16 Stunning Waterfalls in Ithaca Worth Exploring
We've compiled a list of the most gorgeous Waterfalls in Ithaca, New York, for you to visit during your stay.
Ithaca and its environs were literally carved out millions of years ago by glaciers creating gorges.
Ithaca is the place to go if you want to see some of the nicest waterfalls in New York. And, maybe most importantly, the finest news of them all? Due to the near proximity of these waterfalls, you may view a whole bunch in a single weekend!
If you walk up to Cornell University, down to the Ithaca Commons, or into one of the state parks, you are certain to come upon one of Ithaca's enormous waterfalls.
Exit Ithaca and the nearby towns of Tompkins County also include some incredible hidden jewels that will provide the ideal setting for that oh-so-desired snapshot.
From New York City to Niagara Falls, what is the best way to get there? Ithaca is the ideal location to stop along the road and see some more amazing waterfalls while also getting a good night's rest at one of the numerous local hotels.
Whether you want a quick view from the roadside or enjoy the thought of a decent climb to see the falls, Ithaca has the experience you're searching for. Consider the following waterfalls and begin arranging your New York waterfall road trip today!
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16 Stunning Waterfalls in Ithaca Worth Exploring
Your first stop should be at the Taughannock Falls Overlook to admire the biggest waterfalls in Ithaca and ice structures. Taughannock Falls is a year-round tourist site in the Finger Lakes, located about ten miles west of Ithaca in the lovely hamlet of Trumansburg.
Parking is available just adjacent to the overlook, and the viewing platform is only a few feet away. The overlook is available all year. However, due to hazardous conditions in the winter, the stone steps leading to the lower observation platforms are closed.
Would you like to get a close-up view of Taughannock Falls? Drive to the main Route 89 parking area and stroll the Gorge Track, a mile-and-a-half round-trip trail that is wide, flat, and ideal for a winter walk. During the winter months, the Gorge Trail stays open.
The ideal winter waterfall adventure involves visits to both Robert H. Treman State Park and Buttermilk Falls State Park, which is entirely achievable given their proximity to one another! Both parks are located along Route 13 in the southern part of Ithaca.
The Lower Falls in Buttermilk Falls State Park is easily accessible from the parking lot. When frozen, the wide, flowing falls are particularly lovely, especially when the trees are also coated with snow.
At the base of the falls, benches and picnic tables provide a place to sit and take in the beauty of nature. This section of the park is open year-round.
Ludlowville Falls is a small community located northeast of Ithaca in Tompkins County. As one of the little gorgeous waterfalls in Ithaca, located along Salmon Creek on the eastern banks of Cayuga Lake, this fall is said to drop upwards of 35 feet.
Ludlowville Falls (in some sources referred to as Salmon Creek Falls) is tucked away within a small, unassuming park. A short walk past the playground equipment, however, affords an excellent view of this waterfall, which can be viewed from above or at creek level.
Behind the water's veil lies a big cave that has been eroded, yet accessing this region safely is quite difficult, thus going behind the falls is not suggested.
While this waterfall is very easy to get, it is also one of the least visited in the Finger Lakes.
Enfield Falls in Enfield Glen in Robert Treman State Park is another one of the most magical waterfalls in Ithaca. Enfield Falls is one of twelve waterfalls located inside the lovely Robert Treman State Park.
Enfield Falls, with a 70-foot drop, is one of two significant waterfalls in Robert Treman State Park's 12 waterfalls. Enfield Falls is occasionally referred to as Bottom Falls, owing to its location in the park's lower section.
This waterfall is incredibly magnificent to behold, and because it is generally quiet at this time of year, there is a good possibility you will have it all to yourself!
You may either park at the lower gate of Robert Treman State Park and walk the short, flat trail to Enfield Falls, then return to the park's upper entrance to see the whole falls, or if you're looking for a workout, you can do the 4.3-mile Rim and Gorge Trail circle.
