Taughannock Falls summer cover

Taughannock Falls State Park

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.

Taughannock Falls State Park Ithaca NY

The visitor center

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.

State Parks Taughannock Falls

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!

Taughannock Falls looking up

See that odd rectangular cut in the tree-line on the top left side of this photo above? That’s the overlook, and this is the view from the base of the waterfall looking back.

Taughannock Falls State Park Ithaca NY

Taughannock Falls State Park

Once you’ve paid the vehicle admission fee, you can start your 3/4 mile walk along the gorge trail. It’s wide and mostly flat like this the entire way. There is a smaller waterfall just beyond this sign making for a perfect picnic spot.

lower Taughannock Falls
Taughannock Falls pathway summer

Along the gorge trail

The path is a combination of tree-lined canopy and wide-open gorge walls.

Taughannock Falls State Park Ithaca NY

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.

Taughannock Falls winter overlook
Taughannock Falls winter bridge
Taughannock Falls winter pathway
Taughannock Falls winter icy
Taughannock Falls
Taughannock Falls
Taughannock Falls winter cover

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.

Taughannock Falls summer cover

More information about Taughannock Falls State Park

Cost: Overlook free, admission fee to hike

Located in Ithaca, 90 minutes / 80 miles from Rochester (get directions to the Overlook and Gorge Trail)

More information: parks.ny.gov

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What is your favorite time to visit Taughannock Falls?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!


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COVID-19 NOTE: Some of the information you find in our articles may currently be inaccurate due to closures and cancellations.

Please follow the most current recommendations from the CDC and New York State for spending time away from your home. The great outdoors can provide a well needed respite & escape during stressful times. Please move quickly through parking lots, trail heads, and scenic areas. If crowded, choose a different park, trail, or time to visit. Please day trip responsibly.