Robert H. Treman State Park and Lucifer Falls

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Location / Directions / Maps

Location: Along State Route 327; in Ithaca; south of Cayuga Lake; Tompkins County; New York

Maps: Google map; Bing Map; Multi-map (topo); Park map; Campground map; Interactive.

GPS/Locations: Swimming area: (N 42.39710 / W 76.56108)
Lucifer Falls: (N 42.40056 / W 76.58420)
Park road through the creek: (N 42.39744 / W 76.55646)

Directions: From Ithaca, travel south on Rt 13 (also Routes 34/96) for 5 miles until the junction on the right with Rt 327. From here, you can travel ¼ mile and park in the lower park and hike the entire gorge, or go further on Rt 327 for 2 miles and park in the upper portion which is closest to the main attraction, Lucifer Falls.

Parking:  Parking areas are right after each entrance. The gorge trail-heads are located off of each parking lot.

Information / Accessibility / Accommodations


Latest Ithaca, New York, weather conditions and forecast

Number of falls: 2 large named waterfalls. 10 smaller falls.

Size/Types: Lower Falls (or Enfield Falls) is a 70 ft tall cascade. Lucifer Falls is a 115 ft cascade. The creek features numerous tiered staircases, cascades, plunges, and flumes.

Best time to visit: Year-round. The best water flow will be after rainy weather and in the spring and fall. Winter will give you the opportunity to see the lower falls frozen over. The park trails close after November 10th, so Lucifer Falls is inaccessible after this time.

Flow: Generally constant. Enfield Glen has a large watershed so the falls have a rather decent flow nearly all year, except in cases of extremely dry weather.

Waterway: Enfield Creek (a tributary to Cayuga Lake Inlet).

Time: A full day to a weekend.

Seasons/Hours: Year round; dawn to dusk. The trails close on November 10th and reopen in the spring after repairs. Camping season runs from mid-May to November 30th. Swimming season generally runs from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

Admission: $7 parking fee per vehicle.

Handicap accessibility: Yes. The short trail to the swimming area and Lower Falls is handicap accessible, as well as most park amenities. The gorge trail is not.

Pets: Allowed on leash. Not allowed on the gorge trail: for safety reasons; not allowed in bathing areas.

Camping: The fully-equipped campground features 71 camping sights and 14 cabins. Camping season is from mid-April through mid-November. Book a campsite at this park.

Swimming: Yes, in a dammed area of the creek just below the lower falls. There are three sections of different depths, changing rooms and diving platforms. The swimming area can easily accommodate hundreds of swimmers.

Accommodations: Hiking trails; historic sites; playgrounds; pavilions; fishing; hunting; picnic tables; grills; bathhouse; open fields; nature programs; tours.

Contact Information

Description

Enfield GlenEnfield Glen is full of rugged beauty and wonderful trails that crisscross all over the different terrains inside Robert H. Treman State Park. The park’s namesake, Robert and his wife Laura Treman, bought much of the land surrounding the glen and built stone walkways and bridges. They donated their 380 acres to New York State in the 1920s. Additional acquisitions throughout the years have expanded the park to the massive 1072 acre gem we have today.

Enfield Glen and Creek are very typical of the area – a mix of seemingly never-ending limestone and shale layers. The dammed Lower Falls area at the lower end of the park is much like nearby Buttermilk Falls State Park in that you can swim in the large pool directly at its base. The rounded shape of this roaring 70 ft cascade is as visually pleasing as swimming up to its powerful current is refreshing. The swimming here is easily the most popular attraction, especially on summer weekends. Hundreds of families, complete with screaming and laughing children, will pack the swimming area and detract from the beautiful surroundings.

Luckily, the Lower Falls pool is just a small sliver of what this park has to offer. Further up in the glen there are countless flumes and plunges that are very typical of nearly all the glens in the Ithaca area. Although most of the waterfalls in the gorge between Lower Falls and Lucifer Falls are small, averaging no higher than 10 ft, they vary widely in character. Walking up the gorge trail towards the west end of the park gives you expansive views of the sheer rock cliffs rising over 100 ft above you, along with views of several miles down into the lower reaches of the park.

