A tour of Ithaca’s souvenir shops reveals no shortage of pride in its natural scenery, particularly its gorges. While many of the gorges are prohibited to swimmers because of their dangerous rapids, Six Mile Creek remains a safe alternative for nature lovers.
Nestled between Ithaca Commons and Cornell’s Collegetown, Six Mile Creek contains two main dams, aptly named First and Second Dam, that are a popular spot for locals and students alike. The waterfall feeds into a shallow brook that forms the perfect fishing spot, or just a place to observe the abundant wildlife.
First Dam is especially intriguing for the abandoned water mill that quietly sits on the cliff face. While nature has begun to reclaim the structure, its boarded windows and antique architecture nevertheless act as a reminder of modern civilization in an otherwise rustic oasis. Many a person has tried to explore the structure, though the door has long since rusted shut. Regardless, the mill still adds a certain touch of mystery and uniqueness to First Dam, suggesting a more interesting and complex history than now meets the eye.
To reach the dams is easy, and the view from the bottom is truly worth the 10-minute walk. For those looking for a little old-fashioned adventure, Six Mile Creek is the place to explore.