Skaneateles, New York
Location: On the west side of Gully Road, 2.3 miles east of the Village of Skaneateles,
along the Guppy Farm Nature Trail.
Starting from the intersection of Routes 20 and 321 in the Village of Skaneateles, proceed eastwards on Route 20 for 0.3 of a mile to a Y intersection with Onondaga Street. Keep to the left and continue heading eastwards. After you pass Highland Avenue, Onondaga Street becomes New Seneca Turnpike. A little over 1.5 miles past Highland Avenue turn left (north) onto Gully Road. At one mile from New Seneca Turnpike watch for a small pull off area on the left (west) side of Gully Road.
The Guppy Farm Nature Trail is a conservation area owned by the Town of Skaneateles. The trail opened to the public in the spring of 2001, and is one mile in length. Tim Rudl, an Eagle Scout, trimmed the trail as his scout project. There are 13 informative stops along trail that provide the hiker an opportunity to discover nature, and how a forest is regenerating on this old farm land. The trail is open year round from sunrise to sunset. There are no restroom facilities.
Hunting is permitted in the conservation area. During deer hunting season visitors to the area must dress appropriately, wearing a hat or other article of clothing in the color of "Hunter or Blaze Orange'', a daylight bright fluorescent orange color. The hunting seasons are prominently posted at the parking area.
From the parking area you have two options to get to the upper viewing area for Guppy Falls. Option one is to walk to the northwest along Gully Road for roughly 800 feet to the starting point of the nature trail, which is on the left (southwest) side of the road. Follow the trail as it turns to the southeast, passing the moss covered rocks that were once the foundation for the Guppy family barn. When you near the parking area the trail turns to the southwest and follows along the top of the gully that the falls is located in. At stop number 9 is the upper viewing area for Guppy Falls. The conservation area officials ask that you do not slide down the gully bank to view the falls from the bottom. Doing so is dangerous and may lead to injury. It also causes unnecessary and unsightly erosion of the gully bank. After viewing the falls continue along the trail which curves around to the northeast and back to the starting point. This hike will cover a little over a mile in distance and will take about an hour to walk at a leisurely pace.
Option two is to climb the stairway at the parking area and follow the trail to the southwest along the top of the gully to the falls. This is roughly a 0.25 mile walk one way.
If you wish to view Guppy Falls from below start from the parking area and walk up the creek bed. Creek walking can be a little tricky so a hiking stick is recommended to help steady yourself. Use caution as the rocks can be very slippery. Take your time and try to disrupt the creek bed as little as possible. About 0.25 of a mile from the parking area you will arrive at the falls. The conservation area officials ask that you do not try to climb out of the gully. Doing so is dangerous and may lead to injury. It also causes unnecessary and unsightly erosion of the gully bank. Return to the parking area the way you came.
Guppy Falls is actually more of a very steep cascade than a true falls. It is 23 feet in height and has a crest that is 12 feet wide. The falls faces to the northeast and has a crest elevation of 840 feet above sea level. There is a slight overhang in the southeast side of the crest. The falls is developed in the Skaneateles Formation of the Hamilton Group. The formation consists of the Butternut, Pompey, and Delphi Station Shale Members, and the Mottville Sandstone Member. The Skaneateles Formation dates from the Middle and Early Devonian Period, roughly 390 to 415 million years ago.
William Guppy, of England, came to the Skaneateles area in the early 1850's. Here he married Ann Carrington, also an immigrant from England. They built a house and started a dairy farm about 80 acres in size on the west side of Gully Road. William and Ann had eight children. Ann died in 1881 and William died the following year. The farm was abandoned and nature slowly began to reclaim the land.
For a Map Quest map of the area click here.
In January of 2001 the Town of Skaneateles acquired the Guppy property from Kathleen Evans. Then Town Supervisor Paul W. "Bill" Pavlus and the members of the Town Board wanted to preserve this undeveloped area of the town for future generations. They envisioned a nature trail so hikers could view Guppy Falls and learn about this interesting area.
The name Skaneateles (pronounced "Skanny atlas") comes from the Iroquois name for Long Lake (the lake is 16 miles long). It is the highest in elevation of all the Finger Lakes at 863 feet above sea level.
Town of Skaneateles Historian Elizabeth Batlle contributed information to this page.
For a ACME Mapper 2.0 map of the area click here.
Web site: Town of Skaneateles Conservation Areas
Copyright © 2008 by Scott A. Ensminger.
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