Name of Waterfall

Rocky Falls


Take Highway 34 to the north end of downtown Ithaca and exit the freeway onto East Shore Drive. Turn south (toward downtown) on East Shore Drive and continue for just over 1.1 miles to Stewart Avenue, then turn left onto Stewart and continue another quarter mile to the bridge spanning the Fall Creek gorge, then immediately after the bridge turn right onto Fall Creek Drive and continue for another quarter mile to a small parking lot next to the suspension bridge. The falls can be seen from the bridge.Ithaca, New York is one of the few cities in the United States that harbors a substantial number of significant waterfalls right within its urban core. Bisecting various parts of the center of town are three major watercourses, all of which produce several waterfalls. The northernmost of the three, Fall Creek, flows through a huge, deep gorge which cuts through the middle of the Cornell University campus and drops over five large waterfalls over a run of about two-thirds of a mile.
Rocky Falls is the second of the five major waterfalls in Fall Creek Gorge. The falls drop 44 feet adjacent to a hydroelectric powerhouse operated by Cornell University, the intake of which is located at Beebe Lake, immediately upstream of Triphammer Falls a short distance further upstream. Similar to Foaming Falls just downstream, Rocky Falls descends over a steeply sloping section of bedrock, but in this case the falls get steeper as it progresses whereas Foaming Falls works in the inverse. Rocky Falls averages about 100 feet in width but from the most easily accessible viewpoint on the suspension bridge across Fall Creek Gorge it appears considerably narrower.
Fall Creek is among the largest tributary streams that feed into Cayuga Lake, draining from a basin which covers approximately 130 square miles in area. Its substantial drainage size ensures the fall will flow all year long, but there will be a substantial fluctuation in volume as the seasons progress. Additionally, the diversion at Beebe Dam seems to relieve the creek of at least half of its natural volume, and possibly more. By the end of summer the streamflow may just be a fraction of its wet-season equivalent, but there should be more than enough water present at any time of year to allow the falls to remain boastful in stature.

Other Names

['Sibley Falls']



IWC Rating (International Waterfall Classification)


Total Height (ft)


Tallest Drop


Number of Drops


Average Width


Maximum Width


Average High Volume (Cubic ft per second)

160 cfs (7 months)

Average Low Volume (Cubic ft per second)

45 cfs (5 months)


50 degrees

Run (ft)


Watershed or Feeder Stream

St. Lawrence River Fall Creek