Taughannock Falls is one of the most accessible waterfalls in our area’s state parks, second only to Letchworth State Park whose High and Middle Falls can be appreciated from several observation points throughout the park.
What I love about Taughannock Falls is that the most accessible view from the overlook is also the most impressive. Plus, the view from here is free!
There is a beautiful visitor center with restrooms, area information and cool water to fill your bottles. A paved walkway takes you along a landscaped path to the overlook just a short walk away.
See that odd rectangular cut in the tree-line on the top left side of this photo below? That’s the overlook, and this is the view from the base of the waterfall looking back.
Once you’ve paid the vehicle admission fee, you can start your 3/4 mile walk along the gorge trail. It’s wide and flat like this the entire way. There is a smaller waterfall just beyond this sign making for a perfect picnic spot.
Along the gorge trail
The path is a combination of tree-lined canopy and wide open gorge. Bonus is that you can walk in the creek and play in the tiny cascades. The rocks are slippery and there are deep spots, yet people seem to enjoy being in the water all the same.
A glorious amphitheater for a magnificent waterfall!
Fun fact! As the gorge erodes the park gets bigger. Fallen rocks have been used to create Taughannock Point in the park along Cayuga Lake.
Keep in mind that when you are looking at the falls you are facing south-west. That means you will be pointing your camera directly into the sun anywhere between, say, 10am and 6pm. I waited quite some time for the sun to drop beyond the gorge wall. You can see it just touching the top of the falls in this photo. I can’t wait to go back closer to sunrise. Or in autumn when the sun is lower in the southern sky. Or in the winter.
Even more spectacular in the winter!
Taughannock Falls has one of the only gorge trails in the New York State Park System that is open in winter. That doesn’t mean it’s not slippery in some places, especially near the falls. It is a flat walk making it safe compared to Watkins Glen or Stony Brook.