Free Waterfalls!

Photo: Deborah Littlejohn

Free Places to See Summer Waterfalls in the Finger Lakes Region!

If the best things in life are free, the Finger Lakes region is exceptional for its no-cost outdoor recreation opportunities. This rainy summer is the perfect time to explore the area, most notably the countless waterfalls and creeks that define this iconic landscape. We invite you to leave your wallet at home and head outdoors to experience the gorgeous natural beauty of our region’s waterscapes.

Waterfalls at Cascadilla Gorge
Photo: Chris Ray

Cascadilla Gorge Trail

Cascadilla Gorge is a stunningly beautiful connective corridor that runs from downtown Ithaca to the Cornell University campus. The gorge is a short three-quarters of a mile in length, but it is long on amazing waterscapes. There are eight sizeable waterfalls that range from eight to 80 feet in height along this handsome stretch of Cascadilla Creek.

Photo: Nigel Kent

Grimes Glen Park

Experience two stunning 60-foot falls at this Ontario County park in Naples by wandering ½ mile or slightly more from the parking area. Waterfall sightseers should expect to get their feet wet since the gorge narrows upstream. Visitors are advised to stay on the trail after heavy rain.

Waterfall at High Tor Wildlife Management Area
Photo: Nigel Kent

High Tor Wildlife Management Area

Opportunities abound for all types of outdoor enthusiasts at the High Tor Wildlife Management Area in Naples, including hiking, biking, and paddling. Creek walking and gorge exploration also top the list at both Conklin Gully-Parish Glen and Clark Gully, two well-known gorges with beautiful waterfalls.

Waterfall at Keuka Outlet Trail
Photo: Steve Knapp

Keuka Outlet Trail

A winding stream accompanies hikers, runners, bikers, and even equestrians along the 6.8-mile Keuka Outlet Trail, home to two impressive waterfalls. The most notable is Seneca Mill Falls located at about the midpoint of the trail near the pavilion at the Lion Bruce Hansen Memorial Park. Many people stop here to view the falls and picnic.

Tinker Falls at Labrador Hollow Unique Area
Photo: Chris Ray

Labrador Hollow Unique Area

The most popular destination in Labrador Hollow in Tully is the universally accessible, quarter-mile path to Tinker Falls. Tinker Falls is a stunning example of a “hanging” falls. Its origin dates back to when New York and much of the North American continent were part of an inland sea.

Waterfall at Lick Brook Gorge
Photo: Brian Maley

Lick Brook Gorge

Lick Brook Gorge in Ithaca is a popular hiking spot that connects to Buttermilk Falls State Park and Robert H. Treman State Park via the Finger Lakes Trail. The Sweedler and Thayer Preserves, along with the adjacent 27-acre Lick Brook Natural Area, provide excellent examples of the area’s geologic history. Multiple waterfalls splash down along Lick Brook on its journey to Cayuga Lake, including one that is nearly 140 feet tall.

Other places to explore…

Bahar Nature Preserve

Catharine Valley Trail

Black Diamond Trail

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