Carpenter’s Falls aka Grey Cliff Falls
First Visit: 08-10-2008
Finger Lakes-Wine Country, Central New York
Owned by the Finger Lakes Land Trust. DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Hewitt-Cayuga Highlands Unit Management Plan
Main falls: Carpenter Falls 67 ft (some sources state 90 ft.), Ribbon/Freefall, Middle Falls 60 ft, Cascade and Lower Falls aka Angel Falls, 40 ft (some sources state 62 ft.), Cascade
Other named falls: In-Between Falls, Lower Falls #02, Rooster Tail Falls, Second Falls, 20 ft. sloping cascade, (two of the falls are around 11-30 ft., cascades and chutes)
Carpenter Falls Unique Area is currently closed to the public for infrastructure improvements, until completion of the public access improvement project, expected during summer 2022. The Bahar Preserve remains open.
Bahar Nature Preserve has 1.6 miles of trails, The Bahar Preserve includes 65 feet of Skaneateles lakeshore.
Bear Swamp Creek has several waterfalls. Three main falls and a few others. Upper Carpenter Falls is located in the southernmost portion of the property, just off of Appletree Point Road. Lower Carpenter Falls is located in the northernmost portion of the property.
Carpenter Falls is 0.1 mile walk from the kiosk on the left trail and Angel Falls is 0.5 mile on the right trail of the kiosk.
When I visited this area back in 2008, the trails were very muddy and slippery. There was no actual trail to get to the bottom of the falls and very few trees to hold on to. I am sure that over the years and based on resources, the trails have improved. Going to the lower falls was equally challenging as it was also muddy and steep going down.
An exceptional land steward and wilderness lover, Hu Bahar intended to keep his forested gorge untouched. Honoring her late husband’s desire to preserve their family land, Dawn Bahar sold the original 25-acre preserve to the Finger Lakes Land Trust at a significantly reduced price in 1998. In 2005, the Land Trust more than doubled the size of the preserve by acquiring an adjacent 33-acre parcel, and then purchased another 29-acre parcel in 2007. These more recent additions were very significant in that it permanently protected public access to dramatic Carpenter Falls and a series of other falls in the gorge.
In 2008, the Land Trust conveyed 36 acres to New York State, creating the Carpenter Falls State Unique Area. The remaining 51 acres of land downstream toward the lake continue to be managed as the Land Trust’s Bahar Nature Preserve. The Land Trust has entered into a cooperative management agreement with the state, engaging volunteers to help take care of this special place.
Western New York All-Outdoors Atlas & Field Guide, 2008
200 Waterfalls in Central and Western New York: A Finder’s 2018, by Rich and Sue Freeman
New York Waterfalls “A Guide For Hikers & Photographers” by Scott E. Brown 2010
Finger Lakes Region Waterfall Challenge, 2019, by John Haywood, Julie Hughes Romano, Bella Romano, Edward Smathers
Bear Swamp Cascades has a series of waterfalls along Bear Swamp Creek and is upstream from Bahar Nature Preserve. This is Private property.