After dropping Emily off on Saturday morning at Wells for a visit with her friends, I was on my own to explore the area. It was still a bit drizzly, but the forecast predicted clearing for the afternoon. I drove down the east side of Cayuga Lake, got lost only briefly in Ithaca, and then headed up the west side of the lake toward Taughannock Falls State Park.
The trail to the falls is wide, pothole-free, and mostly level – just a few modest inclines now and again. It is about 3/4 of a mile long and hugs the south bank of the creek upstream to the bottom of the falls.
At the time I visited, the water was low enough that lots of people opted for a walk IN the creek, rather than beside it:
At the end of the trail, you cross a footbridge to a viewing platform.
The water drops 215 feet, more distance than the water at Niagara Falls… though, obviously, not nearly as much water! (The falls on the US side at Niagara are 167 feet high and those on the Canadian side are 158 feet.) If you click some of the links below, especially the last one, you will find pictures of the falls at different times of the year when there is more water going over.
After returning from the creek trail, I ate some lunch and drank some water. I checked out the maps and decided to try the rim trail… It’s probably a little under 4 miles if you make the entire loop, which I did. The beginning and the end are both rather rugged and steep, but once you are up on the rim, it’s fairly level. There are stone steps on both the north and south sides to help with the steep parts. There are more vistas on the north side; the woods on the south side are shady and pleasant.
The rim trail goes a little ways upstream from the main falls to give a view of the Upper Falls, none of my pictures of which turned out.
After I turned the corner and headed back downstream on the south side, in the stretch between the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls, there are a view vistas of the winding creek. The walls of the gorge are teaming with wildlife, including plants and trees. Here is a thriving White Pine:
(Oh, by the way… one of the features I appreciated because of my fear of heights was the sturdy chain link fence on the creek side of the rim trail! It made me feel very safe and secure.)
It was a beautiful walk and I highly recommend it!
- Taughannock Falls State Park: NYS Parks Department website
- Reserve America: Reserve your campsite here!
- Private Website: This is a very nice privately done website about the park. Bravo (brava?) to the author!
- NY Falls: A very pretty website with info about LOTS of waterfalls in New York State