Exploring Taughannock Falls State Park

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Nestled in the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes region, Taughannock Falls State Park is a natural wonder. It captivates visitors with its breathtaking landscapes and amazing waterfalls. 

This picturesque state park offers an escape for nature enthusiasts, hikers and anyone seeking tranquility. Get ready to explore the wonders of Taughannock Falls State Park.

A stone staircase leading to a waterfall.
Photo Credit: Yayimages.

About Taughannock Falls State Park

This stunning park is located in the Finger Lakes region of New York, approximately 10 miles north of Ithaca. Encompassing 750 acres, the park is renowned for its dramatic waterfalls, towering cliffs and picturesque landscapes, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Just like Acadia National Park and Muskegon State Park provide a haven for outdoor lovers, Taughannock Falls State Park beckons with miles of well-maintained trails, meandering through lush forests and along the shores of Cayuga Lake. The park’s diverse terrain offers something for everyone, from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes, ensuring that every visitor can connect with the great outdoors at their own pace.

A waterfall in the middle of a forest.
Photo Credit: Lara Clevenger.
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Taughannock Falls

At the heart of the park stands the star attraction — Taughannock Falls. This magnificent waterfall plunges 215 feet past rocky cliffs that tower nearly 400 feet above the gorge, making it one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Rocky Mountains. 

The gorge and rim trails offer spectacular views, allowing visitors to marvel at the sheer power and beauty of nature. Whether you’re an avid photographer or simply appreciate the wonders of the natural world, Taughannock Falls is a must-see.

“Taughannock Falls is a very accessible waterfall in the Finger Lakes region of New York. A long, wide gravel path along a creek takes you right to the base of the tallest free-falling waterfall east of the Mississippi.” 

— Kailey MarcAurele, Daily Life Travels 
A waterfall in the middle of a wooded area.
Photo Credit: Yayimages.

Things to do at Taughannock Falls State Park

There’s a little bit of everything to do at Taughannock Falls State Park. Whether you want to hike, swim or fish in the warm weather or ski and ice skate in the winter, you’ll love what the park offers.

Hiking at Taughannock Falls State Park

Taughannock Falls State Park offers a variety of hiking trails, each providing a unique perspective of the park’s natural beauty. Whether you’re a casual hiker or an avid adventurer, you’ll love hiking in this state park. For an illustrated look, check out the park map on their website.

  • Gorge Trail, 0.95 miles, takes you along the base of the gorge, offering stunning views of the towering cliffs and the breathtaking Taughannock Falls. 
  • North Rim Trail, 1.44 miles.
  • South Rim Trail, 1.6 miles.
  • Multi-use Trail, 2.1 miles.
  • Black Diamond Trail, 8.4 miles.

Before embarking on any hike, it’s essential to check trail conditions, especially during inclement weather, and be prepared with appropriate footwear, water and, if necessary, insect repellent. Each trail in Taughannock Falls State Park offers a unique experience, ensuring there’s a hike suitable for every level of hiker.

A cliff with a waterfall in the middle of a forest.
Photo Credit: Yayimages.

Things to do near Taughannock State Park

While Taughannock Falls State Park is a destination in itself, the Finger Lake area offers a variety of activities and attractions to enhance your visit. Whether you’re interested in exploring nearby towns, enjoying outdoor adventures or visiting local wineries, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Visit Ithaca, NY

Just a short drive from the park, Ithaca is a vibrant college town with a lively atmosphere. Explore the downtown area, visit unique shops and savor delicious meals at local restaurants. Don’t forget to check out one of the many trendy coffee shops

Wine tasting in the Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes region is renowned for its wineries, and you’ll find several in close proximity to Taughannock Falls State Park. Take a scenic drive along the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail and indulge in tastings of local wines. Many wineries also offer stunning views of the lake and surrounding vineyards.

Explore Watkins Glen State Park

Another gem in the Finger Lakes, Watkins Glen State Park is known for its stunning gorge and numerous waterfalls. The park offers scenic trails, stone bridges and breathtaking views, providing an excellent opportunity for hiking and photography. Also, just an hour and a half away is Green Lakes State Park

Cruise on Cayuga Lake

Experience the beauty of Cayuga Lake from a different perspective by taking a boat cruise. Several companies offer guided tours, allowing you to relax on the water while enjoying the scenery and learning about the region’s history.

Cornell Botanic Gardens

Located in Ithaca, the Cornell Botanic Gardens offers a peaceful escape into nature. Stroll through themed gardens, including the renowned F.R. Newman Arboretum and enjoy the beauty of diverse plant collections.

The History Center

Learn about the local history of Tompkins County at The History Center in Ithaca. Exhibits cover a range of topics, including Native American history, early settlement and local industry.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation or cultural experiences, the area around Taughannock Falls State Park has something for everyone. Take the time to explore the diverse attractions that make the Finger Lakes region a truly special destination.

Taughannock Falls State Park invites visitors to immerse themselves in the grandeur of nature, with its towering waterfalls, scenic trails and tranquil lakeside vistas. This New York gem provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, inviting all who enter to experience the beauty and serenity of the great outdoors. Whether you’re an avid adventurer or someone seeking a peaceful escape, this park is a destination that will leave a lasting impression on your heart.

Lara is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Personal Trainer. She is also a photographer and recipe developer and has a food and travel blog, Lara Clevenger. She shares easy recipes that are mostly low-carb, along with some bowling and travel adventures. Whether you’re cooking with an air fryer, Blackstone or Instant Pot, she has you covered with healthy recipes.

This article originally appeared on On A Permanent Vacation.

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