Clarendon Falls

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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: Hamlet of Clarendon; Town of Clarendon; Orleans County; New York.

Maps: Google Map, Bing MapsMulti -map (topo); Interactive.

GPS/Locations: Falls: (N 43.19184 / W 78.06629)
Parking: (N 43.19202 / W 78.06518)

Directions: Take Rt 104 to Rt 237 (Morganville Rd) south for three miles through Holley. Continue on 237 (now Holley Byron Rd) south another three miles to the village of Clarendon. Just past the intersection with 31A will be a small park to the west.

Or use Google Directions.

Parking: Parking in the small turnaround off of Holley-Byron Road in front of the park. Space for about 5 cars.

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Latest Clarendon, New York, weather conditions and forecast

Number of falls: 1

Size/Types: A 25 ft cascade; lit by a single lamp at night.

Best time to visit: Early spring or after heavy rain.

Flow: Low, often just a trickle or completely dry in summer.

Waterway: A tributary to Sandy Creek, which travels north to join the West Branch in Murray, NY.

Time: Visible from the parking lot or a quick walk across the lawn to the base of the falls.

Seasons/Hours: The village park is open daily from 6am until 10pm; year-round.

Admission: Free

Handicap accessibility: View it from the parking area, otherwise it’s a 50 yard walk across a grass lawn.

Pets: Allowed on leash.

Accommodations: Open pavilion; bench; port-a-potty.

Contact Information

Description

It took us several trips to Clarendon in order to catch this falls with an amount of flow that would show up well on camera. Our best advice is to get there shortly after (or during) a long period of heavy rain or during the spring thaw. With a decent amount of flow the falls is a nice one, with a soothing sound and picturesque view, set against the wooded hillside in a small community park in the village of Clarendon. In low flow, it is a mossy, muddy mess – not worth the 40 minute trek west from Rochester.

The park, often used for small get-togethers, neighborhood games of catch, and of course checking out the falls, is mostly mowed grass with a small bridge crossing the creek and leading into a wooded area along the cliff. You can’t view the falls from this area, but it is worth checking out to see the foundation of an old mill that once tapped the power of the falls.

In this seemingly flat town, the rock escarpment that Clarendon Falls tumbles down, seems a bit out of place. It’s actually a three-mile long escarpment, of which this falls is on the northern end. The creek passes by a private residence atop the cliff and then cascades about twenty-five feet down mossy limestone. At the bottom, the creek is shallow (with no pool), rocky, and quickly turns toward the south. There is a wooden pole that carries a spotlight directed at the falls, but we have yet to see the falls lit up at night.

Most of the year, the falls is a small trickle. With the amount of mud and moss covering the creek bed, it can be an ugly sight in low flow. It is best to visit in early spring or after heavy rain.

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Clarendon Falls Videos

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Clarendon Falls

Clarendon Falls Audio

Hiking / Walking Trails

Difficulty: Easy.

Markings: None.

Distance: About 5 feet from the parking area.

It’s just a short walk across the lawn to the falls. You can park yourself on the bench to relax, or trek across the stones in the creek to get to the base of the falls. “No Trespassing” signs signify that the land to the right of the park and falls is off-limits. There is a private residence above the falls. Follow the creek downstream to get to a small bridge that takes you back into the wooded area.

Map: Interactive map.

Clarendon Falls Interactive Map

Drag the map or click the arrows to move around and use the +/- to zoom in or out. Click on the icons for more information. This map is not accurate. Caution and common sense should be used when hiking.

View Clarendon Falls in a larger map

History

The town has it roots in the story of a lost horse. In 1810, Eldridge Farwell tracked a lost horse south from Ridge Road and came upon Clarendon Falls. Realizing the potential of the falls for power generation, he relocated there the following year and soon built a cabin, saw and grist mills; essentially founding Farwell’s Mills, NY. When Orleans County was formed in the 1820’s, the Farwells renamed the settlement to Clarendon after their hometown in Vermont.

Source: Orleans County Historical Association

Interesting Stuff

Fossils

Pioneer cemeteries

The town of Clarendon has five pioneer cemeteries: Maplewood (just south of the main hamlet) on NY Rt. 237; Robinson Burial Ground (about 2 miles south of the hamlet) also on NY Rt. 237; Glidden Cemetery on Glidden Road; Christian Graveyard (on Hibbard Road—the first official cemetery in town), and Cook Cemetery on Munger Road. Today, the area’s main cemeteries are also located in Clarendon—Hillside Cemetery and St. Mary’s Cemetery—adjacent to each other at the northern boundary with the town of Murray.  Source: Orleans County Historical Association

Holley Canal Falls

Nearby Holley Falls is a man-made waterfall set in beautiful red Medina Sandstone. A waste-water drainage outlet for the Erie Canal; the falls dumps into Sandy Creek and is only a few minutes north of Clarendon.

Photography Tips

Low flow

  • This is a small creek with very low flow. Visit right after heavy rain.
  • If you get here and the flow doesn’t make for decent photos, head northeast to Holley Falls.

Silky water effect

  • To get that smooth cotton-candy look to the falls, you need to use a Neutral Density (ND) filter on your lens. The ND filter will block some of the light from entering the lens without altering the color, and thus allow your shutter to stay open longer. This blurs the water and creates a soft white gloss to the foamy areas of the falls. You can pick up a Neutral Density (ND) filter relatively cheap on Amazon.
  • Cut down on reflections and help reduce the light entering the lens by utilizing a Circular Polarizer filter. Most of the waterfall scenes shown on this website are captured with this type of filter. It reduces glare and helps us obtain more even exposures.You can pick up a Circular Polarizer filter relatively cheap on Amazon.
  • When shooting slow shutter speeds a sturdy Tripod is a must. Don’t settle for a cheap tripod that wobbles in the wind or can be vibrated by water currents. Amazon has a nice selection of quality Tripods.

More tips

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