Moderate Nature Hikes:
Fall Creek and its associated gorge are an integral part of the Cornell University Campus, and the surrounding communities. The gorge provides scenic views, recreation, trails, plant and wildlife habitat, hydroelectric power and a drinking water source for Cornell University and the hamlet of Forest Home. The creek and gorge also provide research and teaching opportunities, for Cornell University and other institutions.
There are many Plantations natural areas on and off campus that provide both easy and moderate hikes. For $2.95 each, you can purchase "The Field Guide to Natural Areas on or near Campus," and "Cornell's Guide to Off-campus Natural Areas."
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.