CNY Hiking HOME PAGE Hiking in Chenango County Pharsalia WMA FLT -Pharsalia WMA
Hiking in Chenango County
Pharsalia WMA

of Pharsalia


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While maybe not spectacular, the scenic 'Waterfalls of Pharsalia' are still a place worth visiting and to enjoy.  The waterfalls are a set of small waterfalls and cascades along an unnamed tributary of the Otselic River.  The Finger Lakes Trail travels past this beautiful area of Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area.  The white blazed FLT travels over 550 miles and is the longest continuous hiking trail in New York State that spans from Allegany State Park to the Catskills.

Part of the 'Waterfalls of Pharsalia' along the FLT (picture courtesy of Kirk Doyle)

There are two ways to visit the 'Waterfalls of Pharsalia' and both require a hike along the Finger Lakes Trail.  Be forewarned that the waterfalls can disappear during the dry season of summer.   The longer, tougher and more scenic hike begins on the FLT off paved Stage Road off NY 26 outside of the small hamlet of South Otselic.  There is some parking along the shoulder of Stage Road where the FLT crosses.  This moderate/difficult 2.1 mile round trip hike has an overall elevation gain of 708 feet.

The FLT crosses the road ditch and enters the edge of a field.  Your hiking on private property as the trail climbs to surprising views around you (see panorama above).  Soon the trail enters the woods at the corner of the field at 0.2 miles.  There's a hidden trail register at 0.3 miles (behind a tree your passing).  Soon after your crossing a stream and a very wet section of trail before climbing away from the stream.  The trail still has some wet spots as you continue your climb into Pharsalia WMA.

Stream crossing along the FLT on private property

At 0.5 miles you'll notice some yellow boundary paint on trees marking your entry into beautiful Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area.  You are now hiking on state land and still climbing as you veer left near an old stone wall.   At 0.6 miles the trail begins to descend toward the next stream crossing.

At 0.8 miles you'll cross the unnamed stream that is home to the 'Waterfalls of Pharsalia'.  The trail now begins a sometimes steep climb as you'll begin to see the first of the waterfalls and cascades at 0.9 miles.  The trail will turn left at a double blaze right above one of the waterfalls.  Just after one mile of hiking you'll reach the main waterfalls/cascades.  Some may even take a steep walk down to the base for a better look of the falls, but watch your step!

Looking below at one of the many waterfalls/cascades

To return to your vehicle simply retrace your steps.  This hike can be slippery and the use of hiking poles will come in handy (from experience).  The shorter and easier hike to the 'Waterfalls of Pharsalia' is to start from the seasonal dirt Church Hill Road and follow the white blazes of the Finger Lakes Trail north, descending to the waterfalls.  It's about 0.2 miles to the main waterfalls and another 0.1 miles to see all of the 'Waterfalls of Pharsalia'.

Looking up at the first main part of the Waterfalls of Pharsalia

Below is a map and video of this great hike.  The best time to visit is soon after snow melt or after heavy rains.  Our last visit was on 6/23/2010 and there was water.  We've visited in July and there was no water.  There is much more to explore in Pharsalia WMA along the Finger Lakes Trail.  Take a hike and explore two beautiful ponds, remains of an old CCC camp, a lean to and a scenic walk along Canastawacta Creek.  You won't be disappointed in visiting beautiful Pharsalia WMA.

You can help support this trail by purchasing the official map of this section of trail by visiting the Finger Lakes Trail Conference web site.  The map for this section is map M23.  Look below for a map and video of this section of trail.

Directions to the Waterfalls of Pharsalia: 

To Stage Road trailhead:  From South Otselic take NY 26 north and turn right on Stage Road. The Finger Lakes Trail crosses the road in just over a mile. You'll see the yellow FLT signs on the side. Park along the north side of the road. The GPS coordinates are N42 39.293 W75 44.395.

To Church Hill Road trailhead:  From the small hamlet of South Otselic, drive 2.6 miles on Church Hill Rd to the crossing of the FLT.  Park along the side of the road.  This part of the road is a seasonal road and is not plowed in the winter. The GPS coordinates are N42 38.708 W75 44.007.


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