Gorge-ous Views: The Unmatched Beauty of Taughannock Falls State Park

Taughannock Falls State Park is a gem located in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The falls are very close to Ithaca, along the western shore of Cayuga Lake. The park is renowned for Taughannock Falls, one of the tallest free-falling waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. The falls plunge 215 feet from a rocky ledge into a gorge, surpassing even the height of Niagara Falls in terms of the vertical drop from the crest to the base of the falls.

The park’s unique geological features, including its gorge and waterfall, are the result of thousands of years of erosion. The gorge itself is a stunning display of sedimentary rock formations. The ancient waters of Glacial Lake Ithaca and now Taughannock Creek carved shale and sandstone to form the gorge.

Another beautiful waterfalls in the Finger Lakes is Buttermilk Falls!

What to Do at Taughannock Falls State Park

The park offers a variety of recreational activities and scenic beauty. Visitors can enjoy hiking, with trails that offer varying levels of difficulty and provide stunning views of the falls and the surrounding gorge. Of course, the Gorge Trail is the most popular trail. The Gorge Trail offers an easy walk leading directly to the base of the falls. The Rim Trail, on the other hand, provides a more challenging hike along the upper edge of the gorge, but also offers breathtaking vistas.

We hiked the short distance from the parking lot to the falls on the Gorge Trail. You will not find any sort of solitude on this hike — it’s very popular! A few times we went off the trail to actually walk in the river bed, which in early October was mostly dry except for the active stream on the far side. It was fun watching families with little kids enjoying hopping over the cracks in the bedrock!

We also visited the Falls Overlook. It’s amazing to imagine that there used to be a hotel at the overlook. The hotel ran from 1855 to 1922, when it was destroyed by fire. Like the gorge trail, the falls overlook is one of the most visited places in the park.

Apart from hiking, Taughannock Falls State Park also features facilities for picnicking, swimming (in designated areas), fishing and camping. TA boat launch on Cayuga Lake allows for boating and other water activities. During the winter months, cross-country skiers and snowshoers will enjoy the available trails, making the park a year-round destination.

Taughannock Falls State Park is not just a destination for outdoor enthusiasts. There you will also find natural beauty that attracts photographers and nature lovers. The park’s accessibility, combined with its natural beauty and the array of activities it offers, makes it a must-visit location for anyone exploring the Finger Lakes region.

Know Before You Go

During the most popular times, parking for the Gorge Trail may overflow the tiny parking lot. Be prepared to park across the street and walk over. There is a fee for entry.

Getting there: 1740 Taughannock Blvd, Trumansburg, NY
Hours: daylight
Website: state park

Do you love waterfalls? Then check out the 50 other waterfalls in the mid-Atlantic region we’ve visited over the years!

There’s so much to see and do in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York! For more great daytrip destinations, check out the articles below: