Exploring The Finger Lakes Region For Waterfalls In Upstate New York
We enjoyed the Finger Lakes region for waterfalls on a visit to Upstate New York. On our visit to the Finger Lakes region for tasty treats we could not miss the great outdoor sights on our stay in Geneva.
The Finger Lakes are composed of eleven long, narrow lakes in New York. These geological features are over-deepened glacial valleys. On this visit we explored the area around Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake. But we knew there was much more to explore on repeat visits.
Much of the Finger Lakes area lay upon shale rock. There was not a lot of rain when we visited so we found the water levels were quite low. But even without thundering flows, we were glad we visited some of the waterfalls in the area. The lower water levels provided great views of the underlying shale rock structure.
We drove around the Finger Lakes region as we searched for waterfalls. Along the way we found Taughannock Falls, Buttermilk Falls, Shequaga Falls and Hector Falls. Each had a little something different to offer.
We Always Chased Waterfalls On Our Travels
On our travels, we often headed out and explored the waterfalls. The waterfalls of Iceland were a major draw. And we loved the variety in the waterfalls we found cruising in the Norway Fjords. The Rhine Falls in Switzerland were a delightful treat on a day trip from Zurich in Switzerland.
At home in Ontario, Niagara Falls was a wonderful day trip in any season. And when we headed to Northern Ontario in the Fall, we found fall colours on the waterfalls. As a Canadian, we learned how beautiful frozen waterfalls can be.
On travels to the West Coast in British Columbia, we found raging waterfalls in the mountains around Revelstoke. And waterfalls on great hikes from Whistler. When we visited the Sunshine Coast, waterfalls and parks around Sechelt captivated us for weeks.
So we were not surprised that our stay in Geneva in the Finger Lakes brought us more waterfall stops.
Our First Waterfall Visit To Watkins Glen
When we did a road trip from Toronto to Philadelphia for the July 4th, we planned our route through New York State. We travelled down through the Finger Lakes and really had no stops planned. But when we saw the Watkins Glen State Park right on the highway, we could not resist a road trip stop at Watkins Glen.
We were not sure what to expect. But we set out on a hike along the Watkins Glen gorge. And we were delighted with the rock formations. The waterfalls tumbled down the interesting rock formations.
Our first visit to the Finger Lakes region for waterfalls showed us the interesting geology in this area of the Appalachian Mountains.
Views Over The Taughannock Falls
The first waterfall stop on this visit to the Finger Lakes region was at Taughannock Falls State Park. Our research showed us a broad thundering horseshoe waterfall that was 215 feet (66m) high. It was the highest single drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. And was in fact, 33 feet higher than Niagara Falls.
As we drove south, we saw the sign for the Taughannock Falls Overlook. This spot was not inside the state park gate. We were happy when we found lots of parking and several trails. And we were pleased there was no cost for parking and no park fee.
The overlook platform was right by the information centre at the parking lot. It was the perfect spot for a first view of the Taughannock Falls. Far below in the valley we saw the Gorge Trail with a platform at the base of the falls.
We wanted a closer view from the top so set off on the North Rim Trail. This path wound through the woods. The cliffs on the side of this waterfall were as high as 350 feet. Several times we looked down but the dense trees blocked a view. We passed a lovely bench that looked like it had a view but a couple already had that spot. So we kept walking higher along the path.
Following The North Rim Trail At Taughannock Falls
We finally reached the end of the North Rim Trail at a bridge over the water. When we looked downstream, we saw the gorge that led to the Taughannock Falls. And on the other side we saw another waterfall and a more gentle set of falls over shale ledges.
At this point we could join the South Rim Trail and head down the other side of the falls. But we backtracked along our original path. When we reached the bench with a view, we were surprised when we got the much closer view of the Taughannock Falls we looked for. But we were glad we did not stop here first or we might not have done the full hike to the bridge view.
When we got back in the car we debated entering the Taughannock Falls State Park for a view of the falls from the Gorge Trail on the bottom. But we still had several more stops planned on our day trip in the Finger Lakes region for waterfalls.
Buttermilk Falls South Of Itaca
We continued south along Cayuga Lake and went through Ithaca. The GPS was programmed for Buttermilk Falls. But as we found as we drove around the Finger Lakes region, the signage was often not great. We had to make a fast turn to get into the Buttermilk Falls State Park. The entry on Hwy 13 put us at the lower park entrance.
At the entrance gate, we asked the attendant about the water level at the falls. We learned at Taughannock Falls that the water levels in the area were pretty low. The attendant was really honest and said the falls were mostly a trickle. He did not think it was really worth a hike up along the Buttermilk Creek. Unless we just wanted a hike on the Gorge Trail or RimTrail.
There was no parking in the area outside the gate at this entrance. But we saw the Buttermilk Falls right there. David took the car for a short drive while I hopped out for some photos.
We were happy we got a view of the Buttermilk Falls. And if we wanted a long park hike, this still would have been a great stop. When the spring thaw is on, we are sure that Buttermilk Falls would be a great waterfall stop in the Finger Lakes region.
Shequaga Falls Over Montour Falls
We headed next for the small town of Montour Falls for the Shequaga Falls. When we did the research, we read that the waterfall was visible over the main street of the town. But we were still surprised when we drove through town and immediately saw the falls high above the town.
We found two on-street parking spots in front of the park at the waterfall. The trellis bridge at the top perfectly framed this waterfall. Unfortunately the sun was right behind the waterfall and the falls were in shade. This was yet another great waterfall formation with a low flow when we visited.
When we left we took the road that went up the hills and found the bridge over the waterfall. It was fun to get a view of the Shequaga Falls in Montour Falls from the top. Another fun stop wandering around the Finger Lakes region for waterfalls.
Surprise Stop At Hector Falls In Finger Lakes Region For Waterfalls
We really had no more waterfalls on the list for our stay to the Finger Lakes region. But sometimes we got surprised. When we finished our wine tasting day trip, we headed back north to Geneva up the east side of Seneca Lake. And we no sooner got on Rte 414 before we quickly pulled over when we saw the sign for Hector Falls and the falls right off the road. There was parking on the shoulder for about 5 cars.
We expected a small trickle but were amazed when we saw Hector Falls from the bridge. The water cascaded down in multiple spots along a broad rock face.
When we looked from the other side of the bridge, we saw the water as it cascaded down several slate steps to the lake. There was even a small road that took you down to where the falls joined Seneca Lake.
It was great to be surprised when we drove around the Finger Lakes Region for waterfalls.
The Ultimate Waterfalls In Upstate New York
We enjoyed our travels around the Finger Lakes region for waterfalls. But on the drive back to Toronto, we passed by the most iconic waterfalls in New York.
As Canadians, we visited Niagara Falls many times from the Canadian side. But it was interesting when we finally saw these famous waterfalls from the U.S. side in New York State.
Even when it was a dry summer, Niagara Falls was never a disappointment.
Enjoying The Finger Lakes Region For Waterfalls In Upstate New York
We were delighted we found so many great stops when we explored the Finger Lakes Region for waterfalls in Upstate New York. The ragged slate rock base created many fascinating faces for the water to fall over. We wished we visited when the water levels were higher. But it was still fascinating to explore the waterfalls and the New York State Parks.
Our visit to the Finger Lakes region was enhanced with so many great outdoor sights. We will definitely be back.
Have you explored the Finger Lakes Region for waterfalls in Upstate New York?
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