Bucktail Falls located in Spafford, New York (Onondaga County) close to the southern end of Otisco Lake is a 30 to 35-foot waterfall that runs year-round and does not require any hiking or walking to see the beautiful waterfall.
The perfect place to bring someone who has mobility issues, yet still wants to see and enjoy nature’s beauty.
Bucktail Falls Waterway
The waterfall is located on a stream called The BuckTail (an odd name for a stream), right before the stream crosses under Moon Hill Road. See the map below.
The Bucktail flows into Spafford Creek which runs through the glacial Otisco Valley and feeds into Otisco Lake, one of the finger lakes.
I first visited this waterfall in November of 2023 and will return to take more photos of this picturesque waterfall throughout the seasons. I will, of course, add the photos to the gallery shown below.
Bucktail Falls Geology
The waterfall is located in a fern and moss-covered glen composed of mudstone and shale from the Ledyard Formation, sometimes referred to as the Otisco Shale. The rock is of the Middle Devonian age. A quick survey of the fallen rocks showed abundant fossils of brachiopods, rugose corals, trilobites, and bryozoans.
Topography Around the Falls
The large trees and shade from the rock glen keep the area moist and ideal for ferns and moss.
There was an old mill at the location, and an old topographic map showed buildings nearby. But their remains or foundations are no longer visible.
The parking area is very small. There is maybe enough room for three cars. There is little roadside parking either. The closest alternative parking is a farm field driveway about a ½-mile down Sawmill Road. Care must be taken when walking on the road in this area.
There is a small level area that leads to the side of the falls, and some paths that cross the stream and to better locations for photography.
You can also take photos from the bridge on Moon Hill Road, but again, be careful of traffic. There isn’t much traffic here, but the shoulder is tight. A guard rail will provide some protection from the road.
The waterfall is on private property, but the owner doesn’t mind respectful visits. So please don’t let anyone climb the rock walls, be loud, and do not drop any trash, and please do not damage or deface the rocks. If you see any trash, it would be great if you could pick it up and take it away so we can continue to get close to this beautiful waterfall.
As mentioned, this waterfall is right at, or nearly so, the parking area. A person with limited mobility with a little help will get a great view of the waterfalls. The same for small children, with care, as there are some small drop-offs it would be a great place to let young ones enjoy nature.
Click the image for a larger view.