank you

  5. Alicia Hill says:

    could you please let me know if i need to reserve an area there for a large group of people

  6. Ryan says:

    How is it possible for the richest country in the world, not to have enough funds to keep this beautiful park open. It defies belief, love the waterfalls.

    • Hi Ryan! It is a beautiful park.

      Unfortunately, this richest country is too preoccupied padding the politicians’ and bankers’ payrolls to concern themselves about waterfalls or waterfall lovers. 🙁

  7. PM61 says:

    Found your site via Google where I was looking for images from Central NY where I was raised. (Thank you for sharing your travels.) It is a shame that this beautiful park and other are being closed. I recommend a visit to Pixley Falls State Park north of Rome. It has a 50-foot waterfall and hiking trails. Unfortunately the NYS web site says it is closed at this time for a bridge renovation and if/when it reopens it will be for day use only. No camping anymore. How sad that the natural resources of NYS are being neglected.

  8. paul says:

    Not a big deal but the falls are located in Cazenovia NY. I grew up in Cazenovia which is a beautiful tourist village with a lovely lake (Cazenovia lake) I enjoyed both the lake and falls very much growing up and could never understand why they were named after the town of Chittenango when they are located in Caz? Selfish I guess… Wonderful photos and great review!!!!