Image may be subject to copyright

A Short Guide for the Cornell Botanic Gardens

When you stay in Ithaca, you don't have to drive far to be totally engulfed in nature. The Cornell Botanic Gardens are one of the most popular attractions around. Stroll through carefully manicured gardens while learning about local conservation efforts to make the experience as beautiful as possible.

Not sure what to expect? We'll try to answer all of your questions, review the major attractions in the area, and highlight some of the best trails in the gardens. If your inner botanist still wants to explore the groves, you may want to check out some of the other local gardens.

What are the hours?

Sun-up to sun-down. There are no specific opening hours.

How much is admission? Is there a parking fee?

Admission is FREE, but you do need to pay a parking fee to enter the park. It runs you $1.50 per hour, so it's exceptionally reasonable.

When is the best time to visit?

Upstate New York is known for its foliage. We think the best time to visit would be late summer to early fall, as the weather is perfect and the scenery is its most gorgeous.
(August - October)
Image may be subject to copyright

Nevin Welcome Center

If you're looking to start your botanic garden adventure, head to the Nevin Welcome Center. The guides there will show you what specific events and workshops are available during the time you visit. You'll find brochures and maps useful for self-guided tours here.

Guided experiences will usually begin here.

Image may be subject to copyright

Cayuga Trail

Visitors who want to experience nearly everything that the Cornell Botanic Gardens have to offer should set up a guided tour on the Cayuga Trail. It's around 9 ½ miles long. You'll cross the beautiful Fall Creek, walk around Beebe Lake, and hike over Fall Creek Gorge.

You'll also peruse the garden sections of Cornell, including the Newman Arboretum, Mundy Wildflower Garden, and Monkey Run Natural Area. It's truly the all-in-one Cornell Garden experience. While the paths aren't necessarily difficult, the length of the journey may be too much for some people. Keep in mind your personal health before deciding to do the whole trail.

The Best Things to See at Cornell Botanic Gardens

Newman Overlook

This should be one of your top things to see when you arrive at the beautiful botanical experience. Newman Overlook has a few places to sit and overlook all of Cornell. It's great for picture-taking, and is a must-do trail if you only have a couple of hours. 

Fall Creek Gorge

Take a look down at the largest stream leading to Cayuga Lake. Fall Creek Gorge will give you an impressive look down at the rock formations and waterfalls prominent throughout New York.
Image may be subject to copyright
Image may be subject to copyright

Monkey Run Ithaca

The nearby stony cliffside makes for an impressive picture. You'll see the way the river has chipped away at the rock's foundation over time. There are also nearby trails and beautiful wildlife nearby.

Cascadilla Gorge

Few scenes are more beautiful than a cascade of tiny waterfalls. At Cascadilla Gorge, you'll be able to walk from downtown Ithaca to one of the most beautiful natural scenes in the world.

Mundy Wildflower Garden

Take a stroll through the heart of the Cornell gardens, and discover what plants thrive in the area. You'll learn a lot, have a ton of picture-worthy moments, and can make memories on these relaxing paths.

Beebe Lake

Is there anything better than a crystal clear lake on a perfect day? Beebe Lake is a relaxing place to sit down and reflect. It's the ideal birdwatching location—particularly for birds who love water.
Image may be subject to copyright

Is the trip worth it?

A visit to the Cornell Botanic Gardens is a day well spent. Not only can you enrich your life by learning new things here, but you'll also breathe in the natural beauty of Ithaca. Even if you only visit for an hour or two, we think you'll agree the experience is worth it.