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  • Writer's pictureVien R. Guenther

Hiking at Taughannock Falls - Finger Lakes Region, New York

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

Taughannock (pronounced Tuh-GA-nick) Falls, is located in Ulysses, New York, between the village of Trumansburg and the city of Ithaca. The park is also part of the Finger Lakes Region. The fall was named after a chief of an invading Delaware tribe, who was tossed over the falls by Cayuga Indians.


The lower viewpoint

There used to be a hotel at the upper viewpoint, built in the 1890's. It changed hands several times until the business declined and later the hotel burned to ground. In the early 1900's, the Finger Lakes State Park Commission bought the overlook. The park was created in 1925. The Civilian Conservation Corps built much of the infrastructure in the 1930's. The beautiful overlook and the visitor center today was the result of a $1.9 million upgrade.

Taughannock Falls from the lower viewpoint

It was a stunning view at the overlook, even more so if the autumn colors of the surrounding trees had been at their peak. Only a hint of colors were showing when we were there. Even so, it was very impressive.

Taughannock Falls is 30 feet higher than Niagara Falls and is the highest free-flowing waterfall east of the Mississippi River. It was a spectacular view from the overlook as the water plunges 215 feet down to the gorge. But take the short ¾ mile gorge trail below to see the waterfalls up close and personal - not too close if you don’t want to get wet from the mist. You won’t be disappointed. It was a different scenery altogether.


Even at the beginning of the trail there was a small waterfall where anglers congregate in a small pool below. Hermann was itching to catch one himself as he saw the big rainbow trout caught by one of the anglers. Isn't nature wonderful?

Hermann watching the anglers fishing
Below the gorge

The Gorge Trail is an easy walk, or hike. The trail is flat, wide and well maintained. But you don’t want to hurry in reaching the waterfalls, there is a lot to be seen, nature-wise, along the way.

Plenty of mushroom

Below the gorge

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