Rocky Falls Waterfall Wednesday blog cover
Adventures,  Painting Series,  Waterfall Wednesday

Waterfall Wednesday: Rocky Falls

Photo of Fall Creek Gorge Ithaca NY by Laura Jaen Smith
Rocky Falls (top), photograph, 2018

For today’s featured waterfall – Rocky Falls – we are going back to Fall Creek Gorge (also called Ithaca Gorge) in Ithaca, New York.  Fall Creek Gorge is located right within the Cornell University campus and includes six named waterfalls – Ithaca Falls, Forest Falls, Foaming (or Horseshoe Falls), Rocky Falls, Lower Triphammer Falls, and Upper Triphammer Falls.  Be sure to check out my previous posts on Ithaca Falls anLower Triphammer Falls for more interesting information and history about this gorge! 

The easiest (and perhaps only) way to view Rocky Falls is from the suspension bridge.  There’s a small parking area nearby on Fall Creek Drive or there’s a trail that starts around University Avenue and Central Avenue on the opposite side of the creek.  The suspension bridge is covered with high fencing and has a net underneath due to many suicides and falls that have occurred at this location over the years.  

Photo of suspension bridge Fall Creek Gorge Ithaca NY by Laura Jaen Smith
Suspension bridge, photograph, 2018
Photo of Rocky Falls from suspension bridge Fall Creek Gorge Ithaca NY by Laura Jaen Smith
Rocky Falls, photograph, 2018

The view of this 25 foot cascade is obstructed quite a bit by the fencing, but it’s still interesting to look at.  The building next to the waterfall is the Cornell Hydroelectric Power Plant.  The building was built in 1904 and still is in operation, producing 2% of Cornell’s electricity.  (I put some resources below for those who like to know about all the things like water flow, kilowatts, and pipe sizes.)

Painting Rocky Falls

Rocky Falls by Laura Jaen Smith. Square acrylic landscape painting of waterfall and power plant near Cornell College campus from 50 New York Waterfalls project
Rocky Falls, 6x6 acrylic on wood panel, 2018

My favorite part of painting Rocky Falls was painting the Cornell Hydroelectric Power Plant next to it.  It was such an interesting building and I especially had fun with the light and shadows on the opened windows. 

Fall Creek Gorge collectively ended up being my favorite location to paint.  I like that the gorge named all six of its waterfalls and that each one has its own character (including old buildings and ruins which I find fascinating).  The paintings from this gorge are available to own via the links below.

Did you know there were so many beautiful waterfalls hidden within the Cornell campus?  Have you visited them yet?

Resources & Further Learning

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