Fillmore Glen State Park

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Western NY Parks

In September, I set out with a road trip buddy to visit some park units in upstate New York. For me, the highlight of this trip was visiting my 100th National Park Service unit. That puts me at Bronze status in the National Parks Traveler’s Club. The first stop on our journey was Fillmore Glen State Park.

Fillmore Glen State Park

Fillmore Glen State Park lies within the Finger Lakes region of New York near the Village of Moravia. The park centers around a gorge with several waterfalls. Fillmore Glen takes its name from the 13th president of the United States. Millard Fillmore was born nearby in 1800.

We strolled the quarter-mile path to Cow Sheds Falls. Cow Sheds spills 50 feet off an overhang into a stream which meanders into a natural swimming pool. Legend has it that cows sheltered under the overhang during storms which is how the falls were named. That was before the 1920s when the state acquired the land. Now there are no cows allowed.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) set up camp here in the 1930s. They built the stone bridges and stairs throughout the park. Crossing the stone bridge on the Cow Sheds path brings you to the head of the Gorge Trail. The trail climbs 150 feet up some steep stone steps to a mile-long rim trail.

Millard Fillmore Birthplace Cabin

Millard Fillmore came from Moravia. He was born just outside of town and married his one-room schoolhouse teacher. In spite of his humble beginnings, he studied law and served in Congress. He was elected vice president under Zachary Taylor in 1848. When Taylor died in 1850, Fillmore became president. He supported compromise on the slavery issue and enforced the Fugitive Slave Act. This made him unpopular with many of his constituents and he failed to gain his party’s nomination for president in 1852.

The park built a replica of President Millard Fillmore’s boyhood log cabin near the swimming hole. It’s really tiny, with only two spartan rooms. The original cabin was demolished in 1852, while Fillmore served as president.

Western NY Road Trip

  • Fillmore Glen State Park
  • Harriet Tubman National Historical Park
  • Seward House
  • Women’s Rights National Historical Park
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton Home
  • Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
  • Niagara Falls: Terrapin
  • Niagara Falls: Maid of the Mist
  • Niagara Falls: Observation Tower
  • Niagara Falls: Luna
  • Niagara Falls: Trolley
  • Niagara Falls: Gorge
  • Corning Museum of Glass

Location: 1686 NY-38, Moravia, NY
Designation: State Park
Date designated/established: 1925
Date of my visit: September 24, 2022