Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Taughannock Falls Gorge Trail

Taughannock Falls State Park,
Tompkins Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Gorge Trail

Total Time: 1:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 2 Miles

Pros: Walking along stream bed, large waterfall
Cons: Very busy hike
Hike Type: In and out

Google Maps of Parking:

Continuing on our camping trip to Taughannock Falls, I went with my younger children on this short hike through the base of the gorge to the foot of the waterfalls. We parked at the lower parking area on Cayuga Lake, and took the Gorge Trail past the lower falls. The bed of the creek was mostly dry and created a fascinating flat rocky area that you could walk along. We walked along the dry creek bed for most of the way until the falls, through the deep gorge, with steep cliff walls on both sides.

My footing was not good and I wasn't wearing my typical footwear with a good grip, and actually fell into the water. So my advice is to make sure to wear good footwear. The falls were quite dry but they were flowing. The previous day at the lookout from the top they were almost completely dry. So we were glad to see the actual falls flowing. We then returned back along the Gorge Trail, which is a wide and well-traversed trail.

Map of the Route

Map of the Route

Information Plaque at the Beginning of the Gorge Trail

Lower Falls at the Beginning of the Hike

Plaque at the Small Waterfalls

Another View of the Small Falls with a Pool Below

Rock Fave of the Mostly Dry Stream Bed Looking into the Gorge

Another View of the Rocky Floor Looking out to the Gorge Exit

Looking into the Gorge
Small Cascade in the Creek

Partially Dry Rocky Stream Bed

View of the Creek Bed and the Gorge

Cliff Wall at the Edge of the Stream

Along the Creek Bed and High Cliffs on the Side

Bridge Across the Creek with the Falls in the Distance

Plaque Before the Falls

Taughannock Falls Main Cascade

Taughannock Falls Tumbling Over the Gorge Walls

Me at Taughannock Falls at the End of the Gorge Trail
Taughannock Falls and Outlet

Plauque at Big Bend in the Gorge

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Watkins Glen Short Hike

Watkins Glen State Park,
Schuyler Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Gorge Trail
North Rim Trail

Total Time: 0:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 0.9 Mile

Pros: Famous, highly scenic area gorge
Cons: A very busy and popular area
Hike Type: Loop

Google Maps of Parking:

Watkins Glen is perhaps the most famous gorge in New York State, and certainly the most-well known in the Finger Lakes area. It is a steep and narrow gorge with unique rock formations and many waterfalls. I was with my family on a camping trip and we were en route from Corning to Ithaca, and we drove through Watkins Glen on the return route.

It was already late in the day, so we couldn't do the full route, so we just did the first part with a very short loop just under a while. It may have been short, but it was beautiful. The lateness in the made for a very quiet hike, despite this hike being very busy normally. There is a parking fee to visit the area, but since I was already staying at a state campground I was exempt from parking fee.

I was at Watkins Glen on a camping trip approximately 9 years prior, and noticed the newly renovated entrance area. There used to be a parking lot at then entry of the gorge, which was now replaced by paths and gardens. We took the Gorge Trail through the gorge, crossing the Sentry Bridge at the first waterfall, and then behind the waterfalls at Cavern Cascade, and then under the suspension bridge. We then took the North Rim Connector Trail back, crossing over the Suspension Bridge, and then back along the North Rim Connector Trail back to the entrance area.

Map of the Route

The Steep and Narrow Gorge at Watkins Glen

Steps Going through the Gorge at Watkins Glen

Me and the Cascade Cavern Waterfalls

Trail Behind the Cascade Cavern Waterfalls

Me Behind the Cascade Cavern Waterfalls

The Gorge Trail through the Narrow Gorge

View of the Steep and Narrow Gorge

The Creek Winding through a Narrow Sliver

View Above the Gorge from the Rim Trail

Descending the Rim Trail on the New Steps

Monday, August 24, 2020

Buttermilk Falls at Ithaca

Buttermilk Falls State Park,
Tompkins Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Gorge Trail
Rim Trail
Bear Trail

Total Time: 1:35 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.9 Mile

Pros: Highly scenic area with many waterfalls
Cons: A popular trail and not so quiet, fee for parking
Hike Type: Loop

Google Maps of Parking:

I had visited Buttermilk Falls about 10 years prior, on a camping trip upstate with my family. This summer I again went camping in that area with my family near Ithaca, this time at Taughannock Falls State Park. We did many of the gorge hikes in the area during our stay, but traveling with young children I didn't do any long or strenuous hikes.

Buttermilk Falls is a beautiful glen right outside the city limits of Ithaca, with an eroded gorge with very unique formations and steep walls ending in a dramatic plunge at Buttermilk Falls. I parked at the upper area at West King Road, and took the Gorge Trail north down. The Gorge Trail goes alongside the creek, on a wide path that in some places goes down steep steps. Towards the end, the creek pluges down the wide Buttermilk Falls. The water level was very low so the falls lacked in terms of impressiveness.

At the bottom, I continued along the Rim Trail, climbing up steeply at the first part and along site the top rim. I continued along the trail to the end, at West King Road. I then went along the road crossing the bridge, and took the Bear Trail for a very short part and then cutting across the spur along the pedestrian bridge and back to my car. I had left my family at the bottom (they only hiked one way going down) and then drove over there to pick them up.

Map of the Route

Sign at the Entrance to the Trail After the Bridge 

Gorge Trail Sign

Road Bridge Above Buttermilk Falls

Buttermilk Brook Formations

Trail through the Gorge

Giant Round Pothole

Really Cool Formations in Buttermilk Falls

Me at the Above Falls

Pinnacle Rock in the Gorge

Small Falls after Pinnacle Rock

Smaller Falls Near the Trail Bridge

Main Falls Near the End, Mostly Dry

Above the Last Plunge

Buttermilk Falls Lower Trail
Gorge Trail Plaque at the Bottom part of the hike

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Bear Mountain Southern Flank

Bear Mountain State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
1777 W Trail: Red blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 0:40 hour
Estimated Distance: 1 Mile

Pros: Good views for short hike
Cons: Parking lot trailhead fills up quickly on weekend
Hike Type: Up and Down

Hiking Partner:
Joseph Friedman

Google Maps of Parking:

This was a rainy morning, and we found a short break in the rain for a quick hike. We parked at the trailhead parking on Seven Lakes Drive, and took the 1777 W Trail for a very short distance to the Appalachian Trail. We took the Appalachian Trail north for a short distance up the southern flank of Bear Mountain. 

We climbed up the newly rerouted Appalachian Trail up some of the freshly carved steps, to the view at the southern flank of Bear Mountain, facing West Mountain immediately ahead of us. We continued a short distant further, and then turned around, walking along the same route back, but walking on Seven Lakes Drive for a small part to the trailhead.

Map of the Route

Sign at the Intersection of the 1777 W and Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail Through a Staircase in the Rock

Me Ascending on the Appalachian Trail

At the Appalachian Trail South Flank View

View from the Appalachian Trail Southern Flank to West Mountain

View on the Appalachian Trail Looking at the North Part of West Mountain

Appalachian Trail Ascending on Bear Mountain

A Rainy West Mountain from Bear Mountain. Love the Colors.

Me at the Bear Mountain Southern Flank View

Fallen Trees from Tropical Storm Isaias on the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail Sign on Seven Lakes Drive

Another View of the Appalachian Trail on Seven Lakes Drive