Hike Carpenter and Angel Falls

3 miles 450 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Michael Wigle

Upstate New York is full of amazing waterfalls. In the summer months, these places become packed with tourists. Carpenter and Angel Falls offer a little more adventure in a more serene setting.

Head 12 miles south on Route 41A along Skaneateles Lake from Skaneateles NY. Make a left onto Appletree Point Road  and go a little more than a half mile to where the intersection of Carver Road is. There is a small gravel parking area off to the left with room for about 8 cars. The trailhead begins here.

The path heading left will take you to the Carpenter Falls bowl in less than 600 feet. Here you can walk down a steep section of earth and tree roots like a series of steps. It is not maintained and requires time to scramble down the steep slope to the base of the falls. The falls are about 95' tall, and the limestone section around the rim is slippery from algae. You can walk around the inside of the mudstone under the shelf and behind the falls to chill in the hot afternoon.

There are two options from here. Either you can head back to the trailhead and go down the fork that is right from the parking lot. It is a 1.5 mile wooded rim trail that will take you down into the ravine at the end where it comes to Skaneateles Lake. The more adventurous choice is to hike along the banks of Bear Swamp Creek away from Carpenter Falls following the game trail made by other hikers. It switches across the creek in a few places, so be prepared to get wet, especially in the spring.

After a half mile, there will be a series of scrambles down the left side of Angel Falls. This is deeper in the gorge, so the flat rocks along the lip are even more of a hazard than Carpenter. Follow the ropes left by climbers to assist with climbing down until it winds back around under the falls in a deep, sheltered pool. This is the perfect place to make a small campfire and chill as the sunsets further behind the gorge in late afternoon. Unless you want to fight over an over priced table in town, crack open a few Empire Skinny Atlas pale ales down here.

When you're ready to head back, go 300 feet further down river to a large scramble that heads up 200 feet to the rim trail on the right. A few ropes along with eroded earth exposing a series of root steps marks the path up. Back at the top, use the trail to guide you back to the road out.

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Adult Beverages
Easy Parking
Swimming Hole


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Overall rating: 

Awesome waterfall

One of the last places you can get right under the falls without having to jump and sort of safety fence. A pretty wild place. Trails other than the main falls are not clearly marked so be careful. Parts of trail are steep and narrow so be careful with little kids and dogs. Overall a really cool place and defiantly worth the drive just for the main falls. Only about a 5 min hike to the falls too.

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