Thunder Rocks at Allegany State Park

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Thunder Rocks in Allegany State Park NY
United States
42° 2' 32.4996" N, 78° 42' 5.5008" W

Thunder Rocks is a rock city that is located in Allegany State Park. It is made up of huge rocks that you can observe, walk up to, and even climb. It is a great place to visit with your family or to study the geologic history of New York.

The geology of Thunder Rocks is very interesting and the creation of this large rock city is unique. Most people believe that glaciers were the reason Thunder Rocks appeared, but this is not true. Instead, the giant rocks were made due to a number of things.

A long time ago (about 360 million years ago) New York State, along with Allegany State Park was covered by a large, shallow sea. The nearby Catskill Mountains were formed to the east during this time. Sediment from these mountains eroded westward towards western New York and deposited within this area. Thunder Rocks is made up of this sediment. Over some time, frost wedging and gravity erosion shaped the boulders into their present arrangement. Gravity was able to pull the large rocks down some slopes and hills. This resulted in the rocks being scattered away from each other.

While this is the most accurate evidence of how Thunder Rocks formed, some people still think glaciers caused their appearance. But this can not be true because Allegany State Park is part of what is called the Salamanca Re-entrant. This is a small area of New York State that has been untouched by glaciers. Thunder Rocks is also included in this area. This means glaciers were definitely not the reason for their formation. The process that occurred throughout New York’s geologic history is very interesting, especially when it comes to the history of Thunder Rocks. This makes it all the more reason to visit these uniquely huge slabs of bedrock!

Information compiled by Riley Brumagin and Owen Dudley 5/31/2012 for the Cattaraugus County Geology Trail

Photos

Tree growing up rocks at Thunder Rocks at Allegany State Park
Tree growing up rocks at Thunder Rocks at Allegany State Park
Big Rock at Thunder Rocks at Allegany State Park
Standing in front of giant rock at Thunder Rocks at Allegany State Park

Maps & Coordinates

Coordinates: 42°02′32.5″N 78°42′05.5″W

The red area on the map represents the Salamanca Re-entrant. This is the only area of New York State that has been untouched by glaciers.

The red area on the map represents the Salamanca Re-entrant. This is the only area of New York State that has been untouched by glaciers.

Visit the following site to see an accurate plot of this area on a map:

http://www.zeemaps.com/pub?group=368349&x=-78.701534&y=44.116457&z=11

Old Allegany State Park Guide Map showing how to get to Thunder Rocks from Salamanca

Old Allegany State Park Guide Map showing how to get to Thunder Rocks from Salamanca

General Information

  • Wheelchair Accessible: Unknown
  • Parking: Unknown
  • RV Parking: Unknown
  • Bus Parking: Unknown
  • Pets Allowed: Unknown
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Unknown
  • Internet Access: Unknown
  • Conference / Meeting / Banquet: Unknown
  • Indoor Pool: Unknown
  • Outdoor Pool: Unknown
  • Swimming:
  • Boat Launch or Dock:
  • Fishing Access:
  • Equestrian Trail Access: Unknown
  • Bicycle Trail Access: Unknown
  • Hiking Trail Access: Unknown
  • Mountain Biking Trail Access: Unknown
  • Snowmobile Trail Access: Unknown

Please note the following:

  • New York State does not allow smoking inside bars and restaurants.
  • this information may change and may be incorrect

Flickr Group photos

Red Rose - Self PortraitA tilt-shift autumnThomas Kelly Bridge at Allegany State Parkcovered bridge at Allegany State Park

Travel Guide

Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County Travel Guide for 2015It's a full 56-page comprehensive guide, highlighting the activities and attractions in our County and it's FREE!!

View the visitor's guide online

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request that the Enchanted Mountains guide

be snail mailed to you for FREE!

NYAGT Geocaching Trails

New York's Amish Trail - Immerse yourself in a simpler way of life

Top 10 site for Steelhead Fishing

Cattaraugus Creek has been listed in the top 10 sites for Steelhead Fishing (rainbow trout fishing) by 2 outdoor magazines. Steelhead Trout AKA Rainbow trout are very similar to Salmon in both taste and habits. Unlike other areas of the United States, our native Rainbow trout (Steelhead Trout) spend a majority of time in Lake Erie a freshwater lake and spawn in the Cattaraugus Creek and other tributaries.

The following is from the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation's article "Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries"

Lake Erie's tributary streams, both big and small, receive an annual run of migratory rainbow trout called "steelhead." From October through April, thousands of steelhead ascend New York's Lake Erie tributaries on their mission to spawn. Excellent fishing opportunities await any angler who wishes to try their hand at steelhead fishing. Between the acrobatic leaps, long drag-screaming runs and rod quaking head shakes, the fight of an early run steelhead is a truly exhilarating experience.

Read more about Steelhead/Rainbow fishing on the Cattaraugus Creek

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