Visit Ithaca Waterfalls Challenge

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Known for waterfalls and gorges views, the Visit Ithaca Waterfalls Challenge is your guide to exploring some of the area’s most notable natural assets. For avid adventurers or new outdoor enthusiasts, this passport will enhance your visit and allow you to earn prizes while you keep track of where you have gone. Visit Ithaca challenges YOU to check off over 20 natural areas! After checking into 10 locations, you will receive a water bottle. Check into 18 or more, and you win a knit beanie. You can be a seasoned hiker, college student, or just passing through the area to participate in this challenge.  Registering for the pass and having fun is 100% free. State Park entrance fees may apply when you visit; donations are accepted at many locations. All prizes are while supplies last.

Click here to see what’s included!

Visit Ithaca Waterfalls Challenge

  • Mobile exclusive
  • Instantly delivered via text and email
  • No apps to download
  • Explore the best Waterfalls of Ithaca, NY

How this Pass Works

Step 1 - Get Your Pass

This mobile exclusive passport is a collection of waterfalls to explore during your visit.

Step 2 - Receive Text

Your passport will be instantly delivered to your phone via text and email and is ready to use immediately! There is no app to download. Your pass can be saved to your phone’s home screen for easy one-tap access.

Step 3 - Redeem

When visiting participating waterfalls, you will need to have your location services turned on and be within range of the location you are visiting in order to check-in.

Included Venues

See locations on an interactive map.

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Black Diamond Trail
Enjoy scenic view of Cayuga Lake and on this 8.5-mile stone-dust path along the upland slopes of Cayuga Lake makes for an enjoyable family-oriented walk, bike, or even cross-country skiing opportunity from the city limits of Ithaca to the 215-foot waterfall, Taughannock Falls.

Photo Credit: Fausel Imagery
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Businessman’s Lunch Falls (Wells Falls)
Businessman's Lunch Falls is located on Six Mile Creek. The falls can be viewed from the Giles St bridge or by a short .2 mi hike. Businessman's Lunch Falls is a set of four cascading falls - 30ft, 5ft, 15ft, 15ft - and is popular lunch spot for people working downtown.

Photo Credit: Chris Walters
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Buttermilk Falls Lower
Experience Buttermilk Creek drop 600 feet as it plunges through a gorge down the eastern slope of the Cayuga Valley at the southernmost edge of the City of Ithaca. The lower fall that you will see is 165ft tall and cascades as you follow the trail. This state park offers five trails to wander...
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Buttermilk Falls Upper
While you visit Buttermilk Falls State Park, be sure to check off the upper park from your list. The upper park has a small lake, hiking trails through woodlands and along the gorge and rim, picnic areas and playing fields.

Photo Credit: Brad Marzolf
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Cascadilla Gorge Trail
Connecting downtown Ithaca with the Cornell campus, this natural area is managed by the Cornell Botanic Gardens. Ascending over 400 feet, this historic set of stone trails and staircases was originally constructed in the late 1920’s. You will see six waterfalls as the path leads you through the...
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Cornell Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens proper consist of 25 acres of botanical gardens and 150 acres of the F.R. Newman Arboretum. Eleven gardens feature herbs, flowers, vegetables, rhododendrons, perennials, ornamental grasses, groundcovers, conifers, container gardens and plants with winter interest. An audio tour...
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East Ithaca Recreation Way
The East Ithaca Recreation Way is mostly built on the former railroad bed of the Elmira Cortland & Northern Railroad from 1869. This multi-use trail is a great place to go walking, biking, jogging, and birding. Horseback riding is permitted along the trail section from Maple Avenue to Game...
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Enfield Falls
Enfield Falls is located in the lower park of Robert H. Treman. This is a short and easy walk from the parking lot with a unique swimming hole experience.

