Taughannock Falls State Park

Standing 33 feet taller than Niagara Falls, Taughannock Falls is the tallest free-falling waterfall in the Northeastern United States. The State Park encompasses the waterfall, it’s surrounding trails and a fairly grassy beach area where Taughannock Creek spills out into Cayuga Lake.

The Lower Falls area is extremely popular due to its convenient location near all three trail heads, but also because of the beautiful lakeside where visitors can go swimming, fishing or boating at their leisure.

There are a few trails that offer views of the fall; the Falls Overlook, of course, offers great views from above and is easily accessed with nearby parking. For a closer look at the falls, the popular Gorge Trail is a 3/4 mile stretch of relatively flat trail along the creek side. When the water is low, you can even walk along the rocky creek bed! Visitors are allowed to bring dogs, so expect to see quite a few furry friends along your hike.

The view from the falls overlook
The view from the gorge trail

The North and South Rim trails combine to make an approximately 2.5 mile hike that is significantly steeper than the easy Gorge Trail. I recommend starting with the South Rim trail as the views are a little more engaging and also if I had to begin my hike with the ridiculously steep stairs at the head of the North Rim Trail, I may have turned around. Despite the steep climb, I enjoyed getting overhead views of some of the less popular falls in the area- and it certainly got my workout in for the day!

There were more turkey vultures here than I’ve ever seen in my life!

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