This week we’re back in Stony Brook State Park for the second of the two waterfalls that I painted from this park – Lower Falls. Stony Brook State Park is located off NY 36 just off I-90 by Dansville, New York in Steuben County.
The park has almost 600 acres with campgrounds, cabins, stream-fed swimming areas, basketball court, tennis courts, baseball fields, volleyball court, and picnic areas.
It has three moderate hiking trails which are each about a mile long. The Gorge Trail runs right along the creekbed and passes by two of the three main waterfalls of the park – Lower Falls and Middle Falls.
Lower Falls is the first waterfall that you come to along the Gorge Trail. It is a 36 foot cascade with a 40 foot crest. The trail goes right along it so you’re able to view it from many different angles, including the top looking down.
The park itself became a popular summer tourist spot in the late 19th century, following the construction of the railroad in 1883. Hints of the old railroad that traveled through the park can be found further up the trail where cement trusses still stand. The station was located where the campground office is now.
By the 1920s the resort fell into decline and New York State bought the land and established the state park in 1928. (It’s weird to think that 1928 was over 90 years ago now.)
During the Great Depression era in the 1930s, the Civilian Conversation Corps and the Works Progress Administration made several improvements to the hiking paths, bridges, picnic areas, and buildings.
Painting Stony Brook Lower Falls
I think my favorite part about this particular waterfall is that it appears to fall straight down while still maintaining contact with the rock behind it. This makes it unique when compared to the other 49 waterfalls in my 50 New York Waterfalls series. One of the challenges while painting this piece was that the waterfall is mostly in shadow. It did however have some warm evening light illuminating the top which introduced an interesting warm vs. cool contrast to the painting.