Plant Smart Living Explores Taughannock Falls State Park and Seneca Lake in Upstate New York


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Having been to Watkins Glen State Park and the little college town of Ithaca, the team here at Plant Smart Living decided to make another trek into Upstate NY to see some more sights that were overlooked during the previous adventures. We decided to go to Taughannock Falls State Park as from photos we saw on Google, it appeared to be just our kind of place!

Considering the drive from our home in Pennsylvania to this region of New York is around 3+ hours, we always try to plan our stops in advance as much as possible. With that said, sometimes things happen and plans get changed, for better and for worse.

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While we departed our house at around 6AM (with the intention of getting to Taughannock Falls around 9AM!), we ended up getting a flat tire on the side of I-81. Talk about a stressful 1.5 hours spent on the side of the highway. Of course, we tried not to let this stop us! After putting on our spare tire and driving a few exits down to a car repair shop, we spent another couple of hours in the small town of Owego. We ate some breakfast at a local diner, and actually had a pretty good time despite this setback. After a new tire was on my car and paid for, we continued our journey upstate.

After taking 3 trips into this general area of New York, I’ve come to learn that the weather is not very predictable. Even with checking the weather forecast, which called for clear skies and warmth (at this time of the year), upon arrival we found an overcast sky and some rain. Fortunately, I enjoy a little bit of rain. It’s soothing to my ears and on my skin.

Taughannock Falls State Park Hike

The parking for Taughannock Falls was very easy. I can really appreciate what the state of NY has done with their State Park system, as I never feel uneasy with leaving my car anywhere, as I may feel going on some day hikes on the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania. We were able to find the trail shortly after.

The fun part about the two trails that run to the waterfall is that one is a “real” trail and a very easy, casual walk, accessible to pretty much everyone. The way I found to be more fun, though, was walking along the fairly dried out stream bed. Some of the photos we took, which capture quite a few other people in the frame, are fairly surreal to look at. It seems crazy to me that this little slice of nature could be so heavily traveled considering it is right across the street from a pretty big park and one of the famous Great Lakes.

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It took about 30 minutes to actually reach the waterfalls this way, though admittedly, we took our time and really enjoyed our walk. The journey there was part of the experience, and the payoff was exceptional! 

As I have pointed out in previous articles I’ve written about hiking and seeing waterfalls (one of my favorite pieces of nature!), I find the scale of these environments to be breathtaking. While during this particular day the actual flow over the waterfall was not the most impressive, standing in the middle of this gorge and seeing the water drop over the edge absolutely was.

It is not always easy to get photographs that can capture the essence of a place of this magnitude, but I think the photos I took will help give you a sense of the scale.

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We returned back to our car, and because we were in the area, decided to go venture over to Seneca Lake as we could literally see it from the parking lot for Taughannock State Park. There wasn’t much to do there, but a lot to take in visually and audibly. I just love the sound of the lake rushing against the shoreline. I could be wrong, but I think I was able to see Ithaca in the distance as well (or at least some other town). Perhaps someone who has been to this region would have a better sense of what I was looking at?

Hopefully you enjoyed this little traveling tale and the accompanying photos. Is there a place like this around where you live or that you have vacationed to? Let me know in the comments!