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Taughannock Falls State Park

2221 Taughnnock Rd. (Rt. 89)

Trumansburg, NY 14486


Services: A,C,E,G,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P,Q,R,U,V,W,Y,Z,BB,CC


Taughannock Falls on a rainy autumn day in the Finger Lakes, New York, USA 

Of all the falls in the Finger Lakes, it may be that Taughannock Falls is the most photographed. The beauty of this falls is such--no matter the weather or the season--that it is almost impossible to take a bad picture. For this reason, people come from all over the world, sometimes by the busload, to capture Taughannock Falls. Yet, their presence rarely infringes on power and majesty this falls exudes. 


Considered by many to be one of the outstanding natural attractions of the northeastern United States, Taughannock Falls plunges 215 ft./65.5 m. past rocky cliffs that tower nearly 400 ft./122 m. above the floor of the Taughannock Creek gorge. Taughannock Falls has a greater vertical drop than Niagara Falls. Many people, and certainly everyone in the Finger Lakes, believe it to be the longest falls east of the Mississippi River.





Taughannock Falls is considered a "hanging" falls where rocks of the creekbed above extend out over the edge of the cliff face so that the water falls straight down without flowing over any rocks. The only hanging falls in the Finger Lakes, most of the "hanging" rocks of Taughannock Falls fell off thousands of years ago and lie in the pool of water below the falls.


Over the millennia, Taughannock Creek has carved out a winding gorge through the park with many small falls and three large falls. Taughannock Falls is actually the middle of the three. The upper falls is not as impressive as the middle falls but still worth a view. It can be accessed by walking the Rim Trail or from a parking lot off Jacksonville Road.


To view the middle/main falls, one can park in the lot on State Route 89 (Taughannock Boulevard) and walk a paved path (the Gorge Trail) along Taughannock Creek to the base of the falls. Here you will be close to the falls, hearing the water crashing before you, and, if the wind is in the right direction, feeling the spray on your face. One can also walk the northern Rim Trail or drive Taughannock Park Road to the overlook. Here you are farther from the falls but at eye level, looking down into the gorge. Either way, Taughannock Falls will not disappoint.


Once over the middle falls, Taughannock Creek flattens and broadens out before reaching the lower falls. It then flows under State Route 89 before entering into Cayuga Lake.  


The lower falls is broad rather than long and can be accessed from the Gorge Trail. (Coming from the parking lot on State Route 89 along the paved trail, you actually have to walk past the lower falls to reach the middle falls. Many people tend to ignore it because, though it is a decent-sized falls, it is overshadowed by the spectactular size of the middle falls.)


The park itself is 783 acres with the falls as the chief attraction. However, the park offers much besides looking at the falls and hiking the trails. The park boundary runs right to the edge of Cayuga Lake, which offers a marina, boat launch, bathhouse, and beach for supervised swimming. (The boat launch site is not suitable for sailboats.) Just back from the lake shore is a flat grassy area where people like to relax and picnic. (There are also a number of pavilions for group events.) During the summer, this area is used for well-attended, lakefront open-air concerts. (Bring your own blanket or chair.) The park also offers organized activities, including tours through the Taughannock Gorge.





PLEASE NOTE: The rocks along the Gorge Trail and around the falls itself are very unstable. People have been killed by falling rocks when they left the trail. Do not leave the trail. In addition, despite the fact that the Gorge Trail is paved, it is often wet and muddy. Wear appropriate hiking boots on all the trails.


The park offers a variety of activities in the winter. For more information about these activities, click here.


Pets must be leashed everywhere in the park.

Camping is popular in the park with campsites and cabins overlooking Cayuga Lake. Camping is allowed from the last weekend in March through mid-October.


783 acres, 76 tent-trailer sites (16 electric), 16 cabins


Trail map and camping area map (pdf)


The Legend of Taughannock Falls 

Key to Services



C-Boat Launch Sites

D-Boat Rentals


F-Camper Recreation



I-Dumping Station

J-Empire Passport Accepted





O-Nature Trail


Q-Picnic Tables


S-Playing Fields


U-Recreation Programs





Z-Tent/Trailer Sites

AA-Vacation Rentals

BB-X-Country Skiing

CC-Scenic Views

DD-All above


Updated 6 January 2013








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