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Cascadilla Gorge (NY)

2000 Jon Binder


Ratings (ratings explained)
Power: 5/10
Beauty: 7/10
Ease of Access: 8-10/10

Cascadilla Gorge, located on the southern edge of the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY, contains a series of a half dozen beautiful waterfalls.


A little cascade in the gorge
The third of the six falls
The fourth of six falls
The bottom part of the fourth of six falls
Giant's Staircase (uppermost falls)


The path through the gorge leads 1/3 of a mile from downtown Ithaca to Collegetown and the Cornell campus.

The upper end of the trail in Collegetown is located just to the west of the College Avenue bridge over the gorge. Go down the walkway that leads behind the Cornell Center for the Theatre Arts from College Ave. to find the trail.

The lower end of the trail in downtown Ithaca is located at the east end of Court Street. A small park next to the University Ave./Linn St. bridge marks the beginning of the trail.

Parking for either location can be found along any of the nearby streets, or in the Collegetown parking garage on Dryden Avenue.


The Cascadilla Gorge trail is quite popular, both because of its beauty and its direct pedestrian route from downtown Ithaca to Cornell. It is quite steep, and is fairly strenuous when ascending towards Cornell.

Starting from the bottom downtown, the trail comes to the first waterfall and begins climbing the stairs. Soon, the gorge walls get higher, and the walk becomes much more isolated and pleasant. Some small cascades are passed, before the climbing stops briefly at a level section. This level stretch culminates in a waterfall directly under the Stewart Avenue bridge.

After going under the bridge, the trail leads across a bridge to the opposite side of Cascadilla Creek. More cascades are passed, and finally a small waterfall. After more climbing, the fourth falls is passed. This falls is probably the nicest of the six in the gorge, and looks good from all angles. Still more climbing brings you to the tallest and final waterfall, known as Giant's Staircase. This is the falls pictured on the top of the page.

From this falls, stairs continue up to the upper end of the trail behind the Cornell Center for Theatre Arts in Collegetown.

Check out the Virtual Tour of the Gorge, created by Cornell (you'll need Quicktime to take the tour).

Fall Creek Gorge is also located on the Cornell University campus.

<< Back to List of New York Waterfalls

Page Last Revised: February 13, 2002