0 In North America

Chittenango Falls State Park

Located four miles outside of the village of Cazenovia, Chittenango Falls State Park is a must-visit in Central New York. The park’s focal point is an impressive 167-foot tiered waterfall cascading into a scenic gorge carved over millions of years along Chittenango Creek.

chittenango falls state park

One of the best parts about this park is how easy it is to view the falls. While you’ll need to head to the wooden bridge at the bottom of the gorge to take in the entire waterfall, you can also check it out from the top of the falls just steps away from the parking lot.

This also means you can easily enjoy the falls in all four seasons, even when the trail down to the viewing bridge closes during the winter for safety reasons. And if you do walk the Gorge Trail, it’s steep but less than half a mile in length. Low effort, high reward – we love it!

While short in length, the Gorge Trail does have hundreds of steps on one side and a very steep grade. It’s not stroller or wheelchair-friendly. You’ll find multiple vantage points along the trail on both sides of the gorge to view the falls from.

chittenango falls state park

Park History

At Chittenango Falls, you are on Haudenosaunee and Oneida land.

In the 1800s there were multiple mills and factories built around the present-day park. The land with the falls was privately owned by the Boardman family, who allowed members of the public to visit. When a gunpowder manufacturer expressed interest in buying the land from the Boardmans, they instead sold it to Cazenovia resident Helen Fairchild, who promised to keep the falls open to the public.

The park was then run from the late 1800s through the early 1920s by the Chittenango Falls Park Association, formed by Fairchild. In 1922, New York State acquired the land. The park’s size has since increased from 40 acres to almost 200.

Thank you to NY Falls for this helpful info!

chittenango falls state park
Looking down at the main viewing bridge from the east side of the Gorge Trail

Park Activities

In addition to a handful of short trails, the park offers fishing, picnic areas, a playground, and pavilion rentals. While there used to be a campground on-site, it is no longer an option to camp here. And while it may be tempting, swimming and wading in the water below the falls is prohibited, not only for safety reasons but to protect the endangered species conservation area.

Fun fact: Chittenango Falls is home to the Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail, a species that is found nowhere else in the world. The biggest threat to their continued existence is being trampled by humans. Help keep them safe by staying on trails at all times and keeping dogs leashed.

Click here for the full park map.

chittenango falls state park

You Might Also Like: Letchworth State Park

chittenango falls state park

Open Hours and Entrance Fees

The park is open year-round from dawn until dusk.

There’s an automated pay station in the parking lot to collect the $5/vehicle entry fee. If you’re planning on visiting New York state parks on a regular basis, you can purchase an Empire Pass for $80, allowing unlimited access for a year. This pass can be shared with other members of your family as it’s not assigned to just one vehicle. Click here for more details.

Tip: check your local public library to see if they have an Empire Pass that you can borrow for a few days!

chittenango falls state park

2022 Construction Project

There may be limited parking during the 2022 season due to ongoing construction to make improvements to the park.

Get in touch with any questions at (315) 492-1756.

Explore Nearby

Downtown Cazenovia is fun to walk around, full of local businesses like 20 East, H. Grey Supply Co., and The Key Consignment Shop. Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday you can visit Carriage Barn Books, a used book store adjacent to the Cazenovia Public Library housed in a beautiful historic barn from the 1850s. On Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm May through October, the Cazenovia Farmers Market is held at the Village Green by the high school between Emory and Green Street.

H Grey Supply Co Cazenovia
H. Grey Supply Co.

The Pewter Spoon, also in downtown Cazenovia, is one of my favorite cafes in the area. They serve breakfast and lunch every day but Monday and they use Gimme! Coffee for their full coffee menu. I love their iced mochas. Stop by to refuel before or after your visit to the falls.

Head to Lakeland Park at 15 Forman St. to see Cazenovia Lake. The park has a boat launch, pavilions, a playground, and public swimming with lifeguards on duty seven days a week during the summer.

cazenovia lake
Cazenovia Lake

For beer, wine, cider and spirit tasting, Owera Vineyards, Critz Farms, Meier’s Creek Brewing Company, and Madison County Distillery are just a handful of local options. Critz Farms also offers seasonal berry picking and a variety of autumn activities including a corn maze and wagon rides.

opera vineyards cazenovia
Owera Vineyards

You Might Also Like: Green Lakes State Park

critz farms cazenovia
Critz Farms

Enjoy another beautiful waterfall just ~20 minutes from Chittenango Falls at Delphi Falls County Park. Until 2018 Delphi Falls was located on private property, but lucky for us it’s now open to the public!

delphi falls madison county new york

Delphi Falls is even more accessible than Chittenango Falls because you can access the main viewing area along a short stone path that is stroller and wheelchair-friendly.

delphi falls madison county new york

Work is underway to continue expanding and transforming this beautiful area. See the plans and more details here.

What’s your favorite waterfall where you live? Let me know in the Comments!

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chittenango falls state park

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