Ludlowville Falls

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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: Southeast end of Cayuga Lake, in the village of Ludlowville; Town of Lansing, Tompkins County, New York.

Maps: Google MapBing MapMulti-map (topo); Interactive.

GPS/Locations: Waterfall: (N 42.54695 / W 76.54334)
Park Gazebo: (N 42.55396 / W 76.53743)
Parking area: (N 42.55370 / W 76.53724)

Directions: Located northeast of Ithaca. Take 34B to the southeast end of Cayuga Lake and turn down Ludlowvile Rd. Ludlowville Town Park will be on your left, just past Salmon Creek Rd.

Parking: Park in the small lot in front of the park. There is enough room for about 5 cars. If that lot is full, park alongside the road in front of the park.

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations

Latest Lansing, New York, weather conditions and forecast

Number of falls: 1.

Size/Types: A wide creek bed and thick caprock lead to a combination plunge and bouncing cascade. Ludlowville Falls is 35 ft high with a massive cave under its caprock. Scattered about the creek are large boulders.

Best time to visit: Year-round. Flow can get very low during dry summers.

Flow: Varies. Although this is a large tributary to Cayuga Lake, it can be dry in summer.

Waterway: Salmon Creek, which begins about 22 miles north in the hamlet of Scipio near Owasco Lake. It empties into Cayuga Lake about 1.2 miles southwest of here.

Time: A few minutes to see this falls from the park. A few more minutes to climb down into the creek bed.

Seasons/Hours: Open year-round from dawn until dusk.

Admission: Free.

Handicap accessibility: Not really, there are no paved walkways.

Pets: Allowed on a leash. For the safety of your pet and other hikers, do not bring your pet on any trails near or in the gorge. Use some common sense.

Swimming: People often enjoy the pool below the falls, but the boulders lying in the creek bed are a testament to the stability of the caprock above. Use caution.

Accommodations: Memorial; benches; gazebo; playground; picnic area.

Contact Information

Description

There are two very interesting characteristics about this falls. The limestone caprock is over 4 feet thick, and is not very easily eroded. The softer rock underneath has dissolved and broken away forming a massive grotto underneath the southern end of the falls. On this half the rushing waters of Salmon Creek lunge directly over the cave. When water levels are high, the cave is barely detectable because a huge curtain of foaming water masks it. On the other side, the caprock has caught up the erosion of the softer rock underneath where a more classical cascade has formed. The water here is powerful and has sculpted the surrounding rock into unique shapes. The deep pool below the falls and into the cave is tinted an aquamarine, a trait common in waterways that cut through limestone bedrock. The creek bed below the falls is littered with numerous large boulders, those that broke away from the massive caprock layer and are too large to be washed downstream.

The falls are accessible through a small town park, which is not only a gem for the local community, but an excellent reason for passers-by to make a stop in Ludlowville. Perfect for picnics or a break from a long drive, this beautifully maintained park is the perfect vantage point to see this interesting waterfall.

The land here was recently private property, but a generous donation has allowed us all to enjoy these beautiful falls.

Ludlowville Falls

Ludloville Falls Videos

None yet.

Hiking / Walking Trails

Viewing the Falls from the park lawn

Difficulty: Easy.

Markings: None.

Distance: Less than 100 ft.

Description: From the parking area, head past the gazebo and towards the chain-link fence and the roar of the falls. You can view the falls from the fence.

Getting to the base of the falls

Difficulty: Moderate.

Markings: None.

Distance: A scramble down into the gorge. Less than 50 ft.

Description: From the fence near the falls, head downstream (right) to the small wooded area. There will be a small trail heading into the wooded area and then down into the creek bed below the falls.

Maps: Interactive map.

Ludlowville Falls Interactive Map

Drag the map or click the arrows to move around and use the +/- to zoom in or out. Click on the icons for more information. This map is not accurate. Caution and common sense should be used when hiking.

View Ludlowville Falls in a larger map

History

Ludlowville-1853-map1Major Thomas Ludlow and Henry Ludlow arrived here in 1791 and built the the first log tavern the following year. In 1795 Thomas constructed a gristmill.

A map from 1853 shows a mill race stemming from Ludlowville Falls and several establishments along its path. A photo from 1907 (below) shows what appears to be a dam above the falls.

Ludlowville 1907

Interesting Stuff

Little Ludlowville Falls

Downstream from here, a tributary creates a 12 high cascade. Drive east down Mill St. to the DEC fishing access site. Park here and head along the river bank upstream a short distance. Look across the creek for a glimpse of this waterfall. Check the interactive map for details.

Erosion

Opposite the viewing area, a water jet bounces off a shelf in the rock halfway down the falls and lands on a boulder in the creek bed. It has gouged out a channel in that boulder.

Photography Tips

Mist

  • Be mindful of mist when shooting from the viewing platform on the eastern side. Bring a soft but absorbent lens cleaning cloth and wipe your lens frequently.

Silky water effect

  • To get that smooth cotton-candy look to the falls, you need to use a Neutral Density (ND) filter on your lens. The ND filter will block some of the light from entering the lens without altering the color, and thus allow your shutter to stay open longer. This blurs the water and creates a soft white gloss to the foamy areas of the falls. You can pick up a Neutral Density (ND) filter relatively cheap on Amazon.
  • Cut down on reflections and help reduce the light entering the lens by utilizing a Circular Polarizer filter. Most of the waterfall scenes shown on this website are captured with this type of filter. It reduces glare and helps us obtain more even exposures.You can pick up a Circular Polarizer filter relatively cheap on Amazon.
  • When shooting slow shutter speeds a sturdy Tripod is a must. Don’t settle for a cheap tripod that wobbles in the wind or can be vibrated by water currents. Amazon has a nice selection of quality Tripods.

More tips

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