Taughannock Falls State Park
Guide

Introduction

Taughannock Falls State Park is an avid outdoor lover's fantasy, showcasing 750 acres of Cayuga Lake shoreline, beautiful waterfalls, and amazing gorges. Located in Ulysses, New York, this state park is a must for your next RV excursion, especially if you have a smaller RV. You'll have vast opportunities for outdoor adventures in a unique water landscape. From hiking and swimming to fishing and wildflower viewing, Taughannock Falls State Park offers a wide variety of outdoor fun. You will enjoy soaking in the lake air while being surrounded by amazing wildflowers, including white oak and maple striped trees. History buffs will enjoy learning about the Native Americans that fought during battles at Taughannock Falls.

Over 30 feet higher than Niagra Falls, the waterfall views of Taughannock Falls State Park are phenomenal, with a drop of 215 feet. Pictures really don't capture its breathtaking beauty. The short Gorge Trail to the bottom of the falls is an easy hike that the whole family can do and is also ADA-accessible. There are two additional waterfalls in the park and an abundance of wildlife such as deer.

Once you have parked your rig at Taughannock Falls State Park, you can wander out on to many nature trails around the park. For water lovers, there is the mile and a half North Rim Trail that provides beautiful views of Upper Falls. If you prefer a shorter more peaceful walk, consider the Gorge Trail that is less than a mile long and takes you to a viewing area at the base of the falls. Taughannock Falls is a spectacular RV destination no matter what time of year you visit.

There are quite a few state parks you can visit within a 20-mile radius of Taughannock Falls State Park. If you are bringing your boat then spend a day at Allan H. Treman State Marine Park at the southern end of Cayuga Lake. There are many more waterfalls to visit in the area and you can find some of the most beautiful ones at Buttermilk Falls State Park and Robert H. Treman State Park. Both parks have lovely camping facilities for tents and RVs as well as cabins. These are great places to swim and hike along the rocky gorges.

RV Rentals in Taughannock Falls State Park

Transportation

Driving

Taughannock Falls State Park is easily accessible by car or RV since it is located in Ulysses, NY. The park is roughly four miles east of Trumansburg on NY-89 in New York's Finger Lakes region and about 10 miles northwest of Ithaca. The nearest gas station is just three miles away in Trumansburg. Ithaca is a vibrant college town with many restaurants and shops.

Local roads will take you wherever you want to go to in the park, from the Park Office and boat launch to the campground and trails. Roads near and within the park are paved, so you shouldn't have any trouble navigating in your rig. Just keep in mind that this is a heavily wooded area so watch out for falling branches and leaves, especially during the fall. The viewpoint at the top of the waterfall offers an alternate view of the gorge, so remember to take a drive up to the viewpoint whether you do the hike or not. Should you want to get out on your bike and explore, the roads are paved and provide excellent access to the marina, fishing pier, Park Office, and shelters.

Parking

There are numerous options for parking your rig and trailers, with 10 lots throughout the park. You'll be able to find spots at the Park Office, fishing pier, marina, near the falls and trailheads. Of course, should you be staying overnight, you can park at the campground.

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Taughannock Falls State Park

Campsites in Taughannock Falls State Park

Reservations camping

Taughannock Falls State Park Campground

Taughannock Falls State Park offers 68 pet-friendly campsites available for RVs and tents from April through October. The campsites are all located in Camping Area A. Each site has a gravel pad, fire pit, picnic table and is in close proximity to recreational areas. Here you can fall asleep at night to the sound of the waterfall.

Most of the sites in this campground are allocated to tent camping. On the western side of the campground are 18 back-in sites with 30-amp electric hookups. These sites can accommodate trailers up to 30 feet long. They are all also fully shaded, with communal water spigots and close a comfort station with showers.

On the eastern side of the campground are 14 back-in sites without hookups. Ten sites cater for RVs and trailers up to 25 feet long and four of them can accommodate trailers up to 30 feet long. If you have a larger trailer you could park elsewhere and pitch a tent or rent a cabin. Water is available throughout this area, and the comfort station and showers are centrally located. At the entrance to the park, you'll find a dump station with recycling and garbage facilities.

