Wells Falls, New York

Wells Falls (also known as Businessman’s Lunch Falls or Van Natta’s Falls) is one of my favorite waterfalls near Ithaca. This one is off in a different area of Ithaca, but is still relatively easy to view. Well, once you get to it. Traffic and driving in Ithaca can be difficult. To get to Wells Falls, you’re either going up an incline or driving down it. Either way, you’ve got make some pretty quick turns, otherwise you’ll miss the roads leading to the waterfall.

Once you’ve gotten to the waterfall, enjoy the old dam/power plant/whatever it is that is right next to the falls. It’s windows are shuddered up, but that just makes this waterfall all the more interesting. Getting to the base of the falls is also a cool thing to do, though this does involve trying to figure out how to get down to the base in the first place. Once you’re down at the base, pay attention for two other smaller waterfalls that may be falling down the cliffs. These waterfalls will probably be more apparent in spring.


  1. From the center of Ithaca, head out on East NY-79.
  2. You’ll pass the intersection for NY-366, but do not turn here. Shortly after that, you’re going to turn onto Water St.
  3. Water St. will end at the parking lot of a nature preserve that is right next to Six Mile Creek.
  4. Park in the nature preserve and walk across Giles St. and over the bridge that crosses Six Mile Creek.
  5. After you have passed the bridge, you have two options. First option: There is a trail that has been widely used that you will come up to first. This trail can give you some very good views of the crest of the falls, but not the base. If you continue on the trail, you will most likely end up with the trail ending abruptly. Second option: If you go a very short distance further, you’ll will notice a somewhat inclined trail/rock road/path that leads downward. If you follow this trail, you’ll end up with a much better view of the base of the falls. Try both options for multiple photo opportunities. You’ll also see Lace Falls, which is a freebie waterfall.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 65′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Wells Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is Wells Falls?


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