Cornell Botanic Gardens: Fall Creek Valley Loop

Visit the home of many majestic old-growth trees along this one-mile loop.

Cornell Botanic Gardens: Fall Creek Valley Loop

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Cornell Botanic Gardens

Tour Information

Welcome! From majestic old trees to younger forests and meadows, this area’s rich diversity of habitats is preserved and enhanced in the face of challenges brought about by climate change.

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Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Notice the small, caged trees just beyond the kiosk. This area was overgrown with non-native honeysuckle and other invasive shrubs, which out-competed the native plants that once grew here. After removing the invasive shrubs, Cornell Botani... Read more
From here, you can follow the blue blazed trail along the scenic edge of Fall Creek or follow the red blazed trail past some impressively large, old trees. The two paths meet again in less than a quarter mile. Whichever route you choose, lo... Read more
Look for silver tags on some Eastern hemlock trees. Tagged trees are treated with a systemic insecticide to keep these trees alive after being infected by the Invasive Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), which has decimated hemlocks throughout th... Read more
Not only are many hemlocks in our natural areas treated to protect them against hemlock woolly adelgid, but they are also used for research by the New York State Hemlock Initiative at Cornell. Look for marked trees, which are part of a rese... Read more
  From here, the trail continues toward the road to access the trail through our Park Park Natural Area and loops back to the start of the trail near the Flat Rock Footbridge. For a shorter hike back to the start of the trail, follow the b... Read more
This area was once a meadow covered by invasive crown vetch, which crowded out the native plants that once grew here. After Cornell Botanic Gardens staff removed much of this aggressive plant, they intentionally restored forest in its place... Read more
This area is visited by Cornell classes to explore plants within these two grassland-dominated landscapes. If you are facing uphill, the meadow area to the left (east) was intentionally created to display plants typical to a prairie habitat... Read more
The spur trail here leads to an overlook at the top of this hill, then down the other side and across the road to a picnic area along Fall Creek
This boardwalk spans over a wetland nestled in this hillside. Rainwater seeps down through the glacial deposits further up this hillside. The calcium contained in the deposits increases the water’s pH, which collects to saturate the soil ... Read more
Trees tell us how the land was used in the past by their size and age. Here you can clearly see a border between young and older-growth forests. Notice the relatively smaller tree trunks more densely packed in the young forest, which was pr... Read more
Throughout this hike, you can see many large fallen trees typical of older forests. In recent years, climate change has increased the number of trees that have prematurely fallen, including the ones near the trail here. A rise in heavy rain... Read more
Notice there are more evergreen trees here than in other sections of forest along this trail. This area was once cleared for agriculture, then planted with a variety of evergreen trees such as spruce, fir, and pine. While some of them remai... Read more
The tall conifer trees above are white pines. The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' (the Cayuga Nation), whose traditional homelands include this natural area, have a close relationship with white pine and recognize it as the “Great Tree of Peace.” T... Read more
Form here, you can cross the street to arrive at the beginning of the tour.


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