Indian Fort Falls
Geneseo, New York

Location: Central Livingston County, Jones Bridge Road, Geneseo.

The Indian Fort Nature Preserve is owned by the Genesee Valley Conservancy.

Indian Fort Nature Preserve Location Map      Starting from the Village of Geneseo proceed southwards on Route 39 west to the intersection with Route 63. Continue south on Route 63 for 1.2 miles and turn right (west) onto Jones Bridge Road (if you cross Route 390 you have gone too far). The entrance to a parking area for the Indian Fort Nature Preserve is roughly 250 feet from Route 63 and is on the left (south) side of the road. An information kiosk is located a short distance to the west of the parking area.

     Hiking trails in the Indian Fort Nature Preserve are open between sun-up and sun-down. Keep dogs leashed and clean up after them. Hunting, camping, motor vehicles, equestrian, and swimming are prohibited.

     The preserve is named for an Indian Fort built by the Iroquois circa 1,400 - 1,500 A. D. The fort consisted of an eastern and western wall of tall wooden poles known as a palisade. These walls trended in a north-south direction. The northern and southern sides of the fort were open, being protected from approach by deep, steep sided ravines.

Indian Fort Nature Preserve Trail Map

Photo of Indian Fort Falls by Martin Stefanowski      From the parking area proceed to the information kiosk to learn more about the preserve. Follow the trail westwards into the woods and you will quickly come to the junction of the red Falls Trail and the yellow Fort Trail. The yellow Fort Trail is usually less muddy in times of wet weather and is the preferred trail for Indian Fort Falls. After about 800 feet and a short distance before the trail crosses a bridge over the stream there is a spur of the red Falls Trail. Follow this trail a short distance to the northwest. Views of the falls will be to your left (southwest).



Photo of Indian Fort Falls by Amy Daggett

     Indian Fort Falls has a height of around 50 feet and a crest width of about 10 feet. The elevation of the crest is 680 feet above sea level. The stream free falls for a short distance, strikes a series of ledges, and then free falls again to the base of the falls.

Photo of Indian Fort Falls by Amy Daggett     The crest of the falls is Genundewa Limestone. Underlying the limestone are dark gray to greenish-gray layers of Penn Yan Shale which is interbedded with some thin layers of limestone. Beneath the Penn Yan Shale is Geneseo Shale which consists of black to dark gray layers. Beneath the Geneseo Shale occasional lenses of the Leichester Pyrite Bed may be found. All date from the Upper Devonian Age being around 385 million years old. Below the Geneseo Shale is the gray colored Windom Shale which forms the base of the falls. It is interbedded with thin layers of limestone and dates from the Middle Devonian Age.

     A second falls is found at the head of a ravine located to the south of Indian Fort Falls. You can reach it by returning to the yellow Fort Trail and following it southwards for roughly 200 feet to the junction with the blue Huston Trail. Follow this trail for roughly 300 feet and you will reach the area of the South Indian Fort Falls. Construction of Route 360 in the late 1970s changed the drainage in the area and unfortunately the stream bed rarely has water flowing in it. The best times to see the falls flowing would be during the spring snow melt or after a prolonged period of very heavy rain. The falls is much shorter than Indian Fort Falls being comprised of a couple of drops with the steepest being 10 to 20 feet in height.

     The rather small streams that we see today are obviously to small too erode the two deep ravines found in the preserve. Both ravines began to form approximately 15,000 to 13,000 years ago at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation, or ice age. The melting glaciers released tremendous amounts of water and began eroding the ravines and forming the waterfalls.

For a Google Map map of the area click here.

For a Bing map of the area click here.

Web site: Indian Fort Nature Preserve


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