Ithaca, NY is a small detour on the way to my hometown of Rochester, NY and we extended a recent weekend visit with two nights in Ithaca.
We have previously visited other Finger Lakes hot spots such as Honeoye, NY and Watkins Glen, NY. Our visit to Ithaca confirmed our interest in further exploration of the Finger Lakes region.
Ithaca is located on Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The area is surrounded by lakes, waterfalls, and gorges; and has bountiful opportunities for hiking, biking, and skiing. The tagline Ithaca is Gorges is found on city paraphernalia and souvenirs.
Ithaca is a liberal college town surrounded by farms and has a thriving food, drink, and live music scene. The city has consistently ranked high on lists ranking high quality of life locales, emerging cities, and retirement destinations.
Waterfalls in Ithaca State Parks
We visited three Ithaca region state parks to hike alongside gorges and view stunning waterfalls. After all, Ithaca is Gorges.
TIP: Visiting the state parks in a single day will eliminate multiple entrance fees. Campsite reservations include access to the park, as well as any other New York state parks, during your stay.
Buttermilk Falls State Park
The waterfall and natural swimming pool at Buttermilk Falls State Park are visible from the lower park entrance gate. The lower park also contains the campground. The upper park has picnic areas and hiking trails through woodlands and along the gorge and rim.
Robert H. Treman State Park
Robert H. Treman State Park contains nine miles of hiking trails. We hiked the Gorge Trail (2.12 miles) with a return on the Rim Trail (2.09 miles) to create a loop from the campground. The hike took us alongside the gorge of Enfield Glen and past twelve waterfalls. The route was a lot of up and down with terrain through wooded areas as well as on rocks next to the water. However, the stunning views and its variety did not disappoint. Unfortunately the swimming area was closed due to flooding but it would be a perfect ending to this hike on a warm summer day.
Taughannock Falls State Park
The namesake waterfall in Taughannock Falls State Park is 215 feet high. The viewing platform is located at the end of the Gorge Trail (0.95 mile one-way). The park also has rim trails, each approximately 1.5 miles in length, which provide views from above the falls. We only hiked the Gorge Trail at this park.
Ithaca Map with Points of Interest
There’s so much to do and see in the Ithaca, NY area. We visited two local breweries – Ithaca Beer Co. and Liquid State Brewing Company.
This map of the Ithaca area highlights points of interest and attractions such as state parks (with waterfalls!), museums, and gardens. Check out the links within the Information and Resources section below for other activities and events that may be of interest.
Camping in Ithaca Area State Parks
The Ithaca region is home to numerous opportunities for camping. State parks with campsites (and waterfalls!) include:
- Buttermilk Falls State Park – campsites, cabins, and swimming area
- Robert H. Treman State Park – campsites, cabins, and swimming area
- Taughannock Falls State Park – Cayuga Lake campsites, cabins, marina, and beach
Campsite reservations can be made here.
Robert H. Treman State Park Camping Review
We spent two nights camping at Robert H. Treman State Park. The campground has an area with wooded sites, an area with sites in a large field (with hookups for RVs), and an area for the cabins (which looked very cool). All sites have fire rings and a picnic table. There are also flush toilets and free showers; these facilities were well-maintained and clean.
We stayed in site 35 which is a wooded site located at the end of a loop. It was one of the larger, more private sites; reserve it if it is available.
Overall, this park was great. The size was just right with on-site access to hiking and swimming. The nearby amenities of downtown Ithaca was a bonus!
TIP: Try The Dyrt or Hipcamp to discover campsites. Use this link to sign-up and receive $10 in Hipcamp credit towards your first direct booking on private land (not available for federal or state land)!
Ithaca Hotels and B&Bs
If you’d prefer to explore Ithaca without camping, check out these hotel options in Ithaca or these bed and breakfast options in Ithaca.
Ithaca Information and Resources
August 8 – 10, 2018