Lower Deckertown Falls in Summer
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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: On the south end of Seneca Lake, In the Village of Montour Falls, Town of Montour, Schuyler County, New York.

Address: 101-149 E Catlin St., Montour Falls, NY 14865

Maps: Google MapTopographicInteractive map.

GPS Coordinates:

  • Deckertown Falls: N 42.34377 / W 76.82997
  • Parking area: N 42.34334 / W 76.83102

Directions: From the village of Watkins Glen, head south on NY-14 into the village of Montour Falls. Turn left onto CR-224 (Clawson Blvd) and then shortly after, make a right onto S. Lhommedieu St. Make a left onto E. Catharine St and follow it to the small parking area at the end.

Or use Google Directions.

Parking: Park at the end of East Catharine Street. There’s a dirt/grass spot for about 3 cars.

YouTube video



Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Number of falls:  Several. A combo of three visible from just beyond the parking area, and if you can make the journey upstream there are at least 4 more sizable falls.

Size/Types: Deckertown Falls, the first waterfall you will see, is a set of three narrow, chute-like cascades that total more than 50 ft high. Those daring enough to scramble up the south hill, can catch glimpses of a series of cascades in a narrow gorge near the 224 overpass. Spread out on the east side of the overpass are at least 4 more cascades, each over 10 ft tall.

Best time to visit: Check out Deckertown Falls from spring through fall. Exploring the creek upstream is best in summer or fall, when the water levels die down.

Flow: Low to moderate. Although this minor tributary does not carry much flow, the narrow gorge accelerates the water, and the high waterfall produces very deep pools.

Waterway: Catlin Mill Creek starts out within the Texas Hollow State Forest about 5 miles to the northeast. It flows down the Catharine Hills and through the village of Odessa where it meets with Cranberry Creek. The 2 mile long gorge begins alongside Main St in Odessa and drops a total of 550 feet to the creek bed under Deckertown Falls. The creek then flows gently to Catharine Creek, north through the Catharine Creek Wildlife Management Area, through Watkins Glen, and out into the southern end of Seneca Lake.

Time: You can see Deckertown Falls (the lowest of the falls) in about 2 minutes. If you choose to explore the creek upstream, it can take several hours.

Seasons/Hours: Year-round. All day. You don’t want to be stuck in this gorge at night.

Parking: Park at the end of East Catharine Street. There’s a dirt/grass spot for about 3 cars.

Admission: Free.

Handicap accessibility: None.

Pets: Not a safe place to bring a pet.

Swimming: Dangerous, due to deep pools, unpredictable currents, and turbid waters. Don’t swim here.

Accommodations: Fishing (rainbow trout).

A closeup of a 90 degree chute-like waterfall in lower Deckertown Falls, with a large plunge pool below.

The first zig-zag -shaped waterfall Deckertown Falls in autumn.


AKA: Catlin Creek Falls

Deckertown Falls, is a lesser-known, but fascinating series of cascades in the town of Montour, opposite the larger cataracts She-Qua-Ga and Aunt Sarah’s Falls that spill from the Portage Escarpment near Watkins Glen. Not commonly known to tourists, Catlin Mill Creek cuts through the hillside creating a fast, narrow gorge with plentiful waterfalls. With steep cliffs of unstable shale and limestone and deep pools of rushing water throughout the glen, it is for the most part, inaccessible to the casual visitor, but a gem for the daring.

What is known as Deckertown Falls is a series of three drops that are easily seen from a small path that leads from the parking area to the creek. The falls starts out as a 30ft long cascade into a shallow pool on a ledge, which then drops a few feet down a small, wide cascade (typically not visible from this vantage point) and then finally down a fast-moving chute and into a very deep pool.

Upstream, heading towards the Rt 224 bridge are a few more cascades that can’t be seen without scrambling up the muddy trail to the right of Deckertown Falls. When I visited in 2010, the ground here was eroding away quickly and it was dangerous to get a decent view. One could pass these falls from the upland trail, cross under the Rt 224 Bridge, and continue up the side of the creek to find a suitable location to enter the creek bed to explore and find several other falls in the gorge downstream. Due to the instability of the land and the unpredictability of the creek flow, I do not recommend it.

If you are in the Montour Falls area checking out waterfalls or taking photos, stopping to see Deckertown Falls is easy and well worth the minor detour.

A large waterfall in upper Deckertown Gorge has a overhanging curtain drop at the top and then an irregular slope the remaining 2/3rds down into the gorge.
A waterfall in upper Deckertown gorge curves left before it lands in a large pool. The gorge has deep shadows here.

