Today's hike is on the northern section of the Black Diamond Trail. Primary natural feature of this hike is the upper falls, accessible by way of the railroad bridge just off the parking area, which some consider more dramatic than Taughannock Falls. This is an out-and-back hike; we will hike 90 minutes, stop, and retrace our steps.
The Black Diamond, envisioned as a connector trail between Taughannock Falls and parks to the south, required many years to become a reality, and it is still under development. Under the leadership of the New York Parks (OPRHP), two very substantial bridges finally made the rail bed accessible to hikers. You can now hike from Cass Park to Taughannock Park on a wide, straight, flat trail. Note that, at many points, we are hiking on railroad ballast, which can be a little tough on your feet, but many think the landscapes and vantage points that give you a view of Cayuga Lake and local fields and stands of forest make it worth the effort.
Wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes, bring water and insecticide. This is tick season; long pants, an inspection for the bugs after your hike, and a post hike shower all recommended.
Trail-head starting and endpoint is the Taughannock Falls upper parking area off Jacksonville Road where the road crosses Taughannock Creek. From Ithaca, drive north on Route 96 to the hamlet of Jacksonville. Turn right on Jacksonville Road and go another 1.5 miles. Parking area is on the right. Look for parked cars and hikers gathering.
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