Bear in mind that the pathways are one-way; the Rim Trail ascends, while the Gorge Trail descends. Ascending is obviously more difficult than descending, so plan accordingly if this is the path you wish to take.
The summer months are the busiest, so plan accordingly. Furthermore, these routes are closed throughout the winter season.
We recommend visiting Robert Treman State Park's Lower and Upper gates separately, especially if you're pursuing many waterfalls in the Ithaca area.
Parking is metered, so plan accordingly.
Wells Falls, located near the first dam on Six Mile Creek downtown, is one of our top favorite waterfalls in Ithaca.
Businessman's Lunch Falls got its name because it was a favorite lunch place for local office workers who wanted to see the set of cascading waterfalls varying from 5 to 30 feet.
On the Six Mile Creek Falls, an ancient mill and some graffiti were restored by nature. We loved the scene of the old mill being overtaken by nature close to the 65-foot waterfalls.
To see this beautiful Ithaca waterfall, park at the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve. After parking, walk back to the road and over the bridge.
Right is a short trail. Skip the first trail, which is a small walkway constructed by a few people, and go to the second, which is wider and has a gate.
The waterfall is only a 2-minute walk away.
Swimming is risky and forbidden. If there is ice, we do not recommend going.
Rocky Falls is located on the same pedestrian suspension bridge that spans Fall Creek in Ithaca. This 44-foot waterfall is a little further away, but you can still see it rather clearly!
After viewing Horseshoe Falls below and Rocky Falls upstream, you can either continue across the walking suspension bridge or return to your car to reach our final waterfall in Ithaca on Fall Creek.
To park, continue on Fall Creek Drive, and immediately after passing the Fall Creek Bridge, there is a tiny parking lot on the right-hand side. From this location, you can access the Fall Creek waterfall trail; the closest address is 310 Fall Creek Drive.
Another option is to reach this route from the Cornell Campus side of Fall Creek; parking is available near the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Garden, and then walk over to the trailhead.
In the winter, the Fall Creek trail is closed due to ice.
On Fall Creek, the 150-foot-high Ithaca Falls, which lies in the middle of downtown Ithaca, is probably the most magnificent waterfall in the entire city. There are numerous waterfalls along Fall Creek, but this is the largest and most spectacular of them; the others can be observed from above.
It's located on Lake Street, just north of downtown Ithaca, and there's plenty of parking on either side of the street, making it a very accessible waterfall in Ithaca.
It is from the base of the falls that you will have a spectacular view of the 150-foot drop of this flowing GORGES waterfall!
It is simple to see, and unlike other Ithaca falls, this one may be visited all year round.
Horseshoe Falls is another stunning waterfall on the campus of Cornell University. This is one of the most stunning waterfalls in Ithaca, New York. It is located upstream of Ithaca Falls in the Fall Creek Gorge Natural Area.
This is another waterfall whose design compensates for its lack of height. The old stone building which is just behind the waterfall is especially enjoyable as it is believed to contribute much to the beauty of Horseshoe Falls.
While this waterfall is visible from above, it is well worth the effort to descend the steps to the gorge's base.
The most magnificent waterfalls in Ithaca Robert Treman State Park is the 115-foot-high Lucifer Falls. You can either hike the full trail from the bottom of Robert Treman State Park or descend down the Gorge Trail to reach this spectacular waterfall.
The descent is simple and surreal; the trail passes many of the Enfield Glen's 12 waterfalls, as well as stone bridges and staircases, as well as dense flora and fauna reminiscent of Fern Gully for any kids from the 1990s.
As you descend the Gorge Trail, you'll ultimately reach the largest falls, Lucifer Falls, where you can pause and snap photos. Alternatively, you can cross the bridge and return to the parking lot on the Rim Trail, which is about.5 of a mile away.
The trails are entirely one-way, and returning up is a bit tough, so mentally prepare yourself and your company for a lot of steps back up with a steep incline.
Regardless of whatever route you take to reach Lucifer Falls, you'll encounter other waterfalls. Take in the beauty of this trail!
