Frontenac Falls
Camp Barton, Trumansburg, New York

Location: Southeastern Seneca County, Camp Barton, nine miles north of Ithaca.

     Frontenac Falls is located in Camp Barton which is owned by the Boy Scouts of America. It is generally not open to the public, however Scout groups and supporters of Scouting may be granted access. It is possible to arrange a private tour of the falls but you must contact the Camp Barton Ranger in advance. Visitors must not hinder the operations of the camp in any way or damage camp property.

How to contact Camp Barton for access to Frontenac Falls.

By mail:
          Council Office: Baden-Powell Council, BSA - P.O. Box 66, Binghamton, NY 13903
          During camp season: Camp Barton, BSA - 9640 Frontenac Road,
                                              Trumansburg, NY 14886
By phone:
          Council Office: (607) 648-7888 or 877-674-8876 (toll free)
          Fax: (607) 648-7895
          Camp phone: (607) 387-9250

By E-mail:
          Camp Barton Staff Advisor Gary Decker at:
          General Delivery E-mail:

Directions to Camp Barton

     Starting from Ithaca follow Route 89 north to Taughannock Falls State Park. About 1.5 miles past the park entrance and immediately after crossing the bridge over Trumansburg (sometimes called Frontenac) Creek, look for a Camp Barton sign at the right hand corner of Frontenac Road. Turn right on Frontenac Road. The road will curve to the right as you drive down the hill. The Ranger Station is on your right, short distance from the bottom of the hill and before crossing the creek. The main entrance to Camp Barton is on your right about 600 feet past the bridge.
     Please note that Frontenac Road is a loop road. While traveling on Route 89 you'll pass by the southern half of the loop about 1 mile from the state park. Both ways will take you to Camp Barton, but the southern half of the loop is rough and unpaved.

     The Camp Barton Ranger will provide you with the best directions to reach the waterfall. As the trail nears the falls it crosses the creek on a wooden foot bridge. Or you may want to walk up the creek from here. If so, be prepared to get your feet wet.

Frontenac Falls

     The crest of Frontenac Falls has an elevation of 520 feet and is roughly 11 feet wide. The falls is located at the end of a hanging valley just like Taughannock Falls which is located a few miles to the south. But Trumansburg Creek drains a smaller area and does not have the erosive power of Taughannock Creek. Frontenac Falls has eroded a gorge only 1,800 feet long while the gorge downstream of Taughannock Falls is almost a mile long.

     As the waters of Trumansburg Creek tumble over the crest of Frontenac Falls they gradually fan out to about 70 feet in width at the base. This cascading "A" shaped or fan waterfall has a vertical drop of 128 feet while the cliffs in the large surrounding amphitheater approach 200 feet in height. The creek bed at the base of this falls is developed in black Geneseo Shale while the face of the falls and surrounding cliffs are developed in the Sherburne Formation. It is a mixture of gray shales and buff sandstones that are more resistant to erosion than the Geneseo Shale.

Click on a photo below to enlarge it.

     Around 1870 a hotel was built on Frontenac Point which was then known as Frog Point, or Point Deposit. The hotel was sold in 1878 to Thomas O'Connell and his brother Martin, who changed the name to the Frontenac Hotel in honor of the famous Cayuga Lake steamboat the Frontenac.

     The steamboat Frontenac started operating on March 26, 1874. It was a double deck side-wheeler and provided reliable passenger transportation along the length of Cayuga Lake. She was regarded as the Queen of all the Cayuga Lake steamboats. It was destroyed by fire on the evening of July 27, 1907 and eight lives were lost. It is presumed that the steamboat was named in honor of Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac et de Palluau the Governor General of New France from 1672 to 1682 and from 1689 to his death in 1698.

     Camp Barton was established by Sam Bogan at Taughannock Falls in 1924 and moved to Frontenac Point in 1927. For information on the history of Camp Barton go to A History of Camp Barton, BSA.

For a Map Quest map of the area click here.

For a ACME Mapper 2.0 map of the area click here

Web sites: Camp Barton    Baden-Powell Council BSA    Boy Scouts of America

Copyright 2008 by Scott A. Ensminger.
This information may not be reproduced without written permission.

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