Skip to main content

5 Waterfalls to Visit in Winter

Waterfalls in Winter

Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy Ithaca’s plethora of beautiful waterfalls and gorges. If you’ve never seen a frozen waterfall, you’re in for a treat! 


two people at info sign viewing Ithaca falls
viewing Ithaca Falls from Lake Street

Many Ithaca locals consider the winter to be one of the most interesting times to view and photograph the waterfalls. Head down to any of these locations during the winter months if you’re looking for a great photo spot, a leisurely walk or just an excuse to enjoy the great outdoors!

One reminder: Exercise caution when visiting the various falls during the winter, particularly on stones that may be iced over or slippery. You may find that some of the trails at the state parks are closed during your visit.

1. Taughannock Falls State Park

Your first stop should be the Taughannock Falls Overlook to see the tallest waterfall in the region and marvel at the incredible ice structures. Located just ten miles outside of Ithaca in the charming town of Trumansburg, Taughannock Falls is one of the most popular attractions in the Finger Lakes year-round. You can park right next to the overlook, and the viewing platform is just a few steps from the parking lot. The overlook is open year round; however, the stone steps to the lower viewing platforms are closed during the winter due to hazardous conditions.

Want to experience Taughannock Falls up close and personal? Drive down to the main parking lot on Route 89 and walk the Gorge Trail, which is a mile-and-a-half round-trip trail that is wide, flat and perfect for a winter walk. The Gorge Trail remains open throughout the winter months

2. Buttermilk Falls State Park

The perfect winter waterfall excursion includes visiting both Robert H. Treman State Park and Buttermilk Falls State Park — and totally doable since they’re only a few minutes down the road from each other! Both parks are located on the southern end of Ithaca off Route 13.

At Buttermilk Falls State Park, the Lower Falls is easily accessible from the parking lot. The wide, cascading falls look picturesque when frozen, especially when the trees are covered in snow as well. Benches and picnic tables at the base of the falls provide a place to rest and take in all that nature has to offer. This area of the park is open throughout the winter.

3. Ludlowville Falls

Ludlowville Falls in winter

Over on the east side of Cayuga Lake in the Town of Lansing, Ludlowville Falls on Salmon Creek is a hidden gem in both the winter and summer. At Ludlowville Park, you can walk towards the gorgeous falls which, in the winter, are covered by layers and layers of icicles.

The falls are accessed through a small town park. Look for a massive grotto underneath the southern end of the falls, formed by the erosion of the softer rock under the caprock

4. Lower Falls at Robert H. Treman State Park

This popular swimming spot in the summer comes alive during the winter. Bring your camera and take in stunning views of this frozen waterfall just a short stroll along a level path from the parking lot — just don’t go in the water!

The Lower Falls area is open year round.


5. Lick Brook Falls

For a pleasant winter walk in the woods and spectacular views of a waterfall off the beaten path, head to Lick Brook Falls in the 128-acre Sweedler Nature Preserve, part of the Finger Lakes Land Trust. There are actually three waterfalls in this location and several cascades. A four-mile loop trail is open year-round.

lower taughannock falls in winter

Request a Brochure
2020 Visit Ithaca Travel Guide
Download our brochure or request a hard copy by mail.
Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau
A division of the Tompkins Chamber
904 East Shore Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: (607) 272-1313 | Toll Free: (800)-28-ITHACA
The official web site of Ithaca, New York and Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau in the Finger Lakes. Complete guide to Ithaca, NY hotels, attractions, dining, shopping and recreation with maps and driving directions.
I Love NY is a registered trademark and service mark of the New York State Department of Economic Development; used with permission.