The crown jewel of Tompkins County, this plunging ribbon plummets from a notch at the top of a dramatic 400-foot cliff. The most popular and best known of Tompkins County’s impressive collection of waterfalls, Taughannock Falls deserves every one of the superlatives heaped upon it by
visitors and area residents. A long, silky, Rapunzel-like single drop from a deep notch at the top of a gorge, this ribbon of sparkling white towers 33 feet higher than Niagara, and benefits visually from the rugged yet delicate framework that surrounds it.
At the top, the falls originates from a hanging valley, a phenomenon created by different rates of erosion in a contained area. Like so much of central and western New York’s
geology, this area contains hard sedimentary bedrock of sandstone and limestone, covered with much softer layers of shale that wear away under the constant flow of creeks, brooks, and rivers.
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