North of Utica on NY 12, there is a
point at which NY 12 and NY 28 begin to run
concurrently. At that corner, head south on NY
28. You will actually be heading east at that
point. The first left is Trenton Falls Road.
Follow signs to a four-way stop where you should continue
to the end of the road where you can park.
||West Canada Creek
||North of Utica
|Length of hike:
||1 - 1.5 hours
This is a truly magnificent site. Nature and the West Canada
Creek have worn a large gorge through this area. There are
several on-line sources that claim that this area at one time
"nearly rivaled Niagara Falls in terms of tourist
magnetism." It is still publicly accessible,
but is only open two or three week-ends each year. The Town
of Trenton website should be consulted to find those dates.
Now a major hydroelectric project area, there are still a
number of magnificent waterfalls here. The area is divided into
several drops. The 60' tall Morgan Dam is the furthest
downstream, but that is actually below where the walking tour
begins. As you head out on the trail, you will encounter
Sherman Falls then the two-tiered High Falls, which are identified
as Lower High Falls and Upper High Falls. These drop a total
of 100 feet. Above that is the 14' Mill Dam Falls and at the
very upper part of the area is the Upper Hydro Dam and Falls.
This is a very nicely maintained area with finely crushed stone paths and wood mulch
side trails that allow views of the waterfalls and the
gorge. The one down-side is that the area is open on a
limited basis. On the plus side, we were pleasantly
surprised that there was no fee to access the facility. We
had been led to believe that there was an admission. When we
were there in April 2013, only a portion of the waterfalls could
be viewed. A rock-slide several months before had blocked
the upper trail and you couldn't go beyond High Falls. We
could see Mill Dam Falls and Hydro Falls from the Upper High Falls
viewing area, but you couldn't get to those viewing areas.
You also couldn't see the hydro dam at the top. There
was no estimated date at which time this slide could be cleared so
that upper access could be restored. Because of the
abbreviated nature of this trip, even though we were taking our
time, we were actually in and out of there in less than an hour.
There is much history and nature at this location and much can
be written about it and has been. There are many on-line
sources with information and stories about this area. We
will let our pictures tell the story. Rather than
reinventing the wheel, please refer to some of the info out there
such as Discovering
the Valley of the Crystals, a well-done story of the history
of Trenton Gorge, complete with pictures. This is by no
means the only resource out there. A web search will turn up
The West Canada Creek empties into the Mohawk River, which then
flows into the Hudson before reaching the Atlantic Ocean.