The center of attention in this park is no doubt the towering 115 ft high Lucifer Falls. Cutting through a relatively narrow notch in a 90 degree bend in the creek, the falls is a challenge for anyone trying to get a full view. Luckily the falls can be observed from several vantage points. A walk up the Gorge Trail offers a breathtaking view of the lower half of the falls from the base, while ascending to the upper park serves up excellent top down views of most of it. It’s quite a challenge for the photographer to fit it all in the frame.

Further up from Lucifer Falls, numerous cascades tumble in rapid succession through the narrow gorge as they make their way downstream. One could easily spend a whole day here just exploring the various trails and catching glimpses of the numerous cascades and stone formations. The park features other activities including interpretive hikes, picnic facilities, fishing, and great fossil hunting. Taking advantage of it all could easily occupy multiple days, making the rough, but accessible 72 site campground worth a look.

Lucifer Falls - Treman Park

Treman Park  Videos

High Quality Audio

Lower Glen Waterfall 1

Lower Glen Waterfall 1

Lower Glen Waterfall 2

Lower Glen Waterfall 2

Lucifer Falls

Lucifer Falls

Hiking / Walking Trails

The Gorge Trail

Difficulty: Moderate (quite a bit of steps, some steep).

Distance: 2.25 miles one way.

Markings: The trail heads are marked with signage.

Description: The Gorge Trail can be accessed through either the lower or upper end of the park. The length of the trail (one way) is 2.25 miles and it is clearly marked. Taking it from the upper parking area, you will mostly be traveling downhill; taking it from the lower area, you will be traveling moderately uphill towards Lucifer Falls, which is located about 2 miles from the lower parking area. It is a mixture of stairs, graded trail, woodland and gorge walking. The gorge trail affords you with most of the close-up views of the waterfalls including walking directly over Lucifer Falls and across beautiful stone bridges.

The Rim Trail

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult (quite a bit of steps, some steep).

Distance: 2.25 miles one way.

Markings: The trail heads are marked with signage.

Description: The Rim Trail can be accessed from either the upper or lower ends. The length of the trail (one way) is also around 2.25 miles. From the lower park, the trail provides you with your only access to Lower Falls and the swimming area. It also allows for “front-on” views of Lucifer Falls from across the glen. It has a very steep stone staircase near the upper portion that climbs over 100 feet and gives you beautiful views of the glen and Lucifer Falls. A good portion of this hike goes through mature hardwood forests above the gorge.

The Red Pine Trail

Difficulty: Easy.

Distance: 0.5 mile one way.

Markings: The trail heads are marked with signage.

Description: This is a short ½ mile trail off of the gorge trail that travels through some pine forests to a lovely picnic area.

Finger Lakes/North Country Trail

Difficulty: Easy.

Distance: 3 miles through the park.

Markings: The trail heads are marked with signage and “FLT” blazes on the trees.

Description: A portion of this long regional trail runs 3 miles through the southern portions of the park. It can be accessed through the upper parking area near the Old Mill by taking the CCC Memorial Trail down Fish Kill Creek.

Maps: Park mapInteractive.

Robert H Treman State Park

Robert H. Treman State Park Interactive Map

Drag the map or click the arrows to move around and use the +/- to zoom in or out. Click on the icons for more information. This map is not accurate. Caution and common sense should be used when hiking.

View Robert H Treman State Park in a larger map

History

Enfield Glen - Old Mill c1920s

Enfield Glen – Old Mill c1920s

As is very common with the Ithaca area gorges, the history of Enfield Glen begins in the Devonian Era, somewhere around 350 million years ago when the area was part of a massive inland shallow sea. Over the course of millions of years, the seabed was deposited in the area, shifting its level over time which gives Enfield Glen alternating layers of both shale and sandstone deposits. When walking around the park’s many trails, you can sometimes find many fossils in the rocks of the sea creatures that once inhabited this prehistoric sea.

The most recent glacial period around 12,000 years ago began the process of carving out the glen. As the water eroded away softer layers, Enfield Glen was born and the process has continued giving us Lucifer and Lower Falls within the park. The Glen was actually carved out multiple times. First, a series of glacial events carved out a larger, shallower trench. Then the water erosion from the creek diverted, following the natural joints and breakage in the bedrock, and carved out a diverted path. The result is a massive interwoven mix of wide, forested slopes from the older glacial events, and the sharp, dramatic cuts made by the creek since.

