This hike is along the north side of Sixmile Creek
and passes two natural waterfalls, three manmade
waterfalls, and two reservoir lakes. Sixmile Creek
is the water supply for the City of Ithaca and you
can see evidence of older, abandoned water pipes
throughout the hike.
The lower part of the trail follows the edge of
the creek at water level until you reach the 4'
dam. From there you have a nice view of the 20'
dam which is about 500' upstream. This is a dead
end for the trail, so backtrack about 200 feet looking
for a trail going steeply up to the right. This
leads to the edge of the cliffs above the creek
and to fantastic views of the two dams and the lower
As you approach the 20' dam, the trail drops steeply
to lake level. You may see swimmers here in hot
weather, but swimming is strictly forbidden and
the gorge is heavily patrolled.
Follow a primitive trail along the edge of the
lake and then into the woods beyond the lake. In
a bit, you will arrive at Potters Falls, a 30 foot
cascade rushing from a narrow canyon into a large
pool. (Again, no swimming, but this is a great lunch
Continue up the trail from Potters Falls. It clmbs
steeply and traverses the cliff leading to the base
of the 60' dam. Along the way, you will get a top
down view of Upper Potters Falls (we haven't heard
of any other name, have you?) 100 feet below. We
estimated this waterfall to be about 10 feet high.
The trail ends after an extremely steep climb to
the top of the 60' dam and the edge of the Ithaca
Reservoir. This is the end of the public trail and
the No Trespasing signs beyond are also strictly
Return on upper rim trails between Potters Falls
and the 20' dam by keeping high and to the right
at Potters Falls. Once past the 20' dam, again keep
high and to the right to return to the lower part
of the trail a short distance from the parking lot.
The woodland parts of this hike pass through a wonderful
variety of mature mixed hardwoods and evergreens.
Several references we
checked mentioned that there were dog problems,
particularly on the lower parts
of the trail. However, an organization of dog owners
has recently "adopted" the trail and
has cleaned up all signs of irresponsible dog
We were also pleased at the relative lack of litter
on this entire hike. Most areas that are used
heavily have litter problems.