Rattlesnake Gulf
(Blue Hole Falls, Wedding Falls, and Great Falls)

Location:             Lafayette, Onondaga County
Waterway:          Rattlesnake Gulf Creek (sometimes called Fall Creek)
Directions:          Access is only via Adams Eden Camp. From I-81 exit at LaFayette (exit 15) and head west on Route 20 for 4 miles. Pass Route 11A, then County Road 234. Turn left on Case Hill Road (Case Road). At the end (2.3 miles, turn left onto South Cook Road (County Road 256). Follow as it makes several bends and ends at Adams Eden Camp. (camp entrance: N 42.870 W 76.177)
Best Viewing Locations: From creek bed
Waterfall Height: Blue Hole Falls is estimated at 26-feet high (2 tiers)
Best Season to Visit: Spring, Summer, Fall (May 1st to October 31st)

Access:               Trail and Creekwalk
Hiking Time:      2 hour round trip
Length:               ~3 miles round trip
Difficulty:           4 boot
Trail Surface:     Slippery trail. Plan to get your feet wet creekwalking.
Trail Markings: Blue fish symbol
Uses:                   Hike (Swimming in the Stream is strictly prohibited without an Adams Eden Camp-approved, certified, lifeguard.)
Dogs:                  OK on leash
Admission:          $3/person or $5/family day pass into Adams Eden Camp.

Beautiful Rattlesnake Gulf sports 3 major waterfalls. Blue Hole Falls is a ribbon plunge/cascade comprised of two tiers, of about 15 and 11 feet each. Wedding Falls is a tiered cascade, while Great Falls is a cascade with a unique bounding plunge where the water shoots down the rock face.

In April, 2005, rapid snow melt, followed by several days of persistent rain caused a 1,200-foot section of the hillside in the middle reach of Rattlesnake Gulf to fail, resulting in a landslide. Large masses of clay slid into the bedrock ravine, blocking the stream, and causing massive amounts of sediment to flow downstream to Tully Farms Road. Tully Farms Road is no longer a viable creekwalk access location. (Access via Tully Farms Road is illegal and will result in prosecution.) The waterfalls are now accessible via the Stream Trail and a creekwalk from within Adams Eden Camp.

Rattlesnake Gulf near Tully Farms Road is part of an active mudboil area. Mudboils are volcano-like cones of sand and silt that boil out of the earth. They may erupt and form a large cone in several days and then cease flowing, or they may discharge for several years. They were discovered to be the cause of most of the turbidity in Onondaga Lake and have caused the wash out of bridges and relocation of petroleum pipelines and buried phone cables. In 1991 depressurizing wells and diversion channels were built to help mitigate the problems caused by the mudboils. You won’t see the mudboils as you explore Rattlesnake Gulf, but it’s interesting to know that the ground around you is boiling. (How prophetic?)

Because of the unstable nature of this area, access to the gulf is closed after heavy rains.

Trail Directions:

• After registering as a hiker at Adams Eden Camp, follow the blue fish symbol along the steep Stream Trail down to Rattlesnake Gulf.

• Enter the creekbed and turn left to climb downstream to the crest of Upper Blue Hole Falls. Facing downstream, climb down on the right (SW side) for the 15-foot drop.

• Continue on the right (SW side) for the 11-foot drop of Lower Blue Hole Falls.

• Continue hiking downstream for about 1,700 feet to Wedding Falls and another 150 feet or so to Great Falls.

• Turn around and climb back up, then follow the Stream Trail back to camp.

Date visited:

   Trail Map

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