Montville Falls

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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: Located in the small hamlet of Montville, barely east of Moravia, Cayuga County, New York.

Located near Decker Creek Falls.

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

GPS/Locations: Montville Falls: (N 42.71511 / W 76.40860)
Decker Creek Falls:  (N 42.71703 / W 76.40923)
Parking: (N 42.71237 / W 76.41274)

Or use Google Directions.

Directions: From Auburn, head south on either 38 or 38A to Moravia, where they connect. Just to the east of Moravia is Indian Mound Cemetery. Enter the cemetery. It is your access point for Mill Creek. Head towards Section 9 and park on the right side of the road just past the SEC 9 sign.

Or use Google Directions.

Parking: Park in the back of either St Patrick’s or Indian Mound Cemeteries. Section 9 of Indian Mound (on the right side of the road, just past the sign) is reportedly a good access point.

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Note
Previous access was from a property near the old mill downstream off of Rt 38. NYFalls.com members have reported that landowners at this location have denied permission to property along the creek. We are unable to verify the validity of their claim, but to be safe and respectful, use the alternate access point described below (through the cemeteries).

Latest Montville, New York, weather conditions and forecast

Number of falls: 1.

Size/Types: There is one large waterfall that takes about a 60 ft plunge in numerous veins down a solid rock face. It also splits off near the crest forming a “Twin Falls” on the right-hand side of it that comes down through the forest before joining again at the bottom. Then it continues down numerous cascades about 14 ft before leveling out into the gorge. The rock on Montville Falls is decidedly different than most of the other falls in the Finger Lakes area. It is a harder rock (limestone), much more sturdy that gives the waterfall a distinct look.

Best time to visit: Late spring and summer after moderate rain. Since this waterfall requires a lot of creek-walking to reach, you may not want to trek when the levels are high. The downside is that if you wait too long, it may be bone dry.

Flow: Low, but variable. Flow is regulated by an upstream dam and power plant, which often brings it to a trickle.

Waterway: Dresserville Creek, which combines with Decker Creek to become Mill Creek. Mill Creek then joins Hemlock Creek, which is the inlet to Owasco Lake.

Time: 40 minutes to an hour.

Seasons/Hours: Whenever you can get access, which as of Spring 2010, is when the cemetery is open. We do not have the cemetery hours at this time.

Admission: Free.

Handicap accessibility: No.

Pets: We are not sure.

Accommodations: None.

Contact Information

Description

Montville Falls has a character quite unlike the rest of the Finger Lakes watershed waterfalls. It is a wild waterfall with no defined trails or accommodations, set in a beautifully wooded gorge in the heart of the Owasco Lake watershed. Composed of hard limestone rock, the water erodes the stone from formed cracks in the bedrock, creating geometric angles that give this waterfall a distinct appearance. Nearby Decker Creek has its own waterfall and combining the two into one hike is definitely the thing to do if you have the time.

The great thing about this falls is the difference the level of water makes. Varying between multiple small ribbons winding around the rock in low flow to an even downpour when the water is high, Montville Falls is worth the trek in multiple seasons.

montville-falls-banner1

Moravia Falls Videos

None yet.

Hiking / Walking Trails

Viewing from the towpath

Difficulty: Difficult.

Markings: None.

Distance: 3/4 mile (one-way) to visit Decker Creek and Montville Falls.

Description: The combination hike of these Mill Creek tributaries will get you close to both Decker Creek Falls and Montville Falls. Check out the Decker Creek Falls page for more details on that part of the hike.

From a back section of the cemetery, head towards the creek. The gorge can be steep here, but walk along and see where you can get down safely. Reportedly in Section 9 of Indian Mound Cemetery, near the large C.A. PARKER tombstone is a good area to scramble down. Once in the gorge, head upstream. There are not many defined paths, so plan on getting your feet wet. In fact, if you aren’t getting wet on this hike, then chances are the waterfalls will be dry when you get there.

Less than a quarter-mile upstream you will reach a fork. To the left, Dresserville Creek and Decker Creek Falls, to the right is Montville Falls. Hike right for 500 feet or so to get there.

The rock in Dresserville Creek is a harder variety than the usual shale – so it is not as slippery in the stream bed as in many other Finger Lakes gorges. Still – use caution and check your footing as there are large pools and cracks in the bed.

Map: Interactive.

Decker Creek & Moravia 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 Decker Creek and Montville Falls in a larger map

History

Montville Falls 1905Near where Montville Falls is located, along Mill Creek, a man named Jethro Woods invented the first cast iron plow in 1819, drastically increasing the productivity of farmers and the reliability of their equipment. Unfortunately for Woods, he had to fight patent infringements his whole life and died a poor man. Montville was once a large manufacturing center, using the power of Mill Creek to build numerous factories along its banks. It rivaled the village of Moravia for dominance until the mills began to close along the creek as electric power ushered in modern industry.

Interesting Stuff

The cemeteries

If you have the time, explore and photograph the cemeteries, Indian Mound and St. Patricks, which have grave stones dating back to 1817.

Fillmore Glen State Park

Located south of the village, this state park features a massive gorge with several waterfalls.

Photography Tips

Use caution

  • The rocks can get quite slippery in the creek. Use water shoes with a good grip and use a walking stick or your tripod to keep balance.
  • Keep your camera well-protected. Seal it in a waterproof bag when you are hiking in high water levels.

The creek

  • Don’t just photograph the falls. The many twists and turns in the creek flow, with the large boulders make for interesting shots.

Overcast skies

  • Daylight will cast uneven shadows and the late sun will leave it in the shade. It is best to wait for an overcast sky for this one.

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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