Photo: Chris Ray

Sims-Jennings Preserve at Cayuga Cliffs

High above the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake, the Sims-Jennings Preserve at Cayuga Cliffs protects a mosaic of meadows, woodlands, gorges, waterfalls, and panoramic lake views.

Natural History

Nearly two miles of interconnected hiking trails guide visitors through the various habitats, past cascading waterfalls and multiple creeks, with stopping points to enjoy beautiful lake views. This diverse conservation area, located directly across from Taughannock Falls State Park, safeguards an important viewshed for the region and helps protect Cayuga Lake’s water quality by prohibiting development on its steep slopes.

With over 4,000 feet of wooded bluffs above the lake, the preserve also provides outstanding stopover habitat for myriad migrating songbird species. In spring, Savannah Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Bobolinks can be heard in the open meadows, which offer exceptional grassland habitat.

The National Audubon Society designates the shoreline here as an Important Bird Area, and the property contains substantial portions of two Tompkins County-designated Unique Natural Areas:  Lake Cliffs North of Myers Point and Hidden Glens.

This preserve features dangerous cliffs. Please stay on marked trails at all times.

Recent History

200 acres were purchased in 2021 from Lansing residents, William and Jean Sims, who sold the property to the Land Trust to create the new preserve. In order to provide safe public access, an adjacent 24-acre parcel with frontage on Ridge Road was purchased in 2023 from the family of the late John Thompson.

The Land Trust received generous lead support for this project from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, Tompkins County’s Natural Infrastructure Capital Program, Chris Dennis Environmental Foundation, Daniel Konowalow and Marcy Rosenkrantz, Robert F. Schumann Foundation, and the friends and family of Danny Iandoli Miner.

A special thank you to William and Jean Sims and the Thompson family, for generously agreeing to sell their land for considerably less than its fair market value. The Land Trust is grateful to every donor who helped make this preserve available for all to enjoy.

Land Acknowledgment

The Finger Lakes Land Trust recognizes that our nature preserves exist on the homeland of the Haudenosaunee. We hope to honor indigenous peoples’ ongoing relationship with the land by conserving wild places forever.

Public Use

Please see our public use policies for recreational activities on nature preserves.

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Go Finger Lakes is the free web site created by the Finger Lakes Land Trust to promote recreation and conservation. Use the interactive map of 50+ hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, and outdoor adventure destinations across the region!


From Ithaca, take East Shore Drive for six miles to turn left on NY-34B N/Ridge Road (at the intersection at Rogue’s Harbor). After four miles, the preserve will be on the left.