Northern New York Waterfalls 

Butternut Falls

Directions

Since this waterfall is on private property, we are not providing specific details on its access.

County: Jefferson
Town: Watertown
USGS Map: Rutland Center
Waterway: Fall Creek
Latitude: N 43° 57' 48"
Longitude: W 75° 51' 48"
Drop: 35'
Type: Ribbon cascade
Region: Just east of Watertown
Parking: NA
Trail type: NA
Length of hike: NA
Difficulty: NA
Accessibility: Private
Name: Official

Watertown Quadrangle

This very nice waterfall within a short distance of the Watertown city limits came as a total surprise to me.  As a native of Watertown, I had never heard of it.  It is listed on the World Waterfall Database as Rutland Hollow Falls.  When I discovered where it was, I reached out to a good friend that lives immediately across the road from it.  Within a span of about 12 hours, I talked with some old friends, two of whom I've known for over 50 years, who live very close to it and know it well.  I heard many stories about swimming there when they were kids.

We must stress that it is located on private property.  It also turns out that the property is now owned by a Watertown-based church and the pastor when we learned about it is a high school classmate of mine!  When I explained what I was doing, he graciously granted me permission to go there and that was before he realized who I was!

It is flowing during most of the year, except of course during the winter when everything is frozen.  Located off the east end of Lake Ontario, Watertown is known as Snowtown USA.  The snow and cold is legendary!

The waterfall is on an unnamed stream that flows out of an area known as Rutland Hollow, a valley east of the city.  On November 19, 2017, we received an email from a contributor who also grew up in this area.  The stream flowed through their backyard just downstream of the falls, and his mother referred to it as Fall Creek.  We are researching this.

The aforementioned friends who grew up in this area in the fifties and sixties know this as Butternut Falls, because of the prevalence of Butternut trees in the area.  The name of this waterfall is now official, having been added to the GNIS data base on November 9, 2017.

Some might consider this a step-type waterfall because, as the pictures show, you can see the layers of rock forming steps in its path.  However, these steps drop very quickly.  Unlike some step-falls that you could literally walk up, this is very steep and is more of a cascade.  The top few steps drop six to eight feet gradually.  The center section is a rapid succession of steps dropping about 20'.  It then levels out very briefly before the final drop of another eight feet or so.

We have found a few waterfalls like this one.  It is a true beauty, virtually unknown and hidden within a very short distance of a fairly populated area.

This unnamed stream flows into the Black River less than a mile downstream from here.  The Black finds its way to Lake Ontario in Dexter, New York.

Last update:  November 19, 2017

Hover on any of the thumbnails to see an enlarged image

Butternut Falls Butternut Falls
Butternut Falls Butternut Falls
Butternut Falls Butternut Falls

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