Waterfall in Watkins Glen SP, New York

The last post about Watkins Glen State Park was a while ago, so I might as well take a little time to inform you again about this really interesting state park with numerous waterfalls. Right inside the city of Watkins Glen is the state park of the mentioned glen. When you can visit, you’ll be introduced to a number of different waterfalls with very different personalities. The problem happens to be that you can’t always visit. When my dad and I visited in early May, the state park system was still cleaning up the damage that had occurred during the winter. (It seems to be an expected event in many of the glens.) At least there’s a sense of placing safety first here.

There are some really impressive waterfalls in the park, and then there are some smaller drops that aren’t necessarily the most interesting, but they can still be rather cool. Often, the rock formations around the falls are the nifty part. This specific drop is one of those smaller drops that hasn’t been named, but it should still be recognized.


  1. Watkins Glen State Park is directly off of NY-14 in Watkins Glen.
  2. Pay the state park entrance fee, and then park.
  3. This waterfall can be seen along the Gorge Trail.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 5′
Length of Hike: up to 3 miles round-trip

Waterfall in Watkins Glen in May 2009

Where in the World is this Waterfall in Watkins Glen?

NY-14 Falls #3, New York

As I mentioned when discussing NY-14 Falls #1, as you’re driving along NY-14 from Watkins Glen to Montour Falls, you’ll find a number of smaller waterfalls that aren’t really reported. Sometimes smaller waterfalls go to the wayside when near larger waterfalls. These three waterfalls are all very pretty, and are extremely easy to visit as they’re right off of NY-14. I’m guessing these waterfalls might only be flowing in late winter, spring, or after a heavy rainfall.


  1. As you’re driving south on NY-14 from Watkins Glen toward Montour Falls, these three waterfalls will be on your right. All three of the waterfalls I photographed were north of Aunt Sarah’s Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 25′
Length of Hike: roadside

A waterfall along NY-14 (May 2009)

Where in the World is NY-14 Falls #3?

Sentry Falls, New York

Sentry Falls is the first waterfall that you see when entering Watkins Glen, and it is my favorite of the falls in the park. That might seem odd, considering people can’t even see the whole waterfall at this point because it is twisting and turning so much. It is not the tallest or widest fall in the park either. It’s just the most scenic of the waterfalls that I saw.

As I have mentioned before, I visited Watkins Glen State Park in early May when only the first third of the gorge trail was open. That means I have not seen all of the falls up close. I have seen other amazing pictures of other falls in the park, but some of those I have not seen. So I must settle with Sentry Falls. Part of the beauty of Sentry Falls lies in the beautiful rock surrounding it and the extremely cool stone suspension bridge built over the falls. To me, it is one of the most intriguing views in all of the park…and it’s the first thing you see!


  1. Watkins Glen State Park is directly off of NY-14 in Watkins Glen.
  2. Pay the state park entrance fee, and then park.
  3. Sentry Falls greets you as you start your hike.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 25′
Length of Hike: up to 3 miles round-trip (Sentry Falls is at the start)

Sentry Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is Sentry Falls?

Waterfall #6 in Buttermilk Falls SP, New York

There are numerous, numerous waterfalls in Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca, New York. It would definitely be helpful or even cool if they named each of the different waterfalls something…different. First off, Buttermilk Falls is one of the most common waterfall names. Second, it would be easier to identify the falls if they actually had a name!

I’ve called this one waterfall #6. It’s by no means the largest of the falls in the park. It’s actually one of the smallest, but it’s still pretty nonetheless. The whole park is beautiful. The Gorge Trail, where the falls are best viewed from, is open during certain times of the year, though. Luckily, when I visited the park in early May, it was one of the only parks to have the gorge trail completely open. Most of the other state parks with waterfalls and gorge trails still had the trails closed.

One more thing about Buttermilk Falls: the park has a rather steep incline. If you enter from the W. King Road, the way down is not bad at all. The way back up is tougher. The opposite is true if you enter from the other entrance. Beware! The best way to view the falls would be to start at the W. King Road entrance, descend down to the other entrance, where somebody could pick you up.


  1. There are multiple ways to access this entrance to the park. I think the easiest is to get onto NY-96B (aka Danby Rd.) heading south from Ithaca.
  2. Heading south, you will come to W. King Road. Turn right onto W. King Road.
  3. Head to the sign for the entrance to Buttermilk Falls State Park. Turn into the entrance.
  4. From here, you can park right there, and cross W. King Road. The entrance to the gorge should be rather obvious.
  5. The Gorge Trail is the best choice to view the falls, though it is only open during certain times of the year.

Accessibility: Ascent (4/10), Descent (9/10)
Height: 5′
Length of Hike: 1.2 miles round-trip (if you start near NY-96)

A smaller waterfall in Buttermilk Falls State Park

Where in the World is Waterfall #6?

Cavern Cascade, New York

Cavern Cascade in May 2009

I was thinking about Cavern Cascade, and realized that it isn’t actually a cascade, but instead a plunge waterfall. A cascade usually has multiple drops due to rock steps. I didn’t see any rock steps…But that’s an aside.

The waterfall is actually very cool. It was one of the waterfalls that I saw in Watkins Glen State Park, considering that only the first third of the Gorge Trail was open when I visited in early May. It’s difficult to miss this waterfall if you walk along the Gorge Trail, as the trail leads directly BEHIND the falls. You’re sure to get wet!!!


