Late October was the perfect time for Leala and Ray's Taughannock Falls State Park Engagement Photos in Trumansburg, NY. Leala and Ray have been together almost five years and have lived all over the country together (Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Arizona) with their cat, Butternut Squash 🥺. I'm so excited that they'll be getting married in New York next year, and that even though they don't live in the area anymore, we were still able to make their cloudy, fall engagement session happen 😄.
Tips for planning your Taughannock Falls State Park Session (for couples and Ithaca Photographers)
- The park is big, but some of the best spots are really popular (especially with Ithaca photographers), so to avoid the crowds try to plan your session during the week, or early in the day when there will be less people around.
- Don't skip North Point. I'll be honest, I didn't even know North Point existed before this session, but Leala and Ray suggested meeting there, and I'm SO glad we did. At Taughannock Falls State Park you can park on the same side of the road as the park, or there is more parking across the street next to the lake. If you park across the street near the lake there are pavilions, a wooden bridge, stone benches, and you can get some beautiful shots by the water. It's definitely worth stopping there before heading across the street to the falls.
- The first set of falls you come across as you enter the park is the lower falls. They're very pretty but a lot of people walk right up to them and it can get pretty crowded. Your best bet to get some beautiful shots (with fewer people) is to look at the tree line to your right as you're walking up to the falls. There's a little opening and path and if you go through it you can get a much better view. During our session, there was a LOT of fisherman in the water, and that will happen depending on the time of year, but it's nothing a little Photoshop can't fix 😉.
- Go to the overlook! I've been to Taughannock Falls a few times, but I never even knew the Falls Overlook existed until this year. It should be easy to find on your GPS and there is a good amount of parking, but it can be difficult to find a time when it isn't crowded (all the more reason to visit during the week and early in the day.) You may have to be patient, but the wait is totally worth it (check out the last photo in this post.)
Other Finger Lakes Falls to check out:
Honestly, I'm just now realizing how many waterfalls in the Finger Lakes I never even knew about. So here's a list of some other falls and hiking locations that you might want to check out too:
Buttermilk Falls State Park
106 E Buttermilk Falls Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850
This one is definitely more of a workout than Taughannock Falls State Park 😅. If you've been to Taughannock Falls, you know that the main trail, for the most part, is pretty flat. Buttermilk Falls, once you get past the main falls at the bottom, is a lot of stairs and uphill climbing (make sure you wear sturdy, supportive shoes!). The paths are also narrow, which can make photos tough on busy days (crowded), but the views are stunning. You'll definitely want to check their website before you go to make sure the trails are open, as they're not open year-round. Also, keep in mind that there is both an upper and lower park. The upper park has various hiking trails, picnic areas, playing fields, and a small lake, while the lower park has camping, a swimming area next to the falls, and playing fields. If you want to see more of Buttermilk Falls, check out this adorable surprise proposal I shot there 😊.
Fillmore Glen State Park
1686 St. Rte. 38, Moravia, NY 13118
I've never been to Fillmore Glen State Park, but I think it's definitely next on my list. It has both wood and stone bridges, 5 waterfalls, and lush greenery (perfect for Finger Lakes wedding photographers looking for engagement session locations 😉.) The park is open year-round from dawn till dusk (as always, definitely check their website before your visit to make sure the trails are open) and there is swimming during the summer months.
Robert H. Treman State Park
105 Enfield Falls Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850
If you're looking for waterfalls, Robert H. Treman State Park might just have the most (12!). It might also have one of the best views with the 115-foot Lucifer Falls. I photographed a wedding here in 2022 and have been back for several engagement sessions since. The park has camping, nine miles of hiking trails, and designated swimming areas.
Stony Brook State Park
10820 Route 36 South, Dansville, NY 14437
Stony Brook State Park is another beautiful state park featuring a rugged gorge and waterfall, 88 camp sites, 3 mile-long hiking trails, swimming, and various sports fields. This park is closed during the winter, so check out their website before your visit to make sure they're open.