By Madis Senner
The following has been adapted from Sacred Sites in North Star Country: Places in Greater New York State (PA,OH,NJ,CT,MA,VT,ONT) That Changed the World.
A mini Chimney Bluffs is how I would describe Scotts Bluff in Wolcott. Located less than 10 miles east of the visually striking Chimney Bluffs State Park. It is the Red Creek part of the NY DEC’s Black Creek Wildlife management area, one of several lake shore marshes maintained by the NYS DEC http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/24441.html. Scotts Bluff provides the opportunity to explore the wonder and majesty of Lake Ontario in a secluded environment.
The area between Rochester and Oswego is noted for its drumlins, or rolling hills. The numerous bluffs located on Lake Ontario’s southern shore formed from the erosion of these drumlins. The pounding wind, rain and snow continue to wear away at the bluffs.
The entrance area and parking lot is situated on a plateau overlooking Lake Ontario, providing spectacular views of Lake Ontario and the Bluff (to your right). Be aware that the grassy area of the plateau may not be mowed.
To get to the beach, look for a herd path to your left in the woods. The herd path has a good pitch and there are lots of prickly wild rose bushes on either side. If this area is not maintained, the rose bushes can form a canopy and require crouching in parts to go down. However, when I was there last, the herd path had been groomed and no crouching or maneuvering was required to get down. Bring along a thick shirt just in case to protect yourself, or wear a backpack to protect yourself for the path down. The trail can also be wet.
The beach is about a mile in length and depending upon when you visit may have a few people, or none at all on it. I have seen people swimming on a few occasions.
The condition of the shoreline can vary greatly. Because the shoreline is not maintained you may find washed up trees and other debris. It will also be influenced by the water level of Lake Ontario. The wind can also whip up 2-3 foot waves, which can significantly reduce the size of the shoreline. The temperature will be more moderate; cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter. Expect a breeze.
If you walk to your left (west) a few hundred feet you will come upon the Red Creek Marsh; it will be on your left (south). The shoreline will narrow and begin widening again once you get beyond the marsh.
I am told that a heavy rain can overrun the barrier separating Red Creek Marsh from Lake Ontario. When this happens, a little waterway forms between the marsh and Lake Ontario at the center of the marsh, where the barrier is the thinnest. I have seen canoers on several occasions in the Creek Marsh.
Scots Bluff shows what makes our Finger Lakes region so wonderful. I encourage you to visit this unique area and take in its spectacular views.
Address: Broadway, Wolcott, NY at the dead end.
Webpage: Part of the Lake Shore Marshes Area (Black Creek Region) http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/24441.html.
Close by: Chimney Bluffs State Park.
Directions: From Wolcott head east on Mill St., turns into Oswego St.. Left onto Wadsworth Street Rd (Cty. 164.) Follow to end at T. Take a right onto Brown Rd. Take your next right onto Cemetery Rd and continue straight (will change names.) Take a left onto Broadway Rd. (Cty. 168.) Follow to the end.