Upper Carpenter Falls (or just Carpenter Falls) was one of those waterfalls that let us go behind it (albeit unofficially in this case).
We visited this waterfall towards the end of the day during a long drive from Buffalo to Ithaca while visiting other waterfalls in the area. So I’m sure we could’ve explored the trails here a bit more thoroughly than we did, but we at least did what we had to in order to check out the pair of accessible waterfalls here with this one being the easier of the two (the other waterfall being Lower Carpenter Falls). We had read that there were actually four waterfalls here though the two we missed out on were said to be much more difficult to access.
Situated near the west bank of Skaneateles Lake, the 80ft falls was accessed via a narrow and somewhat rougher trail than most other Finger Lakes waterfall trails that we had done up to this point. During our early Summer visit, the flow was already somewhat low so I’m pretty sure it would go dry by mid Summer or later. Even with that said however, I have read that the falls can be quite powerful in Spring.
Towards the end of the the 0.3-mile trail, we had to scramble down a steep path to get to the base of the falls. During the steep scramble, I also noticed an interesting alcove and hole with water seeping through it and hugging the wall on its way down. I’m not sure if this was natural or not, but it was quite cool nonetheless. I don’t think the scramble was an official one so please be careful and take your time if decide to do it.
From Syracuse, head south on the I-81 then take the junction with state route 20 towards the town of Skaneateles on the northern tip of Lake Skaneateles. Just past the lake, turn left onto state highway 41A. Follow this road to Appletree Point Road to your left (after going east for around 20 miles). Turn left onto Appletree Point Road and look for a small car park where hopefully you can leave your car to do the hike (parking seemed limited, but there were certainly some spots over there for us as we arrived here pretty late in the day).
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