Chittenango Falls

Cazenovia Lake / Madison County, New York, USA

Rating: 3     Difficulty: 2
Chittenango Falls


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Chittenango Falls is a nice 167ft waterfall in the northeast corner of the Finger Lakes area (not far from Syracuse). We found this waterfall to be quite pleasing to photograph (as you can see in the photo at the top of this page). However, we visited it as part of a waterfall binge of the Western New York region so we probably could have spent a bit more time here in retrospect.

What made this waterfall pleasant to photograph was the way the creek tumbled over multiple steps. Really the only thing that kept my long exposure photos on a tripod from turning out better was the sun somewhat shining against my line of sight.

Chittenango Creek drains from Cazenovia Lake to Oneida Lake and I believe it flows year-round (for it certainly had decent flow when we were there in mid-June). The area was once industrialized in the mid 1800s, but has since become a State Park protecting some rare endangered wildlife and plants. Honestly, we didn't pay attention to the endangered species, and the fact that part of the trail was closed during our visit didn't help matters in that regard.

Speaking of which, the path to the falls can be done in a 1.1-mile loop encompassing both sides of the waterfall. As a result of the closure of half of the loop during our visit, we were just content to see the west side of the falls as well as a frontal view of it from a bridge just downstream of its base. From the car park, a trail led down a series of steps from letting us see the falls from the side as well as from its front.

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Angled view of Chittenango Falls as we descended down stepsAngled view of Chittenango Falls as we descended down steps
Looking down at the uppermost tiers of the fallsLooking down at the uppermost tiers of the falls

Profile view from near the top of the fallsProfile view from near the top of the falls

Side view of the falls while going down stepsSide view of the falls while going down steps

Frontal view of the falls in more contextFrontal view of the falls in more context

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The way we went from Syracuse was actually not the shortest path, but it was the easiest for us to follow and didn't incur additional tolls, and this will be the way we'll describe the directions. So from Syracuse, we took the I-81 south to State Highway Route 20 heading east. We then followed SH20 for another 16 miles entering the town of Cazenovia (right off the southern end of Lake Cazenovia) before turning left onto SH13. We followed SH13 for another 4 miles, where we then saw the established car park area and turnoff to our left. This drive took us about 45 minutes.

For context, Syracuse was 56 miles (over an hour drive) north of Ithaca, 153 miles (2.5 hours drive) east of Buffalo, and 247 miles (4.5 hours drive) northwest of New York City.

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For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.

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Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map

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For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.

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