Panama Rocks is a privately owned and operated nature preserve.
Geologists believe the rocks originated as sand and gravel sea islands,
over 300 million years ago. The islands were part of a huge river delta.
Over aeons, the islands were covered by thousands of feet of sediments,
and were 'pressure compacted' into rock. About 165 million years ago,
the rock was fractured and uplifted to its present altitude [1650'].
During the last Ice Age, a glacier cut-into and exposed the rock.
Since that time a lush, mixed forest has grown over the site,
and several species of the trees are very old, and the
forest here is included in the Sierra Club's Guide
to the Ancient Forests of the Northeast.
A one mile hiking trail encircles the formation.
Tours are self-guided. A trail map is provided.
The trail leads thru a world of towering rocks,
hundreds of crevice 'alley' passageways,
deep, cavernous dens, and small caves.
Gigantic tree roots snake down rocks.
Delicate ferns and mosses abound.
The trail can be hiked non-stop in 20 minutes.
Most people spend time off-trail exploring,
and are in the rock area for an hour or two.
And, some patrons are here several hours.
THE 2012 SEASON:
THE PARK IS SCHEDULED TO OPEN SATURDAY, MAY 12
THE PARK CLOSES TO PUBLIC ADMISSION OCTOBER 14
OPEN DAILY: 10 AM - 5 PM
No One is Admitted After 4PM
You Need to Be Out by 5 PM
To Allow Time for Exploring
We Recommend Arriving by 3 PM
All Park Grounds Close at 5 PM.
[Including Picnic & Parking Areas]
WE DO NOT ACCEPT
CREDIT CARDS, DEBIT CARDS
OR PERSONAL CHECKS
ADULT [ AGE 18 - 59 ] ... $7
CHILD [ AGE 6 - 12 ] ... $5
YOUTH [ AGE 13 - 17 ] ... $6
COLLEGE [ AGE 18 - 22 ] ... $6
( WITH ID )
SENIOR [ AGE 60 + ] ... $6
MILITARY ... $6
UNDER AGE 18
MUST BE WITH A RESPONSIBLE ADULT
AT ALL TIMES
PETS ARE NOT PERMITTED
ANYWHERE AT THE PARK.
RISK & LIABILITY
ENTRY IS AT ONE'S OWN RISK
ALL ADULTS ARE REQUIRED TO SIGN
A WAIVER OF LIABILITY BEFORE ENTRY
Patrons are permitted to explore off-trail and climb rocks.
There are NO RAILINGS ANYWHERE, just the woods and the rocks.
The rock area is in an old forest, and the trail is rough in places.
The upper trail passes near the top of cliffs and deep crevices.
There are many tree roots, cliffs, crevices and open holes.
CHILDREN & YOUTH
UNDER AGE 18 MUST BE WITH A RESPONSIBLE ADULT
CHILDREN AND YOUTH SHOULD BE CLOSELY SUPERVISED
Although it is rare,
There have been serious, life threatening accidents.
Almost all of those have been with young people.
Running can be extremely dangerous.
It is not necessary to go on the upper trail.
The worst accidents have been falling from high rocks.
The most dramatic scenery is along the lower trail,
and, it's easier to explore from the lower trail,
along the bottom of the rock formation.
THE HIKING TRAIL IS MUCH TOO ROUGH FOR STROLLERS.
[The trail is even too rugged for big wheel strollers]
Backpack type child carriers are advised.
DISPOSABLE ITEMS ARE NOT PERMITTED IN THE ROCK AREA
[e.g., cans, bottles, plastic, glass, juice boxes, sandwich bags, napkins, etc.]
NOTE: THIS INCLUDES DISPOSABLE WATER BOTTLES
You may take a non-disposable type of container,
[e.g., sport bottle, sipper-cup, canteen, mug, bota, etc.].
For foods, non-disposable containers [e.g., tupperware] are ok..
However, the less you have to carry, the easier it is to explore.
It's much easier to picnic at the tables on the upper park grounds.
NOT HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE
The trail is too rugged for wheelchairs.
There are thousands of tree roots and rocks.
There are rocky inclines with irregular surfaces.
There are no railings or barriers of any kind.
Regarding any amplified sound equipment:
Radios, etc., are restricted to the picnic area.
The volume is to be kept low. [ e.g., so that
the sound cannot be heard at the park office,
which is about 300 feet from the picnic area.]
This is first and foremost a nature preserve,
People come here to experience and enjoy
the very special nature that is at this site.
Radios, etc. are inappropriate, and are only
permitted if they are kept at low volume.
Intrusive sound detracts from the natural
experience we are trying to provide.
There are picnic facilities on the upper grounds.
Our picnic facilities are for park patrons only.
Light conditions are low in the rock area.
A wide angle lens is very useful.
[The lower trail is close to the rocks.
It's hard to stand back far enough to
take photos of the larger rocks,
without having to go downhill.]
Panorama cameras photograph the breadth,
but do not get the height of the rocks,
and are not generally recommended.
Video cameras that work well in low light
capture the scenery best. You can 'pan',
and film the depths and expanse.
HIKING & CLIMBING
There are fewer people here before noon.
The rock formation faces the morning sun,
and the 'light' is different in the morning.
If you just want to hike the trail, and
stop along the way to take photographs,
and will not be exploring off-trail much,
then you will only need an hour or so.
Arrive before or by 4PM, at the latest.
No one is admitted after 4 PM.
You need to be out of the park by 5 PM.
If you will be doing more off-trail exploring,
you will probably want at least two hours, so
plan on arriving before or by 3PM, at the latest.
FYI: It gets dark earlier in the scenic rock area
because the formation faces to the east
RAPPELLING NOT PERMITTED
ON HOLIDAY WEEKENDS
In order that rappelling continue to be permitted here,
it's important that climbers not damage any of the nature.
[e.g., No rappelling down moss covered cliffs, etc.]
Wear comfortable walking shoes, hiking boots or sneakers.
[It is NOT ADVISED to wear thongs, sandals, cowboy boots, heels, etc.]
Panama Rocks Scenic Park was established in 1885.
All of the property is privately owned and operated.
Click here to go to the park history.
Area information is available at the park office,
located at the back of the big white building,
e.g., brochures, travel guides, maps, etc.
Menu's from many area restaurants
are posted on the office wall.
Click here for some great county information!
The park has modern restroom facilities.
There are also two changing rooms available.
[Showers are no longer available, sorry.]
PANAMA ROCKS SCENIC PARK
11 Rock Hill Road [County Route 10]
P.O. Box 176
Panama, NY 14767
PHONE (716) 782-2845
SITE NAVAGATION LINKS PLUS