Onanda Park & Grimes Glen
Did some scouting of some waterfalls yesterday and had so much fun. Decided to head over towards Canandaigua, NY because I had heard that June was the optimal time to see the waterfall in Onanda Park. Onanda Park is a former YWCA camp that is now owned and operated by the Town of Canandaigua. Locaed about 8 miles south of Canandaigua, this is a lovely little park with cabins and pavilions for rent, lifeguards on duty, and well-marked, family friendly hiking trails. There is even a booklet that can be downloaded here that can be used as an interpretive guide along the way.
My mom was my travel partner on this day and we began hiking the Uplands trail in Onanda Park. The beginning requires a fairly steep climb but it tapers off to an easy stroll through the woods. There are a few overlooks, one for the waterfall, and another overlooking the gorge. The waterfall was difficult to view through all of the leaves on the trees so we decided to do some creek walking to view the lower falls up close. The creek was low enough we did not get our feet wet – it took 30-45 minutes to get to the lower falls. Unfortunately there was a lot of harsh sun bouncing off the rocks when we arrived. We waited about 20 minutes to see if the sun would go behind some leaves or a cloud – but no luck.
There are also Upper Falls at Onanda Park, but reaching these via the creek requires some climbing experience or a very brave soul. We decided to head back down and check out the lake side portion of the park.
There were lots of families celebrating any number of occasions – this is just a very pleasant, though smallish, park for one to enjoy the lake setting and atmosphere. The cabins looked livable, though perhaps a bit rustic (keep in mind I’m a hotel kind of girl all the way). But I could absolutely see myself renting something like this for a long weekend and just enjoying the view. And the view was gorgeous.
After a great lunch at The Sawmill Restaurant just outside of Naples, NY (we were able to sit outside on the deck overlooking the southern end of Canandaigua Lake) we headed towards Grimes Glen. Much smaller than Onanda Park, with just a few picnic tables, this area is all about the waterfalls. There are two, both about 60 feet. And you will get wet. This creek is much fuller than the one at Onanda and there were places where the water was above mom’s waterproof hiking boots. But it was a truly amazing hike. Round trip took about an hour and a half, but with a few backtracks to try to find the best place to cross, and also to stop for pictures – of course!!!
Again – I had a lot of harsh sunlight to deal with, but I caught a shot of these girls standing in the falls, posing for themselves. I too walked across the falls where they are standing and it was really cool. First of all, you’re standing IN THE WATERFALL – how awesome is that??!?! If you look up, you see waterfall as close up as you can ever imagine. And if you look down – more waterfall. And the sound of the water rushing by you, and the feel of the water (about 3-5″ deep where these girls are standing) as it gurgles past your feet. It was truly an awesome experience. I couldn’t get mom to try though!
Further up the creek are what’s known as the second falls at Grimes Glen. A popular swimming hole, I was fortunate enough to arrive between groups of swimmers and was able to grab several shots swimmer free. Again with the harsh sunlight – but it was worth it – these falls are beautiful. There is also a third falls – which as with Onanda – requires climbing experience and we decided to skip that part of the experience. As we walked out of Grimes Glen wet and dirty I couldn’t stop smiling!! What a great way to spend the day!