Destination New York: Taughannock Falls

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ITHACA, N.Y. (WETM) – Taughannock Falls State Park is one of the outstanding natural attractions of the northeast.

“I would say the attendance here is well over a million. The spot we’re standing at is open all year and people can pull up here and jump out take a peek at the falls, even in the coldest days of winter to see all the ice,” said Josh Teeter, the environmental educator of the Taughannock Falls State Park.

“It is 215 feet tall, it’s 33 feet higher than Niagara Falls, and the rocks on either side are just about 400 feet. This is the main attraction. Everyone stops to see this,” said Teeter.

Its name is believed to have derived from the ‘Algonquian Taconic’, meaning, “in the trees” or ‘Taghkanic’ after a Lenape chieftain killed in battle nearby.

“During the last ice age. there was a glacier that came down from the north, and once it receded, about 10 to 12,000 years ago, there was glacial melt, so north of us glacier was still melting water was coming. It was coming down the stream bed and it was falling off of the newly shaped lake because the glacier was never actually down in this area, but it formed the lakes, so the legs are long and they’re very steep-sided legs. Any of the meltwater that was going over that side of that leg that was newly formed, it’s kind of an instant waterfall or geologists will call it a ‘hanging valley’,” said Teeter.

The falls offer a multitude of activities including a multi-use trail, hiking, cross-country skiing, winds past sledding slopes, and natural skating ponds.

The destination also offers campsites and cabins that overlook Cayuga Lake, with a marina, boat launch, and beach nearby.

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