Lucifer Falls - Finger Lakes Waterfall in Robert H. Treman State Park

Lucifer Falls - Finger Lakes Waterfall in Robert H. Treman State Park

By: Len Dawson

Lucifer Falls is located about ten miles west of Ithaca in Robert H. Treman State Park, known locally as Upper Enfield Park.  Winding trails follow the striking and rugged gorge of Enfield Glen that was cut by erosion after the last glaciers receded from Central New York, passing 12 waterfalls, including the magnificent Lucifer Falls that cascades beside a stone staircase and down 115 feet of rock face.

Lucifer Falls seen from the Rim Trail

View of Lucifer Falls from the Rim Trail
by L. Dawson

The Gorge Trail

Thanks to a paved trail and several stone staircases along the gorge, the hike to reach the falls is quite beautiful and not very difficult. 

According to a park service brochure, the paved trail and stone walls along the gorge trail were built between 1933 and 1942 by gangs of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers.  During the Depression there was a large CCC camp located near the park. 

Looking upstream from the entrance to the gorge
Looking upstream
from the entrance of the gorge
by L. Dawson

The same brochure states that Wharton Studios (1920s) used the gorge and falls in some of their silent movies.

Like many of the Finger Lakes waterfalls and gorges, Enfield Glen is spectacular for leaf-peeping or hiking in the fall when the leaves change color, but note that many gorge trails are closed during the winter months because of snow and ice.


The Rim Trail

Extensive climbing and a lack of stairs make the Rim Trail a bit of a workout.  The Rim Trail joins the Lower Trail just below Lucifer Falls. Following the trail from there, it’s about two miles to Lower Enfield Park.


The Grist Mill

There is a circa 1839 grist mill at the entrance to the park.  Inside the mill you will find rest rooms and exhibits describing the workings of the mill.  Some ruins from the small settlement of Enfield Falls that grew up around the mill in the 1800s can be seen near the mill, and there are plenty of picnic tables and BBQ grills available.


The Paved Trail and Stone Staircases

Arched stone bridge

Stairs from the Rim Trail down to the lower trail

Note the arched stone bridge--
a favorite spot for wedding photos by L. Dawson

Stairs from the Rim Trail down to the
lower trail by L. Dawson


Lower Treman Park & Treman Falls

Treman Falls
Swimming area at Treman Falls
by G. Knight

While you are in Lower Treman Park, be sure to make the short walk to beautiful Treman Falls, where you can swim (seasonally when a lifeguard is present) in the designated area near the falls.  Bathrooms, picnic tables, and BBQ grills are available near the designated swimming area, and cabin, tent, and RV sites are available on the park grounds.


Driving Directions--The Scenic Route

Traveling on Routes 13, 96, & 34, turn north onto Five Mile Drive about a mile south of Ithaca.  Take your first left onto Bostwick Road.  Three or four miles later, just after Bostwick Road dips through a small glen, turn left onto Van Dorn Road for a picturesque drive through a densely wooded area.  This narrow dirt road is an especially good place for enjoying colorful fall foliage.  At the next intersection, turn right onto Gray Road then merge with Enfield Falls Road RT 327.  The park is at the bottom of the hill on the left.

If you miss the turn for Van Dorn Road, go straight on Harvey Hill Road when Bostwick Road makes a hard right turn.  At the base of the steep dirt road, turn left onto Enfield Falls Road (Route 327).

To get to the lower park, or to return to Ithaca without retracing the scenic route, exit the park to the right on Route 327 (up the hill).  When you reach the intersection of Routes 13, 96, & 34, turn left to go towards Ithaca.


A Short Detour--to the Newfield Covered Bridge

Take a ten minute detour to see the oldest covered bridge in the state still in everyday use.  To get there, head south when you get back to routes 13, 34, and 96. When the road splits, stay to the right on Route 13.  At the top of the hill, take the Newfield exit for Main Street.  Then take the first right, Bank Street, down the hill.  At the bottom of the hill turn left onto Bridge Street.

The Newfield Covered Bridge

The Newfield Covered Bridge by L. Dawson