Lesser-Known Beauty Spots of Madison County [part four]
[Charles E. Page October 2002]
The most spectacular and best known of Sullivan's waterfalls is Chittenango Falls. Besides the beautiful scenery it has picnic and camping facilities, hiking trails, and other attractions. We camped in the small but clean, quiet camp ground when our kids were small after it became a New York State Park.
A lesser-known but just as beautiful gorge and waterfall is Perryville Falls, just outside and north of the hamlet of Perryville in the Town of Sullivan. Perryville itself is split among the three towns of Sullivan, Fenner, and Lincoln, that is, it is located in the corner where the three towns come together.
I think the falls is as high or maybe a little higher than Chittenango Falls but has a smaller stream of water flowing over it. The cliffs at and below the falls are just as precipitous, and the gorge is just as spectacular.
Up until forty or fifty years ago it was a popular picnic spot for families to spend a Sunday afternoon. Now the old road leading to it has been closed and is grown up to bushes and trees. In the old days a railroad passed nearby. The foundation of the old milk station remains beside the railroad bed. Only the rise of the ground and rotting wooden railroad bridge over the stream from the mill pond mark the route of past train service.
My son and I visited the falls recently [it is now privately owned] and took the pictures shown below. The pictures are not the best quality and we hope to get better ones after the leaves have fallen, but these will give you an idea of the beauty of the place.
The falls had to be closed to the public for at least a couple of reasons. Like Stockbridge Falls in the Town of Stockbridge it became a meeting place for rowdy elements holding beer parties and such. Empty bottles and other trash littered the place, making it less desirable for family picnics.
Also, unlike Stockbridge Falls, it became known for people falling over the high cliffs. Several people had to be rescued after a fall, and at least one was killed. Apparently the steep sides were an enticement for young people to try their skill in climbing on slippery rocks, possibly after a few beers.
Also, there are no fences or other man-made safety features. I would like to see the owner and the Supervisors of Madison County get together and make it into a county park similar to Oxbow Park in the Town of Lincoln. Oxbow Park is a tribute to forward thinking, and Madison County should be proud of it. The same could be said of the City of Oneida's Mt. Hope Park. Such attractions make the County a great place to live, work or visit.
"Perryville Falls [a distance shot from the west side]"
"Small falls just above main falls"
"Top part of Perryville Falls showing edge of cliff in foreground"
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