From small cascades to thundering waterfalls that drop hundreds of feet, Ithaca is renowned for its spectacular landscape featuring lush rolling hills, scenic gorges and of course, the more than 100 majestic waterfalls around the region. The towering waterfalls are one of Ithaca’s largest draws and a must-see attraction any time of year. Whether traveling with friends, family or heading out on a solo adventure, choose among leisurely hikes on well-worn paths through state parks or a peaceful walk to some of the area’s lesser-known falls and local favorites. Wherever your journey takes you, enjoy the breathtaking vistas, the towering gorges and revel in the sounds of the roaring water as it plunges into the pools many feet below. In the summer months, take a swim in Ithaca’s waterfalls for an escape from the heat!
1. Buttermilk Falls
Visible from the state park entrance, cascading Buttermilk Falls is the largest of 10 falls along Buttermilk Creek as it plunges 600 feet to the valley. For real beauty hike the stairs into the heart of the gorge.
2. Ithaca Falls
With a drop of 150ft and width of 175ft, Ithaca Falls is the region’s most powerful and most impressive. By 1817, a half-dozen mills were operating here, their ruins are still visible on the south bank. The plunge pool is famous among anglers for lake-run trout and salmon.
3. Taughannock Falls
Taughannock falls carves a 400ft deep gorge through layers of sandstone, shale and limestone that were once the bed of an ancient sea. With a 215 foot plunge, this waterfall stands three stories taller than Niagara Falls.
4. Denison Falls
Denison Falls at the Cayuga Nature Center is a beautiful 21ft cascading fall in a peaceful wooded gorge.
5. Lick Brook Falls
The Sweedler Preserve at Lick Brook has three major falls – 25ft, 47ft, and 93ft, in a hidden nature preserve. The centerpiece is managed by the Finger Lakes Land Trust, allowing Lick Brook to remain wild and undeveloped. The best time to view the waterfalls is after a rainstorm.
6. Potter’s Falls
Potter’s Falls (a.k.a. Green Tree Falls) is on Six Mile Creek, a natural area full of cascades, rock formations and wildflowers—so many that it was designated a wildflower preserve in 1970. The trail’s first mile is believed to hold the greatest wildflower diversity in the state.
7. Businessman’s Lunch Falls
Businessman’s Lunch Fallls is a set of four cascading falls – 30ft, 5ft, 15ft, 15f – and is popular lunch spot for downtown office workers.
8. Cascadilla Falls
Picturesque Cascadilla Falls is a 20ft multiple cascading fall, the first on a popular gorge trail that connects Cornell University to downtown from College Ave. to Court St. Along the way, the creek drops 400ft past nine waterfalls.
9. Triphammer Falls
Triphammer Falls is in Ithaca on the Cornell University campus. It is one of several falls on Falls Creek, of which Ithaca Falls is by far the most impressive.
10. Rocky Falls
The Rocky Falls on Fall Creek is a 25ft cascading fall, producing green energy since 1904.
11. Foaming Falls
The Foaming Falls on Fall Creek is a 15ft cascading fall, 110 stone steps below the suspension bridge, and a great place to see the stone that is used in many of Cornell University’s buildings.
12. Forest Falls
Forest Falls on Fall Creek is a 25ft cascading fall with birds-eye view of a “hanging valley.”
13. Ludlowville Falls
Ludlowville Falls on Salmon Creek is a 35ft multi-plume cascade with a pioneer history.
14. Enfield Falls
Enfield Falls is a 70ft pulpit-type fall, and the top spot for waterfall swimming.