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Waterfall Wednesday: Chittenango Falls

Chittenango Falls Overlook, photograph, 2018

Today’s featured waterfall is Chittenango Falls in Cazenovia, New York.  This waterfall is located in Central NY east of Syracuse in Chittenango Falls State Park. 

Chittenango Falls State Park is 193 acres.  It has multiple hiking trails, picnic areas, and places to fish.  At the top of the park is an overlook where the top portion of the falls can be viewed. 


Chittenango Falls is a 167 foot staircase cascade.  The water that goes over the falls travels from Cazenovia Lake through Chittenango Creek and empties into Oneida Lake in Syracuse.      

There is a trail that leads right down to the waterfall and across the creek.  The trail is less than half a mile but has many steep steps.  (Maybe not the best waterfall to visit in flipflops after being at the lake.)  

Chittenango Falls State Park, photograph, 2018

Rare Species

Due to the unique damp, rocky environment created around this waterfall there are multiple species of rare plants and animals that call this area home.  The rare plant life includes the Hart’s Tongue Fern and the succulent Roseroot.  

Chittenango Falls, photograph, 2018

The Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail, or Novisuccinea chittenangoensis, is a species that is unique to Chittenango Falls State Park.  The snail thrives on the high humidity and concentrated calcium created by the limestone bedrock.  This snail is listed as a Federal Endangered Species and their greatest risk is from being trampled from humans visiting the waterfall area who go outside the marked trail. 

A Little History

Chittenango Falls, photograph, 2018

Like many other waterfalls in New York, Chittenango Falls was home to industrial mills in the 1800’s.  In 1866 the original 40 acres of the park were sold to Cazenovia resident Helen Fairchild who managed the area as a park for the public until 1922.  At that time the park became owned by the state who expanded it to the 193 acres seen today.  

Painting Chittenango Falls

Painting Chittenango Falls was a lot of fun.  For this particular waterfall I concentrated on the details of the stones in the creek and the rushing current flowing throughout.  Something that made this waterfall different than others in my project of 50 New York Waterfalls was that it was well-lit by the evening sun.  Many waterfalls are surrounded by shadowy gorges so it was a nice change of pace to have a scene with plenty of natural sunlight. 

This was my first visit to Chittenango Falls State Park.  Have you visited this waterfall before?  

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