Steep Hollow Creek flows through one of several glens formed by creeks cutting down the eastern slope of the Cayuga Inlet Valley. Aptly named, this creek has cut through very deep gravel deposits to form a steep-sided glen. The creek now flows over exposed bedrock in a series of small waterfalls.
This shady wooded hollow is one of Ithaca’s most pristine ravines. The site is very diverse and includes a dry knoll, upland forest on a steep slope, floodplain forest, and a creek bed.
On the dry knoll at the top of the slope, black oak (Quercus velutina), red oak (Q. rubra), chestnut oak (Quercus prinus), white oak (Q. alba), shagbark hickory (Carya ovata), pignut hickory (C. glabra), red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), and white pine (Pinus strobus) are found. In the understory are flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium and V. pallidum), wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia), and many mosses.
On the rich, gravelly lower slope, characteristic species are basswood (Tilia americana), red maple (Acer rubrum), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), white ash (Fraxinus americana), and black cherry (Prunus serotina). At the base of the slope, the creek meanders across a floodplain through gravelly material. Characteristic floodplain species include sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), cottonwood (Populus deltoides), black walnut (Juglans nigra) and butternut (Juglans cinerea). Spring wildflowers are abundant.