In the winter, due to ice, the trails close.
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Located in the heart of Ithaca and adjacent to the Cornell University campus, is another popular waterfall in Ithaca located, on Fall Creek and Beebe Lake. The Martin Y. Tang Welcome Center is adjacent to Triphammer Falls, a 55-foot waterfall.
To reach the route, first attempt to park at the Martin Y. Tang Welcome Center's metered parking lot. Parking is scarce in this area. However, if you are unable to find parking, there are several neighboring parking lots that are only a short walk away.
Walk across the pedestrian-only bridge directly over Triphammer Falls, and for an additional picturesque stroll, we recommend following the path around Beebe Lake, which includes the charming stone Sackett Foot Bridge.
Additionally, you are adjacent to Cornell Botanic Gardens, so it may be worthwhile to combine a visit with simply parking there as well.
Although the Fall Creek route is blocked throughout the winter owing to ice, this waterfall in Ithaca is easily visible without access to the trail.
The Old Mill Falls
Another one of the magnificent waterfalls in Ithaca is the falls at The Old Mill, which is located near the upper entrance to Robert Treman State Park. Plug The Old Mill into Google Maps and park here, retaining the small piece of paper indicating you paid for parking at one of the pay stations.
This parking spot will allow you to explore the remainder of the Ithaca Falls with Robert Treman. However, before embarking on the Gorge Trail, we recommend paying a visit to the historic operating Gristmill and its waterfall.
This is a small waterfall, but it's so easy to overlook once you're here. It's also a very easy waterfall to see with young children or anyone who is unable to walk up and down the trails' stone stairs.
From this vantage point, six trails lead into Enfiled Glen and Robert Treman State Park.
Begin here, as this is the highest entry to Robert Treman; these falls are located behind the ancient mill. Begin on the Gorge Trail and, after reaching Lucifer Falls, return via the Rim Trail and drive down to Enfield Falls.
In the winter, the trails are closed owing to ice.
Cascadilla Gorge Falls
Cascadilla Gorge is the crown jewel of Ithaca's gorges. If you're looking for undiscovered Finger Lakes waterfalls in Ithaca, this is a must-see.
From downtown Ithaca to the center of Cornell's campus, the Cascadilla Gorge Trail follows Cascadilla Creek. Indeed, if you visit during the school year, the majority of individuals on this trail will likely be people going about their everyday lives and walking from one location to the next.
This 1.3-mile walk crosses six stunning Ithaca waterfalls while following ancient stone steps built in the 1920s.
If you're not afraid of stairs, this is an excellent urban route in downtown Ithaca.
Lick Brook Falls
Winter brings life to this summer swimming hole, which was previously dormant. Prepare to be wowed by the breathtaking views of this frozen waterfall in Ithaca. Bring your camera. From the parking lot, it's only a short walk along a flat path, just don't get your feet wet.
All year, visitors can enjoy the Lower Falls region.
Forest Falls on Fall Creek is one of the most stunning waterfalls in Ithaca. Only from the Stewart Avenue Bridge can you see this waterfall. We recommend parking on either side of the bridge and returning on foot to cross it; just be cautious of oncoming traffic.
While standing on the Stewart Avenue bridge, you are actually directly above Ithaca Falls, despite the fact that the drop is fairly steep and barely visible. On this side of the bridge, you can see Cayuga Lake, and if you look closely, you'll notice an intriguing Egyptian Revival home snuggled into the cliff directly next to the bridge at 900 Stewart Avenue.
This was the home of Carl Sagan, a famous astronomer and planetary scientist who lived in Ithaca. What an awe-inspiring vantage point he possessed! When looking down from the opposite side of the bridge, you may view the flowing 25-foot Forest Falls.
Technically, you should park at the Fall Creek parking area, which provides access to the foot trail that leads to the several Ithaca falls along Fall Creek. Parking near the bridge is considerably fine if it is not very busy, because there is lots of street parking.
