The Ithaca area is filled with many incredible waterfalls, and one of my favorite hidden gems in the area is Ludlowville Falls.
Ludlowville Falls is an easy-to-reach waterfall located on the eastern shores of Cayuga Lake in Lansing, New York. This waterfall, which is also called Salmon Creek Falls in some sources, is located within Ludlowville Park.
This small park contains a playground, a basketball court, and a pavilion, and you’ll often find kids playing in the park here when the weather is nice (which is why I don’t have a photo of the playground itself in this article).
However, hidden from view less than 100 yards from the parking area is the beautiful Ludlowville Falls.
Ludlowville Falls is a 35-40 foot waterfall located along Salmon Creek, a popular spot for fishing that flows into Cayuga Lake a few miles downstream of the waterfall. It is said that this waterfall was a filming location for several movies during the silent movie era.
This is one of the most unique looking waterfalls in the region, thanks to the large rock overhang along half the face of the falls. This overhang is a large limestone rock that was left after the softer rock around it was worn away by the waterfall. It’s rare to see such a stark and wide overhang for a waterfall.
If you happen to visit during a time of high water, the water can flow over the entire 175-foot width of the falls. During times of lower water, such as during my two visits, the water is limited to a single powerful stream in the middle of the rock face.
Fortunately, this is one of the last waterfalls in the area to completely dry up, so even if spots like Buttermilk Falls State Park are fairly dry, this waterfall usually has at least a bit of flow plunging into the pool at its base.
The parking area for Ludlowville Falls is located along Mill Street, a short distance off of Route 34B and about 15 minutes from downtown Ithaca. It can be found at the following coordinates: 42.553672, -76.537271.
The parking area isn’t very large and only has enough room for about 5-6 vehicles, so it might get a bit crowded on nice weekends or during peak fishing times. Make sure to avoid parking outside of the park’s lot.
As for the waterfall, there are two viewing areas for the falls.
The first is located above the waterfall and less than 100 yards from the parking area. While there is no official path here, it’s as simple as walking across the flat grassy field to the fence. Anyone that can handle walking that distance across grass should have no issues getting to this spot.
From the upper viewing area, you can really see the majesty of Ludlowville Falls and how beautiful the pool below it is.
This is a great spot to enjoy looking at the waterfall and to take photos. Spend a minute noting the giant boulders that are in and around the base of the falls. These showcase the dynamic changes that can happen to the face of the waterfall in an instant.
It’s also possible to head to the base of the falls via a trail that can be found on the right end of the fence (while facing towards the waterfall). This trail is unmarked but is easy to follow.
While the trail overall is fairly easy, there is one large rock you have to climb over, so you need to have decent mobility to get to the base of this waterfall. The trail is also a bit narrow in spots and can get slick when it’s muddy.
From the base of the falls, there are a variety of spots that you can walk around to get different views of the falls. Of course, getting to these spots is dependent both on the water level and your comfort with walking around the rocks.
According to comments I’ve seen online, the cave underneath the waterfall is a popular spot to visit. However, if you opt to try and do this, use extreme caution. Not only is it difficult to get behind the waterfall, but it also could be dangerous if rocks decided to dislodge from above.
Of course, as with most waterfalls, be careful of any rock near the falls. These can be quite slick, especially if they are wet.
Overall, Ludlowville Falls is definitely a hidden gem among Finger Lakes waterfalls. While it is a beautiful and unique waterfall that is among the last in the area to run dry, it’s nowhere near as crowded as spots like Ithaca Falls and Taughannock Falls.
However, just like those waterfalls, this is a spot that is accessible to almost anyone and offers a few possibilities for exploration for those looking for a closer look at this great waterfall.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]