Gay Beach/Swimming Holes

Potter's Falls (a.k.a. Six Mile Creek Gorge)

Ithaca, NY
United States
Phone: 800 Phone: Fax:

Channeling the vibe from the scenic creek gorge, Potter's Falls is a popular home to gay men, but also many others including the cute college boys from Cornell University. Historically popular, it draws folks who come with beer coolers to enjoy the pool that is deep enough in some parts for diving off the ledges. Note: The Lower Reservoir - Has a sign "SWIMMING PROHIBITED." People do often swim here from a large, flat rock - but you may be subject to arrest if you do. Potter's Falls - is upstream of the lower reservoir and is the main swimming place in a large pool at the bottom. There is a network of trails and it is easy to get lost so keep track of your route and ask directions of people you meet. Upper reservoir - Upstream from Potter's Falls - this is the water source for Ithaca and swimming is definitely NOT permitted. Directions to swimming hole: Rangers, (different one every year) not police, visit usually once a day and quite often not at all. They look for kids jumping from rocks and rowdiness. They don't make arrests, but instead are quite pleasant and friendly to deal with. There is longtime tradition of skinny dipping and nude sunbathing at Potters Falls, and it continues today in a positive and friendly environment." However the trails are dangerous. In the last two years, there have been three bad falls from gorge trails, two fatal. There are at least two ways to access Six Mile Gorge, the reservoirs, Potters Falls and other nearby areas. 1. From Ithaca, take Rt. 79 East approximately 1 mile then go right on Giles St (in residential area). After about .5 mile, turn left before the bridge into a parking area. This is the entrance to Six Mile Creek Gorge at the low end of the creek. Look at the map posted in the parking area. You want generally to follow the "East Rim Trail" to the lower reservoir and then to Potters Falls, both of which are shown on the map. This trail goes along the creek upstream - it is about 1 mile to the Lower Reservoir, unknown distance beyond here to Potters Falls and then the Upper REservoir. You have to climb out of the gorge via a very steep trail before the 60-foot dam that holds the Lower Reservoir. Following the trail along the north side of the Lower Reservoir will take you to Potter's Falls. You must once again climb up and out of the gorge to the rim trail to get above the level of the next dam that holds the Upper Reservoir. This trail is a little dangerous right along the precipice for a short stretch. 2. Continue east on RT 79 and park at the entrance to the Upper Reservoir (there's signage, but it is easily found by the vegetation: a deep dark red pine plantation that comes right up to the highway). Follow the path through the pines to the reservoir and dam and head downstream on the trail to Potter's Falls. It's less walking from this direction, but of course you miss a lot of scenery.

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