Large waterfall on sugar creek glen.
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Location / Directions / Maps

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

Maps: Google MapTopographicCampground mapInteractive map.

GPS Coordinates: 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.

A small waterfall along Sugar Creek

Weather

DANSVILLE WEATHER

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

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: Day hikers are no longer allowed. Camping fees vary. Check here for rates.

Handicap accessibility: Not for the gorge trail.

Pets: Aggressive pets of any breed are not welcome. Pets must be under the control and visual observation of their owner at all times. No pet may be left un-attended in the campground. A six foot leash is required at all times, everywhere in the campground.

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.

A closeup of a waterfall at the beginning of the creek high on Sugar Creek Glen

Description

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 to nearby Stony Brook State Park, it features several cascades along a beautiful gorge as well as a few large waterfalls, each of which have irregular character, and large plunge pools for wading. Unlike the state park, the gorge is a creek-walk only, and has no defined trail parallel to the water – expect to get a little wet.

This is private property operated as a campground for over 30 years, but accessible to campers and formerly to day-hikers. The campground is operated by friendly staff and it is a great alternative to camping in the state park.

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 campsites 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

History

Dansville was named after Daniel P. Faulkner (1763 – 1802) or “Captain Dan” as he came to be known. A migrant from Pennsylvania, he moved to the valley and opened a general store.  As a strong advocate of the budding town, it was named after him. The specifics are not known.

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 brothers from New Jersey, Judge Richard Porter and James Porter, who arrived in 1804 and settled in what is now Ossian Center.

I don’t have very much information about the history of Sugar Creek Glen in particular. I 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. A 1902 map shows a schoolhouse at the approximate location of the camp office.

Sugar Creek Glen Media

YouTube video

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 creek bed 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.  Check out the article for the all the details.

More tips

  • See the Articles for more photography tips.

Who to Contact

Sugar Creek Glen Campground
11288 Poags Hole Rd.
Dansville, NY 14437
Phone: 585-335-6294
Email: [email protected]

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