Taughannock Falls Cascades from High Above
Taughannock Falls State Park lies on both sides of Route 89, eight miles north of Ithaca. The eastern side of the park flanks Cayuga Lake, and includes a boat launch, a playground and a sports field. The lake serves as a backdrop. The western side includes a small parking lot and a trail to Taughannock Falls. The falls are impressive and easily accessible. We had no trouble pushing a stroller with our younger boy a mile or so from the parking lot, and our older child easily walk to it on his own. A well-maintained gravel path rises gently up to the base of the falls. Water cascades more than 200 feet in a single drop.
Watkins Glen State Park offers more waterfalls compacted into a small space than seemingly possible. Water shoots through a steep, narrow gorge for more than a mile, dropping in stages rather than all at once on its journey to Seneca Lake. Hiking is more difficult but the path is sure and it is easily navigated. It is not stroller accessible however because of numerous staircases carved into the canyon wall. We had to carry the little guy on our backs, but our older guy had no trouble keeping up. The photograph above shows Rainbow Falls. The path actually goes behind the waterfall on the left, and then over the pedestrian bridge on the horizon. These were some of the most scenic falls I have ever seen. It is impressive.
Buttermilk Falls Slides Down Terraces into a Pool Below
Buttermilk Falls is located at the southern end of Ithaca on Rt. 13. It is very approachable. The parking lot is practically next to the falls. Water gently slopes through the gorge, in stark contrast to Taughannock where it crashes all at once and Watkins Glen where it screams through a narrow channel. At the bottom is a large swimming hole complete with lifeguards.
There are also hundreds of unnamed falls at every imaginable point along the southern edges of Cayuga Lake. Some appear intermittently after a rainstorm; some are more permanent. This tiny rivulet toppled from the bluff just feet from the house we rented.
This is the last set of photographs in this series.
= Ithaca, New York
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