Clark Reservation State Park, Jamesville

4.8
#29 of 48 in Nature in Finger Lakes
State Park · Park
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Clark Reservation State Park is a state park in Onondaga County, New York. The park is in Jamesville, NY, in the Town of DeWitt, south of Syracuse. It was the site of a large waterfall formed by melting glacial ice at the end of the last Ice Age; the plunge basin at the base of the old falls is now a small lake. James Macfarlane described the area in 1879, "On approaching the lake from the turnpike on the south side, the tourist is startled at finding himself, without any notice, on the brink of a yawning gulf, precisely like that of the Niagara River below the Falls, and nearly as deep." Clark Reservation is also noted for its many ferns; it harbors the largest population in the U.S. of American hart's tongue, which is so rare that it was declared endangered in the U.S. in 1989.
The park is 377 acres (153 ha) in size, and logs about 80,000 visitors per year. It encompasses the cliff, plunge basin and gorge of the ancient waterfall, and a number of secondary ravines and basins. Glacier Lake, which occupies the plunge basin of the former waterfall, is 6.2 acres (2.5 ha) in size and 52 feet (16 m) deep; it is a rare meromictic lake in which the deep waters don't mix annually with the surface waters. The surrounding limestone cliffs are 180 feet (55 m) high. Hiking trails skirt a half-ring of cliffs surrounding the lake, as well as traversing the rugged limestone over which the old river flowed.

A Nature Center is operated by the Friends of Clark Reservation, a nonprofit organization staffed completely by volunteers. The Center has exhibits about the park's geology and natural history, and is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In addition to staffing the Center, the Friends group also organizes events and retains a naturalist each summer to guide hikes and create nature programming for the public in the park. The park also offers fishing, hiking trails, picnic tables and pavilions, and a playground.

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Clark Reservation State Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
29 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • Syracuse’s “other” state park. A great place to get out in nature. If you like rocks, mosses, ferns and flower diversity this is a great place to photograph or learn about botany. Don’t be deceived... 
    Syracuse’s “other” state park. A great place to get out in nature. If you like rocks, mosses, ferns and flower diversity this is a great place to photograph or learn about botany. Don’t be deceived...  more »
  • We took our three grandchildren for a hike here. The scenery is amazing. There's also a cute little playground and numerous picnic areas. My only advice though is to take a picture of the map with... 
    We took our three grandchildren for a hike here. The scenery is amazing. There's also a cute little playground and numerous picnic areas. My only advice though is to take a picture of the map with...  more »
Google
  • Beautiful park with a playground grills and restroom area. The trails are beautiful and well marked. Make sure you’re ready for a extreme hike if you go down the lake or swamp trails. Definitely can’t wait to go again.
  • We held an event here. The park staff were ready to work with. The site is gorgeous. Everyone who attended our event loved the setting. Our family also loves visiting this park for walks/runs and exploring with our dog.

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