Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall
The path is very nice and will take you to an amazing waterfall.
This is a classic Ithaca area hike to one of New York's best waterfalls. It is a short and beautiful there-and-back route that follows the bottom of the gorge in Taughannock Falls State Park to a viewpoint of Taughannock Falls, a waterfall that is 30 feet higher than Niagara and the tallest single-drop falls east of the Mississippi. The trail is flat, wide, and very well maintained.
Need to Know
The path is wide and well maintained, but can be very icy in the winter.
The hike begins at the Taughannock Falls Gorge Trailhead parking area on NY 89 about 9.5 miles north of Ithaca on the western side of Cayuga Lake. The trail starts right from the parking lot and immediately splits from the South Rim Trail. The trail will take you first to a lookout point for a mini-waterfall.
The trail then continues along a well-maintained wide path. Parts of it allow you to hike along the flat slabs of rocks along the river which can be quite fun. Other parts of it pass a little farther into the woods, but never too far from the creak as the gorge walls prevent you from leaving the water's edge too far.
The gorge walls will continue to climb higher and higher until they reach nearly 400 feet. At this point, the path will cross a bridge right below the falls offering amazing views. A few more steps will take you to the end of the trail - another great viewpoint of Taughannock Falls which drops 215 feet.
Retrace your steps to return to the parking area.
History & Background
Taughannock Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall east of the Mississippi River - 30 feet higher than Niagara Falls.