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Peppermill Gulf

currently CLOSED

 

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NOTE:  The land owner has put up "No Trespassing" signs and has signs stating they have set traps in the area.  It is recommended to stay away from this area and hike one of the other great places in central New York. 

Location - 6 miles south/west of Syracuse.  Just outside of South Onondaga, Town of Onondaga in Onondaga County.

Directions - Located just north of State Route 20, west of Syracuse.
To get there from Syracuse and points east travel Route 20 westward until reaching the intersection of Route 80. Turn right heading northwards on Route 80.
From points West travel Route 20 East until reaching the intersection of Route 80. Turn left heading northwards on Route 80.
Follow Route 80 for about a mile until reaching Hogsback Road on your left hand side. Less than a quarter a mile down, there is a bridge with a pull off on the right hand side. Park and head upstream.

Trails
Difficulty: Difficult hike.
There are no defined trails. This is a creek walk of just under 2 miles.

The hike is a difficult one, consisting almost entirely of walking directly in the creek bed. From the bridge, walk upstream about 0.95 miles. Along the way, you will pass through various obstructions, from downed trees to the shells of old cars, snowmobiles, and a "tire forest." Most of the junk along the way is a relic of days past when the farmers and landowners above the gully would toss their junk down the slopes into the ravine below. The forest has reclaimed the area, but the junk remains, making walking difficult, but interesting.

The lower part of the creek has larger granite rocks & boulders and it's more open, making walking easier. About half-way in, there is a slight trail that dips into the forest for a short while. You will know you are getting close to the waterfall when the creek bed changes into combination of shale & limestone and briefly narrows before opening up into the spectacular waterfall.

Upper section of Peppermill Gulf Falls

Description...
Peppermill Gulf Falls is just one in a series of ravines and glens that course down from the Tully hills, and enter the West Branch of Onondaga Creek. The ravine itself is very secluded and wild, but contains ample evidence of past human activity. Unfortunately, years of dumping from careless landowners above the steep slopes of the gully have left the creek bed and surrounding flood plain awash in garbage, from cars to hundreds of tires that litter the forest.

The waterfall is similar in structure to the nearby Fellows Falls in that it is made mostly of limestone that gives it a unique look similar to many western waterfalls. The lower part of the gulf contains larger boulders of granite while the middle portion of the gully is made of shale that is more common among Finger Lakes waterfalls.   At nearly 90' high, Peppermill Gulf is quite a surprise to come upon in such a narrow ravine. You will most likely have the waterfall to yourself as the difficult walk and relatively unknown nature of this gem makes it unique in the area.

Peppermill Gulf proper is a public watershed, but the land to the left of the gulf is posted, so be sure to stay in the creek or on the left-hand side on your way to the waterfall.

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