Lincoln's Waterfalls

Lesser-known beauty spots of Madison County [part 2]

Two of the Town of Lincoln's natural attractions are not well- known. One is "Buttermilk Falls", so labeled on old contour maps. I suppose there are many waterfalls throughout the country with that name, but is quite descriptive of this one. I have lived in the county all of my 81 years and never tried to visit it until early this spring, 2002. It is located on private property. I will attach a picture.

buttermilk falls

"Buttermilk Falls"


In the old photo album/scrapbook that Alberta inherited from her parents, besides family portraits, were pictures taken by her father and clippings from newspapers. Many of the labels written below the photos have faded away, and some were never labeled. But there was one picture cut out of a newspaper. We could tell by the dates on some of the neighboring pictures that this particular one was printed about 1911. It was a picture of a waterfall with the caption "Milky Falls, Canastota, N.Y. L.R.Jones"

We had looked at the picture many times but never knew where the falls was located- until this year. It was only after we had photographed "Buttermilk Falls" that we realized Milky Falls was the same one.

My son was with me when we hiked to Buttermilk Falls and photographed it. About 90 years ago his grandfather, LaVerne R. Jones, had taken the picture of "Milky Falls" and sold it to a newspaper. It must have been either the Oneida Dispatch or the old Democratic Union. The Democratic union is long gone and the Dispatch has given me permission to use their old pictures like this one.

When I was young, Clockville Creek, from a point west of Lenox Furnace to where it joined Cowaselon Creek at Hoboken was a dense milky color. There seemed to be no fish in it. All the fishermen stuck to the Cowaselon. However in the last 30 or 40 years the white color has disappeared. I don't know if there are fish in it now or not. We have speculated that the small stream running down the hill making Buttermilk/Millky Falls flowed through a layer of gypsum or some similar soft formation to produce the milky effect. After many years the layer could have been washed away thus clearing up the water. Maybe geologists would have a better answer.

I'll try to reproduce the clipping picture but it is so old and "washed out"[excuse the pun] it may not be very clear

milky falls

"Milky Falls"


The other "well kept secret" in the Town of Lincoln is the scenic Madison County Oxbow Park. One entrance to the park is on Oxbow Road south of Clockville. There you find parking space, picnic area, and hiking trails. One trail leads to the top of the falls, where the trail leads down the western side of the creek all the way to Watson Road.

One day this spring I drove down Watson Road past the newly constructed "disc Golf" course. I could not find any sign marking the lower end of the falls trail. So I asked a gentleman who was just driving out of his yard. He gave me instructions and so I found an unnoticed path leading from the road up along the creek. Once found, it was a good hiking trail, well maintained with log bridges at creek crossings. It's not a real easy stroll up the hill but not bad if you are in average to good physical shape.

It probably makes more sense to park at the upper entrance and hike down and back up from there. In the spring when I was there it was a great place for bird watchers and wild flower lovers. I'll attach pictures.

oxbow falls

"Oxbow Falls"



"View from the West"


west branch oxbow falls[top part]

"West Branch [top part] Oxbow Falls" April 2003


trail and log bridge

"View of Trail near Watson Road Showing Log Bridge"


small falls

"Small Falls near Watson Road Trailhead"


Charles E. Page July 1, 2002