Clarks Gully (Lower)

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Clark’s Gully Prints and Gifts for sale

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Location / Directions / Maps

Location:  On the south end of Canandaigua Lake; in the Hi-Tor Wildlife Management AreaNaplesYates County, New York.

Maps: Google MapBing MapMulti-map (topo); Interactive Map.

GPS/Locations: DEC Parking lot: (N 42.66098 / W 77.33158)
Trail-head and parking: (N 42.66185 / W 77.33371)
Waterfall at the end of this hike: (N 42.66489 / W 77.33545)

Directions: Take Rt. 245 to the south end of Canandaigua Lake and Sunnyside Rd, across from Niagara Vineyards. Sunnyside will split into West Ave, where a DEC parking area is located. The gully entrance is on the right on Sunnyside just after this split. Look for 2 dirt paths stemming from a dirt pull-off area.

Parking: Dirt parking area at the gully entrance (3 cars) or a DEC parking lot at the West Ave/Sunnyside junction (20 cars).

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Latest Naples, New York, weather conditions and forecast

Number of falls: 3

Size/Types: An 18 ft high cascade with a 7 ft cascade just above. A 3rd 18 ft cascade is above both of these, but due to the steep and narrow channel, it’s inaccessible.

Best time to visit: Spring and fall after rain.

Flow: Ranges from trickle to medium flow. Be careful as the gully is narrow and can flood easily after downpours.

Waterway: Clark Gully, a tributary to the West River, which flows southwest, then just a mile from Clark’s Gully hooks north and empties into Canandaigua Lake.

Time: 30 minutes to an hour.

Seasons/Hours: Open year-round. Be careful during hunting seasons.

Admission: Free.

Handicap accessibility: Not at all.

Pets: Allowed on a leash.

Accommodations: Hiking; Fishing (near the DEC parking area). Please do not leave trash at this site.

Contact Information

Description

The Hi-Tor region was set aside to protect the wildlife present in the southern Canandaigua Lake watershed. The area, in the Naples Valley region, is rich with wildlife. Clark Gully has many waterfalls, but most of them are on the upper end of the Gully, not easily accesible from this hike, and best saved for the more advanced hikers and climbers. The lower portion is a short hike to an oddly-shaped shale waterfall. The two waterfalls directly above it are inaccessible. The gully is peaceful and in a very natural state. Worth a look if you are in the region.

The upper gully can be accessed from a different location and will be covered in another section.

Clark's Gully, Naples

Clark’s Gully Videos

Hiking / Walking Trails

Difficulty: Moderate.

Markings: Markings define designated hunting areas.

Distance: Less than a quarter mile to the falls.

Description: Two trails lead from the pull-off area to the creek bed (the right one approaches the creek quicker). Follow the creek uphill, past multiple ledges and several downed trees. Since this gully is not a park and not maintained in any way, you will find plenty of debris. The waterfalls are around the bend after a quarter-mile. The other waterfalls are above, but the climb is very steep and dangerous. We do not recommend climbing this waterfall at all.

Additional falls can be approached from the north via Upper Clark Gully.

Map: Interactive.

Clark Gully 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 Clark Gully in a larger map

History

This was formerly the Seneca Nation homeland, where the “People of the Stone Hill” held their base for hundreds of years in a settlement called Tsonontowan, near what is now Naples, NY.

Clark Gully’s importance to the history of the Seneca may be sacred. Several theories suggest that the people who believe that the creator opened up a stone mountain to let the first Seneca out into the world, can be geographically aligned to this very spot. With the homeland of the Seneca being nearby, and South Hill being the most prominent stone feature, Clark’s Gully could very well be the crack in the stone that the Seneca people first walked out of. Does the archaeological evidence support this? We have found little in the way of any study done by credible sources. But we have found many people interested in “spiritual” and “sacred” places that have made their own conclusions. The area surrounding the gully, more frequent uphill, has numerous rock piles and formations. Unfortunately, because of the nature of wooded areas in New York, it’s silly to think that a circle of flat stones would be left uncovered for a thousand years, let alone 10. Massive rock piles require much more effort to create, but are the common result of pioneer settlers clearing land for plowing. If there is real archaeological evidence to be had, it’s buried deep.

Despite there not being prominent proof that this site is the sacred origin site of the Seneca people, it should be treated with respect, not only for people’s beliefs, but because it is just downright beautiful, and we are lucky to have it.

Interesting Stuff

Benchmark

Want to test out that new V8 engine? Drive up South Hill Road, which climbs about 900 feet to the top of South Hill.

Upper Clark Gully

Here’s where most of the waterfalls are located in the narrow section of the gorge. It will take a lot of climbing, skill, and caution. Advanced hikers only. Access it from South Hill Road.

Photography Tips

Shooting wide

  • The gorge is narrow, and you may not have much space to back up to capture scenes. Bring your wide angle lens.

The creek

  • This is one steep creek. Use that to your advantage by shooting upstream, filling more of the frame with the creek and flowing water. Keep close foreground elements sharp by shooting with a narrow aperture. 

The vineyard

  • The vineyard across the street, surrounded by the hills of Naples Valley, can’t be ignored. Get there at sunrise or sunset for some great landscapes, and keep those vines in the foreground. 

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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