Ithaca Hiking: A Guide to Trails and Adventures in Upstate New York

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Are you an avid hiker looking for a new adventure? Look no further than Ithaca, New York, a hidden gem of a hiking destination in upstate New York. With over 100 waterfalls, lush forests, and scenic gorges, Ithaca offers some of the best ithaca hiking in the Northeast. In this guide, we’ll explore the top hiking trails in Ithaca and offer tips for planning your next outdoor adventure.

Why Ithaca is a Hiker’s Paradise

Ithaca is a small college town nestled in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. The town is known for its natural beauty and is home to Cornell University and Ithaca College. The town is surrounded by parks, forests, and gorges, offering an abundance of hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts.

Top Hiking Trails in Ithaca

Buttermilk Falls State Park

Buttermilk Falls State Park is a 10-minute drive from downtown Ithaca and features a series of cascading waterfalls. The park has several trails that range in difficulty from easy to moderate, including the Gorge Trail, which takes hikers along the rim of the gorge and offers stunning views of the falls.

Robert H. Treman State Park

Robert H. Treman State Park is another popular ithaca hiking destination in Ithaca. The park has several trails that take hikers through the gorge, past 12 waterfalls, and over a suspension bridge. The highlight of the park is the 115-foot Lucifer Falls, which can be seen from the Gorge Trail.

 Taughannock Falls State Park

Taughannock Falls State Park is home to the tallest waterfall in the Eastern United States, Taughannock Falls. The park has several trails that take hikers through the gorge and offer breathtaking views of the falls.

Finger Lakes National Forest

The Finger Lakes National Forest is a 30-minute drive from Ithaca and offers over 30 miles of hiking trails. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife and offers hikers the chance to explore the region’s natural beauty.

Tips for Planning Your Hiking Trip to Ithaca

When to Visit

The best time to visit Ithaca for hiking is in the spring and fall when temperatures are mild and the foliage is at its peak. Summer can be hot and humid, and winter can be snowy and icy, making some trails difficult to navigate.

What to Bring

When hiking in Ithaca, it’s important to bring plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen. Wear sturdy hiking boots and dress in layers, as temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to bring a trail map or GPS device, as some trails can be challenging to navigate.

Safety Tips

Before hitting the trails, be sure to let someone know your planned route and expected return time. Stay on designated trails and obey all trail markers and signs. Be aware of your surroundings and watch your footing, as some trails can be steep and rocky.


Ithaca, New York is a hiker’s paradise, with some of the most scenic and challenging trails in the Northeast. With over 100 waterfalls, lush forests, and scenic gorges, Ithaca offers something for hikers of all levels. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, Ithaca is the perfect destination for your next outdoor adventure.


Q: What is the best time to hike in Ithaca? A: You can hike in Ithaca year-round, but the best time is from spring to fall when the weather is mild and the foliage is at its peak.

Q: Are there any guided hiking tours available in Ithaca? A: Yes, there are several companies that offer guided ithaca hiking tours in Ithaca, such as Experience! The Finger Lakes and Ithaca is Foodies.

Q: What are some easy hiking trails in Ithaca? A: Some easy hiking trails in Ithaca include the Cayuga Nature Center Trails, the Cornell Botanic Gardens, and the Lansing Preserve.

Q: Are there any fees for hiking in Ithaca’s parks? A: Yes, some of the parks in Ithaca charge an entrance fee, such as Buttermilk Falls State Park and Taughannock Falls State Park. The fees are usually around $8 per vehicle.

Q: What should I wear for a hike in Ithaca? A: Wear comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes with good traction. Dress in layers, as the temperature can vary throughout the day. Bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and insect repellent.

I hope these FAQs were helpful. Happy hiking!

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