From the parking lot, begin near the trail information board, ascending a set of steps to the top of the gorge's rim. Turn right and continue uphill and into a mixed deciduous and conifer forest. Your first views of the falls are limited but open at .5 mile. At .8 mile, you must take a few steps onto Gorge Road in order to negotiate a large drainage area. Shortly, you'll have beautiful cavernous views to the reaches of the gorge. The trail continues on into a flat area thick with hardwoods and an understory dotted with wildflowers. Nearing the 2 mile point by way of an old bridge, you must cross Taughannock Creek. Following the northern route back, you'll hike through an open meadow bearing right to reach the rim's edge. Soon you'll be in a beautiful narrow passage decorated with second growth hardwoods and hemlocks. Farther down the trail is Falls Overlook which offers wonderful views of the 215-foot drop of tumbling waters. This view once belonged to the Taughannock House, circa 1860s. The trail descends from here, bypassing a picnic grove and eventually a campground. More lovely gorge views accompany this stretch of trail. The final steps of the trek are met with a staircase leading to SR 89 where you must cross over the bridge to reach the parking area.
Directions: From Ithaca, NY, Travel 8 miles north along SR 89. There is parking by the South Rim Trail where the trail ascends steps by the trail information board.
Elevation Gain: 550 feet
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Taughannock Falls State Park, New York
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