  1. Watkins Glen State Park is directly off of NY-14 in Watkins Glen.
  2. Pay the state park entrance fee, and then park.
  3. Cavern Cascade can be seen from the Gorge Trail.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 43′
Length of Hike: up to 3 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Cavern Cascade?

Twin Falls, New York

Twin Falls in May 2009

The hike to Twin Falls (also referred to as Templar Falls) is short, but it’s a steep one. It’s not really that hard, but you’re going to have to essentially maneuver your way down the hill that leads to the river Twin Falls is found on. There is an easier way to view the top half of the falls, but that isn’t very exciting, especially since it’s advertised as having two parts!

It doesn’t take that long to get to the falls. Just keep track of where you came down, because you’re going to have to go back up! I think I came down the clearest route I could find, and then had to jump over rocks to get upstream to see the better view of the falls. It’s a fun experience for a smaller waterfall. This waterfall is relatively near other waterfalls, but is still secluded enough that you won’t encounter many others at this falls.


  1. Head north on NY-14 from Watkins Glen.
  2. Turn left onto Bath Street, which will turn into County Line Road.
  3. After about 2.5 miles, turn left onto Van Zandt Hollow Road. This will merge into Templar Road.
  4. Shortly after merging onto Templar Road, you should notice a sign indicating the Finger Lakes Trail on your right. Park right here, as the falls are right on the river near you.
  5. Explore a little bit. You may find the first falls, and then you can figure out how to get down to see the whole falls.

Accessibility: 4/10 (moderate/strenuous)
Height: 25′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Twin Falls?

NY-14 Falls #1, New York

A waterfall along NY-14 in May 2009

As I’m driving along in different places looking for waterfalls, every once in a while I spot waterfalls that are off on the side of the road. In some places, like North Carolina or Colorado, I couldn’t exactly stop to take photos of these often unmentioned falls because of the insanely winding roads lacking pulloffs.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find at least three smaller waterfalls along New York route 14 that I could actually stop and photograph. These might not even be of significance to many, but I still think they’re cool. I visited this area near Watkins Glen in early May, and based on the level of water, these waterfalls are likely seasonal. They are also not as big as many of the other waterfalls in the area. Even so, I think all waterfalls are at least moderately interesting, so pay attention to these surprises.


  1. As you’re driving south on NY-14 from Watkins Glen toward Montour Falls, these three waterfalls will be on your right. All three of the waterfalls I photographed were north of Aunt Sarah’s Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: ~40′
Length of Hike: roadside

Where in the World is NY-14 Falls #1?

Taughannock Falls, New York

If you’re looking for the tall waterfalls, Taughannock Falls should be high on that list. It isn’t even the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River, which is often considered a dividing line for waterfall classification. There are other waterfalls that are taller, including Upper Whitewater Falls in North Carolina. Taughannock Falls is in the tall category because it is one of the largest single plunge falls east of the Mississippi at over 200′, though one or two others may be larger.

Does that mean that Taughannock Falls is one of my favorite falls? No…It’s tall, but height isn’t everything. Taughannock Falls doesn’t have a whole lot of complexity, which I think is what makes waterfalls interesting. The far more interesting aspect of Taughannock Falls is the amazing gorge it has carved. At some points along the hike to view the base of the falls, you’re actually in a gorge that is something like 400′ above you. The rock formations are truly spectacular. It’s mindblowing to think that this falls has created such an interesting gorge.

Directions (to view base of the falls):

  1. From Ithaca, head north on NY-89.
  2. After a ways, you’ll end up at Taughannock Falls State Park. There are two different parking areas here. Park in either one and pay the entrance fee.
  3. Follow the 1 mile trail to the falls.

There is another view of the falls from above. To get to this viewpoint, continue north on NY-89 a short ways to Taughannock Park Rd. and turn left. From there, head a ways to the viewpoint, which would be on the left if you’re heading west.

Accessibility: 9/10 (to base), 10/10 (from upper viewpoint)
Height: 215′
Length of Hike: 2 miles round-trip

Taughannock Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is Taughannock Falls?

Wells Falls, New York

Wells Falls (also known as Businessman’s Lunch 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.

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

Van Natta’s Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is Wells Falls?

Rocky Falls, New York

Scattered throughout the Cornell University campus are a number of waterfalls. I was walking around the campus one day with my camera and found this waterfall. At the time, I didn’t even know it’s name, since there’s no reason to advertise the numerous waterfalls. People will find them without much difficulty.

I believe there are other viewpoints of Rocky Falls than just from above. I’m just not sure how to get to them, partly because I wasn’t really paying attention at the time. There are other falls in Fall Creek Gorge, so pay attention!


  1. I’m not even sure how to give directions to this waterfall. Cornell University’s campus, as with many other campuses, is not easy to navigate. It may be easier to do so in the summer when there are fewer students around. Parking is also extremely difficult to find, but it does become more available after 5 or 6 pm.
  2. One option for viewing the falls is going onto Cornell’s campus, and finding Fall Creek Drive. Fall Creek runs parallel. There may be parking there, though I can’t remember.
  3. Multiple pedestrian suspension bridges cross the river. The view of the falls comes from one of the pedestrian suspension bridge shown in this.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy, from above)
Height: 25′
Length of Hike: variable depending on starting location

Rocky Falls in March 2006

Where in the World is Rocky Falls?