Family Hiking in Upstate New York- Gorges and Swimming Holes

While planning our road trip through New York state this past summer, many people recommended visiting the Ithaca area as the top thing to do in upstate NY. They were excited about its beautiful swimming holes and sweeping gorges. So although we didn’t have a lot of extra time to budget for it, we made sure to swing through. I’m glad we did because family hiking in upstate New York is magical. And the Ithaca gorges!

things to do in upstate New York with kids.
Sunlight through the trees illuminating the moss-covered rocks of Robert H. Treman state park.

Literary Inspiration: In college I had read a fantastically silly and mythical book called The Fool on the Hill by Matt Ruff about magical happenings on the Cornell University campus in the town of Ithaca. It was fun to see its setting.

I wholeheartedly agree with this sign at Purity Ice Cream Shop in Ithaca, NY.
I wholeheartedly agree with this sign at Purity Ice Cream Shop in Ithaca, NY.

Purity Ice Cream Stop, Ithaca, New York

Our first stop was to Purity Ice Cream Shop because we love ice cream and are always on the look-out for ice creams to try. The shop was nice and clean and had a large variety of flavors. The ice cream was good, but a bit pricey. If you are obsessed with ice cream as much as I am, check out my Pinterest page devoted to it.

Ithaca’s gorges, natural waterfalls and swimming holes

We headed to Robert H. Treman State Park, only a couple of miles outside of downtown Ithaca because my kids were really dying to swim in a natural waterfall.   We were informed by the ranger at the payment booth on the way in that due to recent rainfall, bacterial levels were too high. Because of this the swimming holes were closed.  For us, this was an auspicious happening. It caused us to go up to the top of the waterfalls to take the rim trail to the gorge trail, a five-mile hike along stunning rock formations and seventeen waterfalls.

Robert H. Tremain swimming holes

Located at the lower parking lot, the swimming area has life guards. The swimming area is at the foot of the Lower Falls.
Things to do with kids in upstate New York. Hiking around Ithaca.
The park was very green, with plants growing right out of the rock formations of Robert Treman State Park, NY.

Robert. H Tremain’s hiking trails

The hiking trail was easily followed and very well maintained, but plunge 500 feet over the 2.2 miles that the Enfield Creek flows through the Enfield Glen. So, the upper hikes can be difficult for people not in good shape or with disabilities.  The easiest hike is the lower trail. Check out all the hikes. You definitely need to bring your own water and snacks. Because we took the long trail from the top and maybe due to the swimming being closed, there were not too many crowds, which I very much appreciated.

family hiking in upstate New York
When you see a cairn upon entering a hiking trail, you know it is going to be a great day!

Later in this trip we went to Niagara Falls, which although is more impressive due to the sheer volume of the water falling over them, did not overshadow the beauty of these falls with the gorgeous granite cliff faces. These reminded me of the rock formations that I saw while hiking in southern Iceland. We loved the seemingly endless continuation of the waterfalls.  There are also placid areas where one can wade through the waters and explore the rocks up close.

family hiking in upstate New York
Wonderful granite cliff ledges along Enfield Gorge in Ithaca, NY.

[bctt tweet=”Gorgeous family hiking with swimming holes in upstate New York” username=”Italiane_jamie”]

 We ended up having such a lovely day, a definite highlight of our trip and will return to this area for more than one day. I especially would like to include Asuable Chasmswhere one can float down a chasm and Watkins Glen State Park which I have heard is even a larger chasm with fewer people. This world is so amazing and there are so many adventures to look forward to. Be sure to read about the rest of our road trip through New York headed to Niagara Falls or check out my Ultimate US Road Trip GuideUltimate US Road Trip Guide.
Where in the United States is your favorite hike? Let me know in the comments.
Natural waterfalls, Ithaca gorges and NY swimming hole. This NY hike with kids was a highlight of our trip to upstate New York state.
If you found this helpful, please save it for later on Pinterest.

If you liked it, please share it. Thank you!

2 thoughts on “Family Hiking in Upstate New York- Gorges and Swimming Holes”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.