The slogan “Ithaca Is Gorges” isn’t plastered on bumper stickers and T-shirts for nothing. With well over 100 gorges and waterfalls and four state parks within 10 miles of downtown, Ithaca makes it easy to get your nature fix. The main problem: deciding which beautiful landscape to check out. So, let’s narrow it down.
Starting just a few blocks from the Commons, you can climb this breathtaking trail up to Collegetown and the Cornell University campus. While you’re there, don’t miss the Cornell Plantations or . . .
The Waterfalls at Beebe Lake
You’ll find sunbathers galore here on hot days. You’ll also find daredevils jumping from the stone bridge or the cliffs here, an enduring -- though illegal -- tradition among Cornell and Ithaca students alike.
When the temperature soars at the beginning and end of the school year, IC students grab their beach towels and head for the swimming hole at the bottom of the falls. Since it’s the closest state park to campus, it’s also a favorite spot for hiking.
Robert Treman State Park
Like at Buttermilk, you’re allowed to swim beneath the falls here. Talk about the perfect study break!
The shortest and flattest hike around takes you to one of the most spectacular scenes in the region. Towering 215 feet (that’s three stories higher than Niagara), Taughannock Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall east of the Mississippi, making it a must-see for both students and visiting friends or family. Even grandma should be able to handle the ¾-mile trek. (And if she can’t, she can drive up for an impressive view from an overlook.)
Lick Brook Gorge at Sweedler Preserve
If tourist destinations aren’t for you, try a gorge less traveled. Part of the Finger Lakes Trail, the crazy-steep path along Lick Brook runs by three major falls, ranging from 25 feet to 90 feet, and numerous smaller cascades.
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Fuse is a student produced publication about the Ithaca College experience. All content in the print and web versions of Fuse is developed by current Ithaca College students in a breadth of different areas of study.