Taughannock Falls State Park, just north of Ithaca, New York, features the raging 215-foot-high Taughannock Falls at its centerpiece, year-round hiking trails, and imposing views of a meandering canyon.
Taughannock Creek, which winds through a limestone and shale rock gorge 400 feet deep, plunges over three major waterfalls: Upper Falls, a 100-foot drop, Taughannock, a 215-foot plunge, and Lower Falls, a 15-foot-high cascade. Taughannock holds the distinction of being 33 feet taller than Niagara Falls.
The waterfalls are best viewed during the spring and after heavy rains when the relative trickles roar to life. And with the Gorge Trail open in the winter, Taughannock Falls can be viewed as the mist builds up ice against the cliffs.
The name Taughannock derived from Native American origins. It may roughly translate to a combination of Iroquois and Algonquin terms meaning “great fall in the woods,” or to a Lenni Lenape chief named Taughannock who died near the falls during a battle.
Taughannock Creek was used as a source of power for a gun factory and mills in the early 19th century, and in the 1870s, Victorian hotels were built in the region to serve tourists who traveled to view the waterfalls via steamboats and railroads. New York formed a 64-acre state park in 1925, which was improved by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. It was later expanded to its present size of 750-acres.
The Gorge Trail winds its way along a flat and accessible trail for nearly 1 mile, passing by Lower Taughannock Falls and Taughannock Falls.
The North Rim Trail and South Rim Trail, at 1.44 and 1.60 miles, respectively, closely follow the north rim and south rim of Taughannock Creek, passing by numerous overlooks of waterfalls and of the gorge. The North Rim Trail also passes by the accessible Taughannock Falls overlook and visitors center.
|Trail Map (PDF)|
|1740 Taughannock Blvd., Trumansburg, NY 14886|