Although not really part of New England, I have visited some falls in nearby New York. In this document I will describe the falls I've seen in the Finger Lakes region. This is a rich area for waterfalls. If you are interested in waterfalls and are touring the Northeastern United States, be sure to check this region out. There are many more falls and gorges in that area than I have listed here!
Overview: Nice falls. Easily accessible. Location: Ithaca, NY Height : Several hundred feet in several drops. Finding : Roadside. Just of Rt 13 south of town. Well marked. Access : Wheelchair access to lower falls. Swimming: Yes. Basking : Yes. Legal : State park. Admission $5.00 (1997).
These falls were visible from Rt 13 on the south edge of town. They were well marked and easy to find. They were located in a state park with extensive facilities. Swimming in the pool at the base of the falls appeared to be encouraged, although when Hillary and I were there the swimming was closed due to the lack of a lifegaurd. (It was early morning).
The falls were quite beautiful. Just a few feet from the parking lot the stream cascaded down a large, slanting rock face into a generous pool. The rock, as appeared to be typical for that area, was layered into thin, horizontal sheets. Thus the water appeared to be taking hundreds of small steps on its way to the bottom.
Hillary and I crossed a wooden bridge at the outlet of the pool and then walked up the trail on the far side of the stream. The trail climbed steeply in places but nicely formed steps made the ascent easy enough. The trail followed right alongside the stream and soon we came to more cascades higher up. The state of New York discourages people from scrambling out on the rocks, although at one point it was clearly safe to do so and we did anyway! We visited three different sections of the falls, but there appeared to be even more higher up. It was hot and we had other plans, so we didn't follow the trail to the end. I expect that it would be rewarding to do so, however.
Overview: Dramatic waterfall. Very nice. Location: Ulysses, NY Stream : Taughannock Creek Height : 215 feet in a single, vertical drop. Finding : Easy. Very well marked. Access : 0.75 mile hike required. Easy walking. Swimming: Not at the falls, but swimming is allowed in Cayuga Lake. Basking : Yes. Especially on the rocks along the stream below the falls. Legal : State park. Admission $5.00 (1997).
This waterfall was easy to locate. Hillary and I travelled along Rt 89 north from Ithaca. Only a few miles outside of town we came to the well marked Taughannock Falls State Park. To see the falls we had to park on the west side of the road. The parking area on the east side of the road was for the beach on Cayuga Lake.
We then hiked 0.75 miles along the Gorge Trail to reach the falls. The trail was as wide as a small road and very level. It was an easy hike although it was very hot and humid the day we were there and that made it somewhat uncomfortable. The trail stayed close to the stream, but a number of other people who were there just walked up the streambed. In some places there were large expanses of flat rock next to the stream, making such walking easy. In other places it was necessary to wade in the stream.
Below the falls, Taughannock Creek flows in a deep and rather spectacular gorge. The rim of the gorge was up to 400 feet above the floor. The south side was sloped enough to allow trees to take hold in many spots along the wall, but the north side was practically sheer. The steep sided gorge made an interesting contrast with the nearly level floor where the stream flowed.
The gorge ended in a large, amphitheater-like bowl. The walls were sheer all around. No trees could grow. At the head of the bowl, the stream poured from a notch and fell straight over 200 feet to a large pool at the bottom. Taughannock Falls is one of the highest single vertical drops in the East. At first, because there were no good points of reference, it was hard to tell how high the falls were. Then a few people scrambled down near the base of the falls (against the rules posted on the signs that warned of falling rock). With those people there for scale, the true size of the waterfall became apparent. It was indeed very impressive!
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