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Finding 'Lil Niagara in Elmwood Park

Today, grand stone staircases swoop down through forested slopes to a field with scattered trees, a walking path and a creek that runs through it. There is a precious tiny island and a stone bridge with a keystone hole. Eventually paths lead upstream through the field and the woods to Corcoran High School's athletic fields.

For two years now I thought the park ended at the athletic fields, but about a month ago I met neighbors who told me about a little waterfall tucked away in the ravine beyond the 1927 stone landscaping and Corcoran's fields. "Little Niagara," they called it. This past weekend with the sun shining down, I set out to find it with my mother and brother, who were visiting for the weekend, along with our two dogs.

We hiked up and over the hill in the snow beyond the fields and looked down into the ravine. Sure enough, there was a tiny waterfall, hardly Niagara Falls, but intimate and charming nonetheless. After sliding down the steep slope to get a closer look, we guessed the drop of the falls to be about five feet with a wading pool at its base. The creek continued winding its way through a small gorge that was reminiscent of those found in Ithaca. We stayed for a moment soaking in the beauty and taking photos, then continued to explore both down and upstream. The ravine became much taller until we were hiking on the edge of a cliff overlooking the creek winding far below. We walked as far as we could until the trail ended. Then, grateful for the journey and the exercise, we headed back home for dinner.

Even today it's hard for me to believe something so beautiful and secluded can be found within the city's limits, and yet Syracuse is full of treasures such as this. It just takes a little adventure to discover the natural beauty of our own salty city.

Photo by Courtney Rile was taken in Elmwood Park, if you want to see 'Lil Niagara, you'll have to make the trek!

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