Ithaca Falls Natural Area: a Perfect Combination of Beauty and Danger

Students in Ithaca

Ithaca Falls natural area is a gorgeous attraction for most tourists around the globe. It is situated in New York, the USA.

It attracts with its unique beauty. Moreover, this place is open to visitors all year round, so you can plan your rest whenever you want or need it. There are also other falls nearby, so it is a great chance to enjoy the beauty of nature by moving from one place to another. Nevertheless, you should get prepared for your travel to avoid problems and health issues connected with its peculiarities.  

1. Buttermilk Falls State Park

The name itself gives an idea about the park. This park has many

Ithaca Falls Natural Area: Invisible Danger You Should Know to Avoid

Ithaca Falls natural area is a great place for rest and sightseeing, but only if you behave properly. There are three basic rules to follow.

  1. First off, it consists of cascades that have irregular shapes, so you should be careful when walking there. It is better not to climb rocks that seem to be normal and dry because you risk falling down and hurting yourself.
  2. According to its historical background, there was a Gun factory that got rid of its waste in that area, especially in the river. As a result, the water, soil, and rocks are rich in lead, which can negatively affect your health if you decide to sunbathe on comfy rocks or swim under the falling water. There is even a warning sign, so you should better think twice before joining risky entertainment.
  3. You should walk there using a trail that is covered with gravel for your safety.

In 2018, the governmental organizations that care for natural resorts and areas tried to clean the area from contaminations, but their efforts gave zero results according to laboratory tests.

Note! If the organism absorbs too much lead, it can suffer from intoxication, increased blood pressure, and kidney failure. Pregnant women should be careful because lead intoxication can cause a miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, and babies can be underweight. So, it is better to avoid bathing in the Ithaca waters and resting on its grounds and rocks. 

Ithaca Hiking Waterfalls: Its Size and Other Peculiarities

Size. Ithaca hiking waterfalls are rather high. Ithaca Falls is 32 meters high and 53 meters wide. You can see a small dam on its top because previously it was used as a hydroelectric power station. Its height is above 3 meters. 

Water flow. The flow is usually quick with swift currents, so it is dangerous to swim there, especially for inexperienced tourists. That is why such an activity is prohibited there. 

Parking. If you want to get closer to falls, it is necessary to pick a time when the flow is moderate. There are three parking lots, but they are usually crowdy. If you have too many things, it is better to choose the parking area near the local school. If you have disabled friends or relatives, you should better use a sidewalk to avoid rolling difficulties. 

Cost. You do not pay anything for having a walk on a gravel trail in this gorgeous place. 

Animals. You are allowed to take a leashed pet but do not take them hiking or close to swift currents for their safety. Remember, even friendly pets can bite if they are injured or scared.

How to see the waterfalls. It is recommended to use trails for walks and benches for rest. The local authority does not recommend lying on rocks, ground, grass, and other “unprepared” territories because of the high level of lead in the soil and water.

What Does Ithaca Falls Look Like?

When we speak about New York’s natural attractions, we always imagine the luxurious Ithaca Falls. It is massive, and the sound of falling waters can be heard in the neighboring territories, especially in spring. Students usually spend much of their free time there in autumn because streams slow down, and they can take photos and read books inspired by the surrounding beauty. 

Most tourists want to visit it when the flow is swift and becomes frothy when hitting sheer cliffs. Even though there is a big attractive pool in its area, it is a bad idea to swim there. 

First, the pool is situated not far from the Fall Greek Gorge, which is famous for unpredictable and dangerous currents that have already taken the lives of several people. 

Second, its streams are foamy, which reduces the visibility of swimmers and complicates “the rescue plans” in case of danger.

Finally, it is contaminated with lead. 

The best variant is to visit Ithaca Falls in different seasons to delight in its magnificent views. 

In spring, it fulfills you with power and inspiration. In winter, you can observe huge pieces of hanging ice with bold rocks between them. In autumn, the area mesmerizes with a variety of warm colors. In summer, you can enjoy the rocky face of the territory because the waters become low and calm. 

So, you can practice taking photos all year round and even have cool wedding photos with breathtaking scenery in the background, but you should be conscious and take care of yourself and your dearests. The Natural Area is beautiful but extreme and dangerous at the same time. So, read the warning signs and behave appropriately.

Is It Hard to Go for a Walk There?

Despite the rocky territory, walking near the falls is pretty easy, thanks to the created walking trails. The distance from the parking lot to the destination is only 400 meters, so you will not get tired and will have more time for rest and delight. 

How to get there?

  • You should look for a small park while walking along the trail. 
  • There you will also find a creek nearby.
  • You should keep walking until finding a wooden area with a creek bed that you can explore as well.
  • After, you can keep walking on the right side to see the gorgeous fall, but you should not use it when the water is too fast or in winter to avoid slippery rocks and sections. In this case, you should decide whether to risk or not. 
  • Another option is to reach downstream at the Lake St bridge and enjoy the views of the fall from out there. 

More Things to Know Before Visiting Ithaca Falls

Experienced tourists created a list of extra tips for those who want to have the best photo session and walk around being aware of possible dangers that most websites do not mention. The list includes five tips to follow.

  • Except for Ithaca Falls, you can enjoy the view of four other falls called Fall Creek Gorge. You can see them while driving to or away from the place, so your trip might become more exciting. 
  • The bridges that you may find in the area have wire fences because the local government wants to prevent attempts of suicide. Even though such prevention complicates the job of movie-makers and photographers, there are other territories available for these purposes, or you can find a small hole to take a photo.
  • Speaking about the same Stewart Avenue Bridge, you will not see Ithaca waterfalls from it, but it opens a view of its dam and valley. 
  • Professional photographers recommend taking zoomed photos to see the marvelous and almost magical nature of the fall.
  • Beware of mists that reduce visibility, making your adventure a bit dangerous and reducing the quality of the taken photos. 

Are There Any Interesting Facts about the Fall?

Many years ago, this place was famous as a hunting area among the Indian settlements. The American Revolutionary War changed everything, and the place was used as an industrial area to pay soldiers for their work. It became the manufacturing heart of New York and produced the required parts for car maintenance, such as different details, transmission hardware, and equipment.

From the beginning of the XIX century, Ithaca was slowly turning into an educational hub. Many places and parks were named after the founder of the first Ithaca College and its graduates. 

Before Hollywood, cinematography created silent movies in Ithaca thanks to the accessibility and its dramatic landscape. One could see gorgeous gorges, rocks, cliffs, and waterfalls on the screens, which made each film unique. 

 In 1880, the city had another successful manufacturing company that produced guns and rifles, mainly for sports hunting. Its location was nearby the waterfalls, so they constructed the dam to generate electricity first with mechanical mills and later with modern turbines. The company managed to succeed in the industry and even signed a contract to produce weapons for the soldiers during WWI and WWII. 

Gun possession was typical at that time, so many guns, shotguns, and rifles could be found almost in every house. Later, there was no need to use those guns, so the industry began to face a decline in gun production. The company decided to move to Ohio, and the territory became the property of Cornel University. Its students began to investigate the soil and water and found a dangerous level of lead. 

Today, the state plans to clean the area from lead and remove the potentially dangerous buildings, but the final date is unknown because such a procedure is rather expensive. 

About Jessica Dong

Jessica Dong is a 21-year-old student from Beijing. She studies business development in the USA and dreams of running her own company. Jessica is a socially active student with interest in traveling, social media and entertainment.