Conklin Gully: Full of Falls

August 21, 2011 at 7:00 am 1 comment

Finger Lakes Summer

A heavy rain the night before left pools full and surfaces glistening

I love gully hiking. Gully hiking with waterfalls and frogs are a plus, and Conklin Gully has lots of both. This gully is a spectacular treasure that has views on par with Watkins Glen, but is much less travelled and beautifully preserved.  The day I chose to hike was a perfect 70 degrees. There had been a heavy rain the night before so the creek was flowing nicely, and the rocks were glistening with color.

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One frog that was not afraid of me

Finger Lakes Summer

Here is the spot where you can park, right next to Parrish Hill Rd.

Conklin Gully is located in the High Tor Wildlife management Area at the south end of Canandaigua Lake, just north of the town of Naples. The easiest way to access the Gully is via a parking lot on RT 245 (Rushville Rd), just before Parish Hill Rd.

Finger Lakes Summer

Circular rock walls rise up from the creek bed

This is a hike that requires you to wear good shoes and to be able to hike in the stream. It can be very slippery in parts and if you continue up past several of the smaller waterfalls you are faced with much steeper climbs, requiring the use of ropes, tree roots and reckless confidence.

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Every turn brings a beautiful new set of waterfalls

Each bend in the stream presents a new breath-taking view of cascading water over angular planes of stone. Many of the waterfalls are 10’high or less. Sometimes the walls are mossy and lined with ferns, and sometimes you look up 100 feet, at sheer cliff walls.

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I'm still seeing this image when I close my eyes.

Several falls up I encountered a really bizarre sight. I pulled myself gingerly up over the top of a broad rock ledge only to face a solid carpet of dead millipedes. I must have discovered the sacred burial grounds!

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At this point there were no more ropes, trails or easy ways up. My kinda fun.

I followed the creek up for about 90 minutes and never ran out of creek bed. I finally came to a waterfall too high, slippery and steep to scale. Looking for the path where others had gone, I scrambled up several hundred feet of a very steep hillside, using stone ledges, tree roots and tree trunks. Warning:  Don’t look down until you get to the top.

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This is why you have to climb up to the top — so you can look back down

At the top I found a well-marked trail with red blazes. I followed that for another 15 minutes until I saw a wooden box mounted on a tree marked FLT.

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View from the red ridge trail.

At this point I heard the first rumblings of thunder. I turned around and started trotting back down hill. The red rail led to a blue trail. The blue trail led to the parking lot. I climbed into my car just as it started to pour.

This was the perfect hike. If you wanted to take younger children on this gully hike, the first half mile is pretty safe and full of frogs and waterfalls.

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Gully Map showing ridge trail (approximate) on south side.


Entry filed under: Activities, Canadaigua Lake, Finger Lakes, Hiking, Naples, Trails. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Debra  |  August 21, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Amazing photos! I can’t wait to add this spot to my hiking list.


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