Posts Tagged ‘taughannock falls’

Finger Lakes Waterfalls

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Hector Falls (165 feet high)

Hector Falls (165 feet high)

If you love waterfalls then you absolutely HAVE to head to upstate New York and check out the waterfalls around the Finger Lakes!  I had already seen the waterfalls at Letchworth State Park and Watkins Glen but I soon realized that there were quite a few waterfalls that I had missed.

And I’m not talking about tiny trickles of water, here and there, I’m talking about a handful of full-on raging waterfalls, that fall from heights taller than your house!  So, I had to go back up and see them all in one shot… which isn’t that hard to do, since they are all within 20 or so minutes of each other.  And after this trip, I can honestly say that if you love the climate of the northeast and you love waterfalls then you should think about moving to the Finger Lakes region.

I think you’ll soon agree, after you watch this video of my trip:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you want to check out Eagle Cliff Falls in Montour Falls, New York then CLICK HERE to see a map that shows you exactly where to go.  There are plenty of places to park in that loop, and there are also bathrooms, playgrounds and places to have an outdoor feast.

If you want to check out She-Qua-Ga Falls in Montour Falls, New York then CLICK HERE to see a map that shows you exactly where to go; I told you they were close together. 😉  You’ll have to park along the street to see this one, but even on the weekends it doesn’t seem hard to find a parking spot.

If you want to check out Hector Falls in Burdett, New York then CLICK HERE to see a map of where you can park.  You can pull into the place shown on the map, or park along the road, but be careful; it’s a busy road!

If you want to check out Taughannock Falls, from above, in Trumansburg, New York then CLICK HERE to see a map that will direct you to the overlook.  There’s a huge parking lot here, where you can see the falls from above.

If you want to check out the Upper Falls in Taughannock Falls State Park then CLICK HERE to see a map that will direct you to the overlook.  There’s a smaller parking lot here where you can see the falls from above.

But if you want to hike the Gorge Trail, and see Taughannock Falls from the base, you’ll want to CLICK HERE to see a map that will direct you where to start.  There are big parking lots on either side of the road, bathrooms and signs that will direct you where to go.

If you want to check out Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca, New York then CLICK HERE to see where to park.  There’s plenty of parking, vending machines and bathrooms here.

If you want to check out Lucifer Falls in Newfield, New York then CLICK HERE to see where to park.   There’s plenty of parking, vending machines and bathrooms here too.

And if you want to finish out your trip like I did, and check out the Lower Falls at Robert H. Treman State Park, then CLICK HERE to see where to park.  There’s plenty of parking, camping, vending machines, bathrooms and even swimming is allowed at the base of the falls.

HELPFUL TIPS

If you’re going to check out Eagle Cliff Falls, then wear some waterproof boots or your swimming suit.  Even though they say you’re not allowed to swim at the base of the falls, you can get up close and personal with the water and wetness shall be had.  It’s a pretty short hike to the falls though, and it’s a relaxing spot to hang out, but it will cost you $2 to park here.

She-Qua-Ga falls is right along side the road, so there’s nothing to hike to… there’s a sidewalk right up to where you view the falls, benches along the way and a fence right in front of it.  So, this one might be a good waterfall to check out on a stroll after you go out to eat.

You’re going to want to be careful at Hector Falls though, because it’s right on a busy road.  You’re not supposed to park right on the bridge, where the waterfall flows beneath, but you can park alongside the road, and it’s busy.  Just stay clear of traffic and you’ll be golden, but you’ll only be able to see the top section of the falls from the road; to see the rest you’d probably have to be in the lake.

It’s nice to check out Taughannock Falls from the overlook, and the parking’s free, but you really ought to head down to the Gorge Trail to see it from below and really appreciate its size.  Parking in the lots at the start of the Gorge Trail is $7, but the trail is only 3/4 of a mile long.  And if the water’s low, like it was when I came, then you have the option of walking on the flat, rock bottom of the creek bed, the whole way to the falls, or the trail itself.  If you opt to walk in the creek bed then bring some waterproof boots because some places are a bit deep.

But don’t count the Upper Falls out; it’s 100 feet high and worth checking out before you go see Taughannock Falls.  It’s a really short hike from the parking lot and a worthy distraction from the main falls.

It’s supposed to cost $7 to park at Buttermilk Falls as well, but if you come later in the day, like I did, then they’ll just wave you through.  From May to June 18th, and from September 11th to October 18th they only collect the fee on the weekends.  But if you come sometime between June 19th and September 6th, and it’s between 10 AM and 6 PM, then they will be collecting the parking fee as well.  And I opted to not hike the whole way up the Gorge Trail here, because all I really came to see was Buttermilk Falls, but there are some other waterfalls to check out, farther up the trail.  Oh, and it appears that the pool at the base of the falls is a popular place to go swimming on hot days.

And it’s supposed to cost $7 to park at Lucifer Falls and Lower Falls as well (they’re in the same park) but no one was collecting money when I came in and I didn’t see a sign telling me to pay.  So, either I missed the sign or you don’t have to pay later in the day.  But, unless you plan on walking the whole trail to see both of the falls at once, then you’ll want to check ahead and make sure that the full Gorge Trail is open near Lucifer Falls.  It wasn’t when I was there and it ruined my plan of avoiding climbing a bunch of stairs.  But, if the complete trail is open, then plan on parking in the lot for Lucifer Falls, hiking the Rim Trail and then walking DOWN the stairs to the base of Lucifer Falls, then hike back the Gorge Trail to the parking lot (about 1/2 a mile round trip).  It will be a lot easier on you, and there are some great views from above.

And then you can drive to the parking lot near the Lower Falls, in the same park, and possibly take a dip in the deep pool at the base of the waterfall.  You can even drive over/through a waterfall of sorts, if you want to go into the camping area.  Oh, and if you want to get a drink from one of their vending machines, then I hope you have those Presidential $1 coins because I tried 6 different $1 bills and it wouldn’t take any of them!

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you then here’s the official site for Taughannock Falls State Park: http://nysparks.com/parks/62/details.aspx

Here’s the official site for Buttermilk Falls State Park: http://nysparks.com/parks/151/details.aspx

And here’s the official site for Robert H. Treman State Park: http://nysparks.com/parks/135/details.aspx

And you can also check out the instrumental version of my trip, without my face popping up in the video, right here:

And here are more pictures:

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