Saturday, September 15, 2012

Taughannock Falls

We are probably a little different than most people coming to visit the Finger Lakes area.  We came to see the waterfalls and not the wineries!  Today we headed to Taughannock Falls State Park to see the Taughannock Falls which are on Taughannock Creek.  The park is located about 8 miles North from Ithaca. 

 It is always interesting to know what things are named after.  The name "Taughannock" is either from the Delaware Indian chief Taughannock or it could be as the Delaware word "taghkanic" which means great fall in the woods. 

The first view of the falls was pretty easy.  We drove into the parking lot on Taughannock Park Road, parked and then walked down a few steps to an overlook.  The falls can be spectacular but we were disappointed because there wasn't much water going over them.  That happens in a drought season.  The creek looked worse than the falls!  However, it was still an impressive sight as the falls are 215' tall which is 33' higher than Niagara Falls. 

Overlook at Taughannock Falls
Looking down at the viewing area at the bottom of the falls
There isn't a lot of water going over the falls
First signs of Autumn
Closer look at the falls - they are normally gushing with water!
You can tell there has been a drought
Looking down at the bridge we will cross later
That's all the water there is coming over the falls!

After we viewed the falls from that viewing platform, we got back in the truck and went looking for the way to get to the bottom viewing area.  You can get there from below at the end of the 3/4 mile trail or so they say.  We parked on the Jacksonville Road parking area and started hiking the South Rim Trail.

We Are Hiking The Gorge from the South Rim Trail
Closeup of the layers of rock

It is a perfect day for a hike

Walking the South Rim Trail
Looking down at the area we will get to later
It was a beautiful hike but we came to the spot where we could see the viewing area that we were trying to get to and it was way below us.  We decided we were on the wrong trail at that point and hiked back to the truck. 

Looking over the gorge to the first overlook we were on
More of the South Rim Trail
We finally reached the parking lot and headed out again to the other entrance to Taughannock Falls State Park which is the Main Entrance.  Here we had to pay $7 to park.  First we headed over to see Cayuga Lake and used the restrooms and we found the picnic area and had our lunch.  

 Taughannock Farms Inn
This looks like it would be a great place to have lunch but who knew?  Most of the time there isn't much available at the State Parks.  This Inn was originally the summer residence of John Jones of Philadelphia.

The Lower Falls
Our next hike toward the base of Taughannock Falls was to follow the Gorge Trail.  We had just started on this trail when we ran into the Lower Falls.  As we continued on this path we were following along side the Taughannock Creek and you can see from these pictures that the creek is pretty dry.  No wonder the falls just have a trickle of water coming over them.

Lee and Mary at the Lower Falls

Trail to the lower viewing area
People are hiking the creek instead of the trail!

Viewpoint at the end of the Gorge Trail
Taughannock Falls
Us at Taughannock Falls
Looking up at the gorge walls
Lee at the falls
Me at the Falls
Someone took our picture!
Crossing the bridge back to the trail
The sun made the river bed look like snow or ice!

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