The lower section of Cascadilla Gorge is truly a "gorges" display of rock, water and trees. Cascadilla Creek drops 400 feet from campus to downtown Ithaca, carving through bedrock - shales, siltstone and sandstone - exposing sedimentary rocks that were deposited 400 million years ago. Look for ripple marks on the rock surface, which once was the muddy floor of an ancient ocean. Here also is a tremendous variety of forest and creek habitats packed into a small area. Click here for a brief account of how the gorges were formed.
You can access a trail through the gorge from the "Treman Triangle" off of Linn Street in downtown Ithaca and at the trailhead behind the Schwartz Performing Arts Center.
Please note: The lower section of the gorge (from Lynn Street to College Avenue) closes during the colder months from mid-November to mid-April. View Cornell's Gorge Safety website for current gorge conditions.
Through funding provided by Cornell University, Cornell Plantations and FEMA the Cascadilla Gorge trail has been restored. Improvements include a realigned and elevated trail, the removal of invasive trees and shrubs, repair of retaining walls, a custom build gate, repair and construction of safety infrastructure such as railings, stair repairs, removal of debris, slope stability, and new storm water systems to carry water under trail sections.
Cascadilla Gorge was originally preserved and donated to Cornell University by Robert H. Treman in 1909 to support public use, education, and enjoyment. The Cascadilla Gorge Trail system, initially constructed during the Civilian Conservation Corp. era, ascends 400 feet in elevation between Lynn Street and Hoy Road, and currently totals 7,800 feet in length. Cornell Plantations manages Cascadilla Gorge, and is committed to protecting the natural area, providing ongoing educational use, and supporting safe public recreation and enjoyment of the gorge.
To view a 1915 report on the development of Fall Creek and Cascadilla Gorges, click here. (3.5M)
Please be safe while visiting this gorge.
People have been injured and killed through the misuse of this natural wonder, but most of these incidents could have been avoided. To encourage safe use of the gorges and emphasize the dangers of swimming in Cascadilla Creek, a gorge safety video and brochure have been developed. To view, click the links below: