The peak of fall colors is now coming down into the Cayuga Lake valley, including to Ithaca Falls near the mouth of Fall Creek Gorge at the northeast corner of the City of Ithaca. Ithaca Falls is in a beautiful little city park. There is parking nearby and you can reach the base of the falls in a two-minute easy stroll. At 150 feet high and 175 feet wide, Ithaca Falls is larger than any waterfall New England has and is one of the largest waterfalls in New York State. Fall Creek, which tumbles over the cliff here before gliding out across Ithaca to Cayuga Lake, is the largest single tributary to Cayuga Lake, so it makes quite a splash at Ithaca Falls. Fall Creek Gorge forms the northern boundary of the original Cornell University Campus. The gorge upstream from Ithaca Falls is owned and run as a publicly accessible preserve by Cornell Plantations.
The easiest and laziest way to see Ithaca Falls is from the Lake Street bridge 100 yards downstream.
Ithaca Falls as viewed from the Lake Street bridge in Ithaca, NY.
But, as you can see, Ithaca Falls is partially obscured by sycamore trees in this view. So, let’s go down by Fall Creek itself.
Standing along the bank of Fall Creek, you can get a feel for the Ithaca Falls as part of the stream.
That tree is still in the way! Let’s walk up farther.
Let's walk farther upstream. Now you're talking!
Hey, can you see the Stewart Avenue Bridge back above Fall Creek Gorge, and the Suspension Bridge over the gorge on the Cornell campus beyond that?
To get closer to the falls, you need to walk the short path through the woods.
The path through the woods to the base of Ithaca Falls gives some lovely glimpses of the cataract.
Ithaca Falls comes into full view at the end of the path. Do you see the man in this picture? He has not gone all the way to the base of the waterfall.
You can walk right up to the base of the falls, but I didn’t this time. You’ll have to go there and take your own picture. But don’t delay! Colors fade quickly, leaves fall, and winds whip the branches. Winter will come, but Ithaca Falls is crazy beautiful then too! Stay tuned.
Fall Creek no longer pounds and splashes once it reaches the flats of downtown Ithaca. It has less than a mile remaining in its journey to Cayuga Lake. Where will the water go then?
Back on the downstream side of the Lake Street bridge, Fall Creek displays an entirely different temperament as it ambles across the City of Ithaca to its final destination, Cayuga Lake.
Check back in to this blog toward the end of next week, and I will have video of this scene as part of the next episode in my next Walk in the Park TV series, available on Ithaca’s public access cable channel 13 and online here! To see all of my shows, go to my Walk in the Park YouTube channel. Or go up to the category list in the far upper right of this page and select “Walk in the Park TV Show” to see my blog postings about all the episodes. The current show is “Fillmore Glen State Park.” It’s a good one!