Photographing Taughannock Falls State Park | My Favorite Spots | Tips and Ideas

Taughannock Falls State Park is one of my favorite New York State Parks to photograph. There are a lot of different aspects of this park. It is really easy to overlook something on any given visit. Or you can commit on visit each to an area of the park.

Visitor Center

Don’t overlook making a stop at the visitor center at this state park. The visitor center was completely rebuilt in recent years. It is a really nice facility. And there is plenty of parking there. If you stop at the visitor center you can also access the Rim Trail for the park which passes through the Visitor Center area.

But, the best feature of the visitor center is the view. There is a beautiful viewing area sculpted out of the side of the gorge. There is a series of steps you can walk down to get an even better view and there are benches to rest and relax. This is a great spot to take some photogrpahs. Even in the winter when the steps down might be closed due to inclement weather there is still a really nice view of the gorge below.

This is the spot where you pull out the wide angle lens and create those beautiful scenic vistas like in all your favorite books and magazines. From up here it is possible to capture an image the includes the Taghannock Falls and the gorge that surrounds it.

Taughannock Falls: view from visitor center

Gorge Trail

Taughannock Falls one of the tallest waterfalls, at over 200 feet, in our area. And it awaits you at teh end of a 1 mile stroll. In the area where I live we are fortunate to have some amazing waterfalls. Some of which are right at the base of of the gorge where a park sits. While those waterfalls are great, none of them compare the the magnificence of Taughannaock Falls.

There is not another waterfall I have visited with more bang for your buck. This waterfall is easy to access. Just a 1 mile, almost completely smooth and level, trail to walk down to see the waterfall. Perfect for a casual stroll to take in some sights or for a quick dash to see the highlights and snap some quick photos. This trail is generally accessible year round. So stop by any time of year and check out one of natures wonders.

There are a lot of different ways to approach photographing this majestic waterfall. Sometimes I zoom in and capture the water just as it is starting to fall over the lip of the gorge. Other times I pull back and try to capture an image where the waterfall is in the background and the water falls from the top of the gorge and runs down the stream right towards the front of the image.

Winter at Taughannock: View from the gorge trail

The key is to try and use as slow a shutter speed as you can to try and bring out the motion of the water. The more water that is falling, the faster the shutter speed can be and still capture the effect.

Rim Trail

Don’t sleep on the Rim Trail. The Rim Trail at Taughannock Falls State Park is probably the most overlooked part of the park. If you want to visit the park and want to get away from the crowds this is your best bet.

I love that the Rim Trail at this park is a complete loop of the park. The trail is also one of the less strenuous hikes up and around the gorges in the area. The Rim Trail offers plenty of beautiful scenery that the other parts of the parks do not offer. From the upper parts of the Rim Trail you can see the upper regions of the gorge and see the water flowing along as it progress towards the falls and its eventual terminus in Cayuga Lake.

In addition to its own unique features the Rim Trail will take you to the visitor center for beautiful views of the falls from above. It also connects to the Gorge Trail so you can enjoy a nice hike to the base of the falls if you are so inclined.

So, when you visit Taughannock Falls State Park consider starting on the Rim Trail and using it to connect to all the other scenery and then walk over to the lake for a nice picnic or to just sit and relax.

Taughannock Falls State Park: View from the Rim Trail

Cayuga Lake Access

The park is called Taughannock Falls State Park. That makes it easy to forget about one of the easily overlooked aspects of this park. The main focus of the park is obviously Taughannock Falls, it’s right in the name. But, the question you must ask yourself is where does that water flow?

The water that pours over the ledge at Taughannock Falls eventually makes its way to Cayuga Lake. And all the while this source of water stays within the boundaries of the park. Visitors can follow the water right out tot he lake.

There is an entirely different section of the park with beautiful picnic areas, an beach and enormous trees. And then there is the shoreline it shares with Cayuga Lake.

Taughannock Falls: There is always action out on Cayuga Lake

There are a lot of different ways to approach photographing this area of the park. Study the trees that create large shady areas for relaxation in the summer. Watch the activities taking place out on the lake. Observe the wildlife around you at the park. Create scenic landscapes including interesting compositions.

I like to photograph a variety of different things here. And I like to try and get a few creative shots. I encourage you to go out and take as many photos as you can. Try out a little bit of everything. Find what you enjoy most.

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