Six Mile Creek Gorge

In keeping with weekendly tradition (how’s that for a word?), Joe, Joanna, and I headed out to explore a new gorge on Sunday once we were sure that the sun was going to grace us long enough. This time we went to our backyard–quite literally–to explore part of the Six Mile Creek Gorge.

Abandoned Mill at Wells Falls on Six Mile Creek

There’s a footbridge from Quarry/Ferris Street to South Hill near our apartment and we headed across there and found a path down to the water. Using the rock outcroppings on the southern bank, we followed the creek until we ran into Wells Falls and the abandoned mill there. At the time, we didn’t know the names of any of these places–Google is our friend! It turns out that Six Mile Creek is where the City of Ithaca gets its water, so, even though swimming is sorely tempting in several places along the creek, we’re not allowed to. Above Wells Falls, there are apparently some better developed trails, which we’ll have to check out another day (but not a warm summer day because Google also informed us that some areas up there are popular with those who enjoy being, um, au natural.)

As an interesting historical fact, the area we explored below Wells Falls used to be the winter encampment of the Cayuga Indians around the time the first white settlers established Ithaca. Guess we’ll have to look for artifacts next time, ha.

Joe By The Pool

The whole trail was lovely, but the area right near the waterfall is especially nice. The far side is just a bluff and on the near end is a rocky beach with several big old trees with the most spectacular roots. Joanna suggested that they look like something out of Middle Earth. If one looks closely, one notices that the roots have actually caught rocks and are growing around them. More photos are in the gallery, as always.

Roots of a tree leaning out over the water

In completely unrelated, but exceedingly exciting news, B is coming to visit this November and will get to spend Thanksgiving with me!

9 Responses to “Six Mile Creek Gorge”


  • These are some amazing pictures! And it looks like so much fun.

  • Come up here sometime that’s not between December and May and during or after a strong rain and we’ll head over there 😉

  • Although I bet some of the waterfalls would look really interesting during the rain…just be sure to wear a lot of waterproof things and spikey boots!

  • Also be sure not to get into any trouble where you need rescuing because you’ll get one hell of an earful, if not worse, from the people charged with rescuing you.

  • Mmm, summer in a northern state? I’m there! Anything to escape Florida.

  • Keep in mind that it’s likely to be humid with no AC up here during the summer 😛

  • I was just wondering, do you have any idea of the name of the mill in the photo? Cool Pic would just love to see it in color.

  • Thanks, Eric. I don’t actually know what the name of the old mill (or plant?) is, and my brief Googling of the subject hasn’t really turned up anything useful, unfortunately. As for the photo, I don’t have a color version online at the moment, but I do have similar ones in color up.

  • Even though I grew up just up the hill from the falls, I never new it was called “Wells Falls”. We always knew it as Van Natta’s Dam. As a boy scout around 1950, I caught a 12 inch smallmouth bass in the pool at the base of the falls, with a lure I made myself.
    The dam was built in 1907, and the ‘mill’ is a hydroelectric plant, built, I assume, about the same time. In the spring, water from melting snow raises the water level a couple of feet higher, and it covers most of the tree roots that you see exposed.

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