The Waterfalls of Sugar Creek Glen Campground

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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: West of the village of Dansville, town of OssianLivingston County, New York.

Maps: Google Map; Bing MapMulti-map (topo); Campground mapInteractive map.

GPS/Locations: Campground entrance: (42.48666 / W 77.73771)
Lower Falls: (N 42.48666 / W 77.73771)
Upper Falls: (N 42.48700 / W 77.74097)

Directions: Take I-390 to Exit 4, Dansville and head south. Take the first right onto Poags Hole Rd. Follow it to the end which is the entrance to Sugar Creek Glen, a private campground. Alternate access to the top of the glen from County Rt.17 just south of where it meets Rt. 49, but it is unknown who owns this end of the glen. There is a dirt pull-off area where Rt.17 meets the glen.

Parking: A small parking area near the campground office just after the entrance.

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Latest Dansville, New York, weather conditions and forecast

Number of falls: 2 large waterfalls and about 7 smaller ones.

Size/Types:  Ranging from 2 to 50 feet high. All cascades with the ones closest to the campground sometimes illuminated at night.

Best time to visit: Spring, summer, fall. Gets crowded on hot weekends and holidays.

Flow: Low to medium flow.

Waterway: Sugar Creek, which begins miles northwest in the Town of Nunda, flows southeast through this glen, and shortly after joins with Canaseraga Creek. Canaseraga Creek is a major tributary to the Genesee River. It meets the Genesee just north of Mount Morris.

Time: 1 hour.

Seasons/Hours: Closed in winter.

Admission: $4 adult visitor fee. $2 for children. Camping fees vary.

Handicap accessibility: Not for the gorge trail.

Pets: Allowed on leash in campgrounds. Not allowed on glen trails or water.

Camping: A fully-equipped campground with over 100 sites (some with water/electric) and community facilities. Check here for rates.

Accommodations: Restrooms; recreation area; general store; wifi; fishing.

Contact Information


Sugar Creek Glen offers a lush and beautiful creek-walk through a largely undeveloped gorge with one large cascade to begin with and an even larger one as your reward at the end. Very similar in make-up to nearby Stony Brook, it features several small cascades and single drops as well as a few large waterfalls, each of which have irregular character, and large plunge pools for wading.

This is private property operated as a campground for over 30 years, but accessible to campers and day-visitors alike. The campground is operated by friendly staff who welcome day visitors to enjoy the glen for a nominal fee. If you are in the Dansville area and have time after visiting Stony Brook State Park, this is an excellent second stop that takes only an hour or two.

Sugar Creek Glen Campground

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Hiking / Walking Trails

Gorge Trail

Difficulty: Moderate. It’s a creek-walk, but not very far.

Markings: None.

Distance: Less than a mile to the last falls and back.

Description: From the campground, follow the road north past sites 1-5 and turn left at 6. The glen trail begins at the Memory Garden past sites 15-22.  This trail is a third on dirt pathways and two thirds creek-walk. The first falls is 30 ft high and lit up at night. after the first major bend, the trail terminates at a 50 ft tall falls. More falls are above but the steep climb is prohibitive.

Maps: Interactive map.

Sugar Creek Glen 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 Sugar Creek Glen in a larger map


The town of Ossian was one of the first tracts sold by Phelps and Gorham, and one of the furthest west. The first settlers were two bothers from New Jersey, Judge Richard Porter and James Porter, who arrived in 1804 and settled in where is now Ossian Center.

We don’t have very much information about the history of Sugar Creek Glen in particular. We know Sugar Creek was named for the many Sugar Maple trees lining its shores when the area was first colonized. At one time, Sugar Creek powered as many as 10 mills along its run.

An 1872 map shows a saw mill upstream near where Sugar Creek Rd meets McCurdy Rd.

Interesting Stuff

Plunge Pools

The pools at the base of the larger falls are deep enough for a refreshing dip. These pools were carved by the plunging waters of waterfalls; not primarily by the water itself, but by sand and stones constantly swirling within the pool, grinding away at the bedrock.

Photography Tips

Photographing the Falls

  • Don’t be afraid to get soaked standing in a plunge-pool to get a better angle on the falls.
  • People in the creek doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot shoot. Include people for scale.
  • The Upper Falls has several large boulders in the creekbed below it. Try to include them in the foreground.

Avoid the crowds

  • The summer camping season brings a lot of excited guests. Day-trippers should either get here in spring, or wait for late fall when the weather cools down.

Proper creek-walk footwear

  • Wear the proper footwear for creek walking and climbing. Not only can a quality pair of water shoes prevent blisters and infection, they will help you stick better to the ground and reduce your risk of falling, hurting your self, or your camera gear.

Overcast skies

  • This frothy waterfall sparkles in sunlight which will cause exposure problems. 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

Related Links

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