Outdoor recreation offers no-cost experiences in Ithaca

Ithaca’s natural areas provide several outdoor recreation offerings, allowing for no-cost activities for the whole family to enjoy.
There are three natural areas within easy walking distance of the city. The Cascadilla Gorge Trail, connecting downtown Ithaca to the Cornell campus via a path that includes bridges over a pair of waterfalls, is just 0.6 kilometers from The Commons. The Mulholland Wildflower Preserve and Businessman’s Lunch Falls are 1.4 kilometers from The Commons, while Ithaca Falls is 1.9 kilometers away.
The Cayuga Waterfront Trail’s paved path curves around the southern end of Cayuga Lake, connecting Cass Park, the Ithaca Children’s Garden, Ithaca Farmers Market and Stewart Park. The Children’s Garden and Stewart Park are especially for children, with hands-on nature play at the former and an inclusive playground and picnic spaces at the latter. While the Farmers Market has vendors selling locally produced food and artisan wares, strolling through the covered pavilion space is free of charge and offers plenty to see, often accompanied by local musicians providing the soundtrack for your visit.
For a pleasant walk in the woods and spectacular views of a waterfall off the beaten path, head to Lick Brook Falls in the Sweedler Nature Preserve. A 6.4-kilometer loop trail brings you by three waterfalls and several cascades. The strenuous 152.4-meter climb is worth your while with the gorge and waterfalls views.
Sapsucker Woods at Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology is an easy walk, with 6.4 kilometers of interconnected trails. The highlight is viewing and listening to birds in the trees and the water along the woodchip-lined paths.
The longest of the local trails, the Black Diamond Trail is a 13.4-kilometer multi-use route for walkers, runners or bikers connecting Ithaca to the nearby Taughannock Falls State Park. Overlooking Cayuga Lake, there are many waterfalls to see, culminating with the tallest single-drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains, Taughannock Falls; viewing these falls from the overlook is free.
Finally, the Cayuga Nature Center will capture the imagination of kids – and offer parents a bit of respite. In addition to the rehabilitating animals, a six-story treehouse is not far from the lodge. Full of places to climb and hide, the treehouse offers one of the most unusual waterfall views, looking down upon the 6.4-meter-tall Denison Falls that powers the stream passing by.
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Posted by: Visit Ithaca
Posted on: 06/07/2023

Outdoor recreation offers no-cost experiences in Ithaca

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