The original settlers of the area were the Iroquois. There is confusion as to how Lucifer Falls originally got its name; some speculate that it is a reference to the original Iroquois name. The earliest settlers to the area moved in during the 1790s from land grants at the end of the Revolutionary War (as payment for service). They began to harness the waterways of the area and built mills near the tops of the waterfalls. One such mill still exists in the top portion of the park today (see below). A small milling community arose amidst the small tumbles of Enfield and Fish Kill Creeks, called Enfield Falls, which declined as a result of the industrial revolution.

In 1920, the Robert Treman family donated 387 acres of the glen to the state, which sparked further acquisitions and the development of the park. The Treman family, known for their generosity and philanthropy to the Ithaca community donated many properties for public use, including nearby Cascadilla Gorge. Prior to naming the park after Robert Treman, it was called “Enfield Glen State Park.”

Robert Henry TremanWho was Robert Henry Treman?

Robert Henry Treman was the first of the Ithaca native Treman family to attend Cornell University (class of 1878). While there, he excelled as a pitcher and team captain for the University baseball team. He also rowed on three teams, played football and was a tenor in the glee club. After graduating, he became the University’s athletic director and then served on the school’s board of trustees for 6 years. Upon leaving Cornell, Robert became a successful banke,r becoming the director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. For a short period he was married to silent film starlet Irene Castle. He maintained his close ties to his hometown of Ithaca, buying and preserving estates and beautiful gorges such as Enfield Glen.

Interesting Stuff

The Old Mill

The Old Mill, which is located in the upper park near the west entrance, was constructed in 1839 by Isaac Rumsey, replacing an older one that burned to the ground. The mill was operated until 1917 by John Kuhns when it was purchased by Robert Treman. The Treman family donated the mill to the state in 1920. Today it is run as a small museum. You can still walk through the building and see how the mill operated and once functioned. Behind the mill is a nicely sized cascade on Fish Kill Creek, a tributary to Enfield Glen. A picnic area is adjacent to the mill.

Photography Tips

Photographing Enfield Glen

  • One of the problems with both of the parks’ main waterfalls is that they lie in very open areas of the park, and are usually flooded with sunlight and plagued by strong shadows. Wait for overcast days, get there early just before sunrise and after sunset to get consistent lighting.
  • Lower Falls provides a great backdrop to catch people swimming and playing underneath or diving off the board directly in front of it. Stay back and use a zoom lens to crop in to the people as tight as possible. This will help isolate the subject, filling the background with falling water. Use a high shutter speed to catch falling water droplets without blur.
  • Lucifer Falls is large and is hard to fit fully in the frame without obstruction or with a standard lens. It is possible with an ultra-wide angle lens (14mm or less). Try to catch different sections of the falls, or even try taking various pictures to stitch them together later. A front-on view of Lucifer Falls can be had from the Rim Trail overlooks, but even then, the bottom gets obscured by trees.

Proper creek-walk footwear

  • Wear the proper footwear for creek walking and climbing. Not only can a quality pair of water shoes prevent blisters and infection, they will help you stick better to the ground and reduce your risk of falling, hurting your self, or your camera gear.

Silky water effect

  • To get that smooth cotton-candy look to the falls, you need to use a Neutral Density (ND) filter on your lens. The ND filter will block some of the light from entering the lens without altering the color, and thus allow your shutter to stay open longer. This blurs the water and creates a soft white gloss to the foamy areas of the falls. You can pick up a Neutral Density (ND) filter relatively cheap on Amazon.
  • Cut down on reflections and help reduce the light entering the lens by utilizing a Circular Polarizer filter. Most of the waterfall scenes shown on this website are captured with this type of filter. It reduces glare and helps us obtain more even exposures.You can pick up a Circular Polarizer filter relatively cheap on Amazon.
  • When shooting slow shutter speeds a sturdy Tripod is a must. Don’t settle for a cheap tripod that wobbles in the wind or can be vibrated by water currents. Amazon has a nice selection of quality Tripods.

More tips

Treman swimming pool

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