Once you pass the Fall Creek Bridge on Fall Creek Drive, there is a tiny parking area on the right. From here, you may access the Fall Creek waterfalls trail at 310 Fall Creek Drive.
In the winter, due to ice, the Fall Creek trail is closed.
Moving along Six Mile Creek, you can reach a couple more waterfalls in Ithaca by returning to Mullholland Wildflower Preserve.
Now we're on our way to the Second Dam. Flowing water over the actual dam in Ithaca, not a natural waterfall.
Also, the trail to Potters' Falls passes by this waterfall. Walking from Mullholland Wildflower Preserve to Potter's Falls takes about three miles. Don't forget your comfy shoes and drink.
Surrounding the Second Dam with sheer cliffs on either side, you'll find yourself halfway through your journey.
We can't stress enough how dangerous cliff jumping is, and how many people have died here. Swimmers have been rescued and bodies retrieved here. Enjoy the Ithaca waterfalls from the trail safely.
A winter hike is not advised.
Potter's Fall, one of the waterfalls in Ithaca commonly known as Green Tree Falls, is our final waterfall in Ithaca's downtown region along Six Mile Creek. This 25-foot waterfall is accessible through the Greenway Trail and East Gorge Trail.
We recommend continuing past Second Dam Falls from the Mulholland Wildlife Preserve trailhead until you reach Potter's Falls.
Although this trail is technically available all year, it is frequently impassable during the winter if it is frozen, and we do not advocate traveling if the weather is snowy or icy.
Where to Stay in Ithaca
Ithaca is a large city with a variety of excellent lodging options, including chain hotels, local boutique hotels, and bed and breakfasts, among other options.
The Statler Hotel, La Tourelle Hotel, and Hilton Garden Inn are among the most popular accommodations in Ithaca, according to guest reviews.
If you want to get away from the city, the Inn at Taughannock is highly recommended. It is housed in a historic mansion and offers excellent accommodation. In addition to being approximately 10 miles north of Ithaca, it is adjacent to Taughannock Falls State Park.
FAQs on Waterfalls in Ithaca
1. How many waterfalls are in Ithaca?
A total of 150 falls. The Waterfalls of Ithaca are “Gorges”
There are approximately 150 waterfalls within ten miles of Ithaca, sculpted out by glaciers that formed gorges millions of years ago.
2. Are Ithaca waterfalls open?
The city allows the public to visit and experience Ithaca Falls with caution.
3. Can you swim in Ithaca Falls?
Ithaca Falls is situated within the Ithaca Falls Natural Area, a small park with a view of the falls. This is a popular swimming spot, despite the fact that swimming is not permitted. At times, the river and falls contain high water and extremely swift currents. Therefore, proceed with caution and consult a local before swimming.
4. Is Taughannock Falls taller than Niagara Falls?
If you're looking for a beautiful sight, make your way to Trumansburg's Taughannock Falls. The falls create a 400-foot-deep gorge through sandstone, shale, and limestone, and are three stories higher than Niagara Falls.
Taughannock Falls State Park features excellent hiking paths and Cayuga Lake swimming. Due to the swift currents, swimming here should be done with caution and in consultation with a local.
5. Does Ithaca have a downtown?
Ithaca is well-known for its artistic influence, which is evident throughout the downtown center. As you walk through an alley, you'll notice wonderful public art created by local artists on the building walls.
6. Is Ithaca Downtown safe?
Ithaca's safety rating is in the 12th percentile, which means that 88 percent of cities are safer, while 12 percent are more dangerous. In a typical year, Ithaca has a crime rate of 58.44 crimes per 1,000 residents. The southeast section of Ithaca is typically regarded as the safest by residents.
Have you enjoyed this post about 16 Stunning Waterfalls in Ithaca or found inspiration for your future trip?
Do you have a favorite waterfall in Ithaca that we haven't included yet? Tell us in the comments section below. Have fun chasing waterfalls!
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