Clark Reservation State Park, Jamesville

#29 of 46 in Nature in Finger Lakes
Must see · State Park · Park
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 4.5
28 reviews
  • 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 »
  • 我們只是打算在Syracuse 附近找一個方便又值得一遊的景點,很高興選了這個小公園,公園管理的不錯,瀑布相當秀麗,往瀑布的步道管理與整理的也不錯,非常愉快的遊玩經驗,公園無入園費用,但鼓勵捐款補助。 We were just trying to find someplace near Syracuse that is worth visiting. Happy to find this...  more »
  • A quaint little park hidden among the trees. When you start hiking the trails it no longer seems like a little park. Great hike along the upper trail. Wear good hiking shoes because there is plenty of tree roots to trip you up and slippery rocks. Beautiful view of Glacier Lake. The rocks and the rock ledges are amazing. Many of the rocks are polished to a great shine from all the foot traffic. Boulders are everywhere with trees growing around them and over them. I found a fossil in one of the rocks. Great hike but would not take small children or little dogs on the upper trail. Some parts of the trail are pretty close to the edge. We did not see any wildlife while hiking. There is an unusual playground for the little ones with fake trees to crawl on. Picnic tables and clean restrooms. A great place to hike and enjoy nature and so close to a city.
  • Clark State Park is absolutely beautiful with lots of verticality. Rock formations that are out of this world mixed with dense forest & vegetation. Its a really serene environment. Highly recommend it if you ever visit Syracuse. Hike is a bit over 2 miles. Bring bug spray!!

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