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Winter in Taughannock Falls State Park

Dad uses his heels to slow the sled as it makes its way down Rice Hill at Taughannock Falls State Park.

Taughannock Falls State Park offers a wide variety of winter activities with no park entrance fee or parking fee.

Viewing the Main Falls

The most popular winter activity in the park is probably viewing the main falls. This canTaughannock Falls be done from the Falls Overlook parking lot on Park Road. Many people also enjoy walking the Gorge Trail from the parking lot on State Route 89 along Taughannock Creek to the bridge over the creek. The bridge is always closed in the winter, but a good view of the falls can had from the trail just before the bridge.

Bird Watching

Directly across State Route 89 from the falls parking area is a spot where many bird watchers gather from mid-October through mid-December to watch the migration of common loons (Gavia immer). If you stand close to the shore of Cayuga Lake and look out on the rough water, you may be lucky enough to see these beautiful, sleek birds (as well as many geese and ducks) bobbing on the water. The wind off the lake can be brutal, so it's best to dress warmly with a hat, gloves, long underwear, and a winter jacket. Bring your binoculars and a spotting scope for the best view. See also


The interior of the warming lodge on Rice Hill in Taughannock Falls State Park.

Ice Skating and Sledding

Ice skating and sledding are available in an area called Rice Hill, which overlooks Cayuga Lake. To get there turn west off State Route 89 onto Park Road. After about .5 mi./.8 km. turn right onto Rice Road. The parking area will be on your right about .75 mi./1.2 km. up the road. The skating pond is on the left of the warming lodge with the sledding area to the right. There are no bathroom facilities or food vending facilities. Children must be carefully supervised.


The pond is small and isn't regularly shoveled free of snow, so you may want to bring your own shovel. The sled run is wide and long--probably 500 ft./152 m. or more--with no rope tow.


A view down the sled run on Rice Hill (part of Taughannock Falls State Park) from the warming lodge that overlooks Cayuga Lake.

Hiking, Snowshoeing, and Cross-Country Skiing

There is a marked multi-use trail for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing that winds past the sledding slope, warming lodge, and skating pond. Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the multi-use trail. You can access this trail from the parking lot on Rice Hill or from the parking lot at the Falls Overlook.


Trail map and camping area map (pdf)


Created 24 January 2010








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