Hiking / Walking Trails

From the parking area to Deckertown Falls

Difficulty: Easy.

Distance: About 50 feet.

Markings: None.

Description: From the parking area, follow the dirt towards the creek and then up the right side of the creek upstream. The path dissolves quickly but you should see the falls almost immediately. Feel free to wade in the water to get a better look, but be careful, that pool below the falls is very deep.

Exploring Deckertown Falls

Difficulty: Difficult.

Distance: About 50-70 feet.

Markings: None.

Description: Proceed at your own risk. The pool below lower Deckertown Falls is very deep. Prepare to get wet. You may be able to scramble around the cliff edge on the right, but it is very slippery. You may as well just plan on swimming across the pool and then climbing up the right of the lower falls. This will get you to the middle ledge and smaller middle falls and a perfected view of the towering upper cascade.

The rest of the gorge

Difficulty: Very difficult

Distance: About 1.5 miles to the final waterfall and back.

Markings: None.

Description: Proceed at your own risk. From the parking area, bypass going down to the creek to see Deckertown Falls and follow the muddy and steep trail up the hill to the right of the creek. There are posted signs to the right. Do not cross them. Stay to the left and obey all property signs. You should be able to glimpse some of the falls down in the gorge below as you approach a clearing and the Rt 224 bridge. Cross under the bridge (be careful-very slippery when wet) and continue along the ridge of the gorge until you can find a safe spot to scramble down. I won’t get into too much detail of how to explore the upper gorge because I recommend against it.

Map: Interactive.

A view of a narrow and inaccessible portion of Deckertown Falls gorge with some small waterfalls.
A closeup of Catlin Mill Creek in Deckertown gorge showing a red, iron-stained slick bedrock

Deckertown Falls Interactive Map


Havana was one of the first villages incorporated in Schuyler County and one of the early settlers was Burton Decker. The Simon and Sylvester Decker families operated a flour mill along the creek here and owned farmland downstream (as illustrated on a 1874 map). The old stone foundation near the parking area was the flour mill, and if you look on the other side of the creek near the pool at the base of Deckertown Falls you can see the remnants of the woolen mill operated by E. A. Dunham & Bo. The large home downstream on the corner of Catlin and L’Hommedieu was the Decker residence. The sites of both mills are currently on private property.

Catlin Mill Creek is named after Phineas Catlin, who purchased an old gristmill (built by R.C. Johnson in 1801) in Odessa, tore it down and built a new one in 1836. The mill was quite extensive for its time. It burned down in 1850, and was replaced by a mill owned by Cornelius Misner, who operated it until 1870, when it was sold to R. B. Lockhart.

A waterfall in upper Deckertown gorge with the left slide having a bulbous slope, and the right side has the water flowing through a slight notch it eroded through the rock.

Deckertown Falls Media

Interesting Stuff

Old Mills

Deckertown is named for the mills that once lined the creek here, and industry it brought to this small creek.

Near the parking area, on private property (but visible) is part of the stone foundation of the Decker family gristmill. Once a large structure, the mill race captured flow from the adjacent waterfall (that was dammed at the time) and ran it around the south of the mill through the wheelhouse and then back to Catlin Mill Creek near where the modern residence is east of the parking area.

Upstream and across the creek is the foundation of the E. A. Dunham & Bro. woolen mill. It’s on private property, but you can see some remnants of the mill’s southern wall from the creek bed below the falls.

Remnants of an old mill on Catlin Mill Creek at Deckertown Falls. Some stonework is seen along the cliff and metall beems protruding from a large stone in the foreground. The rest of the scene is covered in fall leaves.

Photography Tips

Shoot wide

  • Bring that wide angle lens. Some spots are tight and you may not have room to back up. A wide angle will also help include the grand limestone cliffs and capture the expanse of the gorge.
  • Try to include the jagged cliff walls in your shot.

Come back later

  • Don’t limit your photography to one season or one time of day. Deckertown changes drastically over time. Come back again later.

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.  Check out the article for the all the details.

More tips

  • See the Articles for more photography tips.
A closeup of one of the overhanging waterfalls in upper Deckertown Falls gorge
An irregular-shaped waterfall and clear plunge pool in upper Deckertown gorge.

Who to Contact

Town of Montour
Havana Glen Road
P.O. Box 57
Montour Falls, NY 14865
Phone: (607) 535-9476