Generator use is permitted during certain hours of the day, and quiet hours must be observed at night. Reservations can be made from one day up to nine months in advance.

Cabins

If your rig is too large to camp at the campground you could stay in one of the 16 rustic cabins at this park. The cabins sleep a maximum of four people in one room and offer a fridge and electric outlets. Each cabin has its own fire pit and a picnic table where you can unwind after a day of exploring the trails or the lake. Two of the cabins are also ADA-accessible. While the cabins aren't directly on the lake they do overlook it, and you can enjoy a beautiful view of it from the front porch. The comfort station and shower is a short walk from your cabin. Cabins are open from the beginning of May until mid-October and must be reserved in advance.

First-come first-served

First-Come, First Served

After all campsites have been reserved or rented, accessible spots will be released for first-come, first-served.

Seasonal activities in Taughannock Falls State Park

Off-Season

Checking Out the Visitor Center

If you want to learn more about the park's history, park your RV or car at the Visitor Center and check out the Taughannock Falls from the top. There are local maps, free one-hour parking, and bike racks. Don't forget to pick up your souvenirs there as well. Plus, when the Park Officer stops by, you can ask them any park-related questions you may have. If you'd like to understand the history of the park and the native tribes who have lived on the land in eras gone by, the Visitor Center is a must-see.

Fishing

Don't forget to pack your best fishing rod and reel in your camping trailer because Taughannock Falls State Park is an excellent location to catch rainbow trout. With grassy areas along the shoreline and harboring smaller fish, there are lots of spots to cast your line and enjoy some peaceful fishing. Popular catches include Atlantic salmon, trout, carp, catfish, and bluegill. Don't worry if you are a non-resident and do not have a license, since you may purchase either a seven-day or one-day pass to fulfill your fishing excursion moment.

Birding

Taughannock Falls State Park is home to multiple species of birds, so you will want to definitely pack your binoculars in your RV. Some of the many birds you will encounter include Great Horned Owl, Raven, Turkey Vulture, and Common Loon. In season you're bound to see a variety of butterflies in action too. Hotspots for bird watching include Upper Falls and Lower Falls, which are easily accessible along the South Rim Trail.

In-Season

Swimming

If you are a water person, you will absolutely enjoy the chance to venture into the waters of Cayuga Lake, conveniently located in Taughannock Falls State Park. The stretch of sandy shores not only allows you a place to soak up some rays, but it also provides you a chance to swim out to a floating dock and embrace spectacular views offered by the rest of the lake. You'll want to make sure you bring your swimsuit in your camper since you may not find such a scenic swimming spot in the entire state.

Biking

Taughannock Falls State Park is an amazing place to bring your bike and cruise along the paved roads or out on a trail. After you park your RV you can cycle down to the falls along the South Run Trail and soak up the wonderful views under the misty spray of the waterfall. Starting near Taughannock Falls you can ride all the way to the town of Ithaca while enjoying lovely views of Cayuga Lake and majestic forests.

If you're an avid cyclist, a ride along the eight-mile Black Diamond Trail is highly recommended. The Two Gorges route between Taughannock Falls State Park and Robert H. Treman State Park is a 28-mile route that long-distance cyclists will also enjoy. This area is a beautiful part of the country to explore by bike.

Hiking

You will want to pack a great pair of hiking boots in your motorhome since there are six hiking trails to choose from at Taughannock Falls State Park that range in difficulty. Should you be looking for an easy hike or casual stroll, head over to Cabin Trail. This is a very short trail that takes you along the shoreline, providing amazing views.

For a longer hike, take the two-mile Multi-Use Trail, which will loop you around the dense forest. This trail is used year-round for running, hiking, and cross-country skiing. The North and South Rim Trails are moderately difficult with steep sections at the bottom. Prepare yourself from some step-climbing here. Make sure to call the park for updated conditions and status of the trails before you plan your route.

Find the perfect campsite.