GPS/Locations: Waterfall: (N 42.54695 / W 76.54334)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lansing Parks and Recreation
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.
Viewing the Falls from the park lawn
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
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.
View Ludlowville Falls in a larger map
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.
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.
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.
Silky water effect
Writing / Photography