GPS/Locations: DEC Parking lot: (N 42.66098 / W 77.33158)
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).
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.
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.
NYS DEC Region 8
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.
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.
View Clark Gully in a larger map
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.
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.
Silky water effect
Writing / Photography