buttermilk falls state park

Waterfall hiking near Ithaca, NY.

We headed down to two state parks over the weekend, Taughannock Falls State Park and Buttermilk Falls State Park, for some easy and scenic hiking.  We started off at Taughannock and hiked all the trails in this park, which only amounted to about 5 miles in length.  We started off at the parking area with the amazing view of this 215-foot waterfall and hiked counterclockwise on the Rim Trails, which gave us an amazing view of the creek and the gorge more than 200 feet below. These trails were pretty level other than the steep descent to the gorge and then the steep ascent back out, but these did include some beautiful stone steps so it wasn’t too difficult.  We also walked the nature trail back into the gorge to get a view of the waterfall below. 

After having a lunch next to a beautiful small cascade, we headed over to Buttermilk Falls State Park, only about 10 miles away.  Again, this park didn’t have a lot of hiking area, but it definitely made up for the lack of distance in the amount of scenery!   We parked at the lower end and hiked up the Rim Trail and gained about 450 feet in elevation in less than a mile.  Then we stopped at the upper parking area to check out the site of an old flour mill and then hiked up the Bear Trail to Lake Treman.  From here, we wound our way back down to the parking area and down the Gorge Trail, which followed Buttermilk Creek all the way back down the gorge to the parking area.  The Gorge Trail was practically brand new and very traveled.  We passed more people on this trail than we had seen all day.  

These state parks were in great shape and due to the waterfalls they were much more crowded than any of the other state parks we’ve been to in New York!  I can’t wait to get back down to Ithaca to hike more gorges and see more waterfalls.  We may have visited two parks over the weekend, but the area has more than 20 parks with just as much beauty.  

The photos above are: Taughannock Falls, the small cascade about 3/4 mile down past the falls where we ate lunch, me on a rock outcropping, Buttermilk Falls, and a beautiful (one of many!) cascade on Buttermilk Creek.