Photo Credit: Kris Reynolds
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Fall Creek Gorge
Explore trails along the Fall Creek Gorge, managed by the Cornell Botanic Gardens with trails providing access to one of Cornell's iconic gorges. The Risley Trail leads to a picnic area at creek level on the north side of the gorge and the Horseshoe Falls Trail leads to an overlook in view of the...
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Fall Creek Suspension Bridge
The Fall Creek Suspension Bridge is a pedestrian footbridge that spans the Fall Creek Gorge, a part of the hanging valley formed where Fall Creek passes through the glacial trough of Cayuga Lake.

Photo Credit: @Derrenstephen
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Ithaca Falls
A beautiful year-round, 150' vertical fall by 175' wide with cliffs rising another 100'. Visible from Lake St. bridge or a couple minute walk to the base of the falls. See Red-Tailed Hawks nest on cliffs above, Turkey Vultures and many other birds take advantage of air currents and a...
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Lick Brook Falls At Sweedler Nature Preserve
Follow the trails along the rim of Lick Brook gorge and through the forest. Taken together, these two preserves provide an excellent example of the area's geologic history and ecological systems. The effects of ice age glaciers can be seen in the multiple waterfalls that splash down along...
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Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve
The Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve in the town of West Danby consists of 537 acres of forests, meadows, brushland, gorges, streams, kettle ponds and wetlands. Several trails comprising a total of 3.6 miles are open year-round for hiking, skiing, and birding. The diverse habitats found in the...
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Lucifer Falls
Lucifer Falls is a 115 ft waterfall best reached from the upper entrance of Robert H. Treman State Park. A walk down the gorge trail will reveal stunning geology and stonework on the way to Lucifer falls.  After viewing the falls, descend the gorge trail and cross over the stream to ascend the...
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Mulholland Wildflower Preserve
The Six Mile Creek Gorge is a diverse ecological area consisting of streams, gorges, waterfalls, marshland, forest, and meadows of goldenrods, asters, shrub thickets or young forests. The natural area offers level, creekside walks in the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve on the north side of Six Mile...
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Sapsucker Woods
The beautiful 230-acre Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary is home to the world-renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Four miles of easy walking trails lead you through forest and wetlands, perfect for birding. Hidden “gem” – nature artist Andy Goldsworthy created a sculpture for this site. Self-guided...
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Smith Woods
Smith Woods is one of the few remaining old growth forests in central New York (32 acres), distinguished by its accessibility and flat terrain, bordering the Village of Trumansburg. Large beech, hemlock and maples inhabit the site, along with 20 other tree species and many spring ephemerals. There...
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South Hill Trail
The South Hill Recreation Way is mostly built on the abandoned railroad bed of the Cayuga and Susquehanna Railroad. This multi-use trail is great for walking, jogging, nature appreciation, and bicycling, and is popular for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Many benches and...
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Taughannock Falls Main
A spectacular waterfall in a well-maintained state park, Taughannock Falls is one of many sights within the park, yet it is easily the most popular not just within the boundaries, but in the entire region. Free-falling 215 feet as a single-drop waterfall from a hanging valley, Taughannock roars...
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Treetops Treehouse (Cayuga Nature Center)
Primarily a connector trail, between the Cayuga Nature Center and its network of trails, and the Black Diamond trail. It leads to Treetops, the outdoor animal exhibit and the lodge. Nearby, you will be able to see smaller waterfalls in the area including Denison Falls.

Photo Credit: Cayuga Nature Center
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Triphammer Falls
Explore the Cornell Botanic Gardens and Beebe Lake Natural Area on the one-mile loop trail around this man-made lake in the heart of Cornell campus. The scenic trail passes through mature and old-growth forests, over the historic Sackett Bridge, and past many lake views and stone seating areas From...
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Upper Falls at Taughannock
To see the upper waterfall, proceed up the hill from the overlook to the end of Taughannock Park Road, turning left at the “T” onto Jacksonville Road and crossing the bridge. Pull into the small gravel parking area on the left immediately after crossing the bridge then follow the short path...
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