By: Len Dawson

Lick Brook’s 128-acre preserve offers a picturesque glen with three major waterfalls and several small cascades, providing gorgeous hikes through a mixed hardwood and hemlock forest.  The steep gorge is surrounded by forest and meadows at the base of its slope, offering a fantastic springtime wildflower display.

The glen is located a couple of miles south of Ithaca in the Sweedler Preserve


In 1993, the Finger Lakes Land Trust purchased Lick Brook from Moss and Kristin Sweedler, who, along with contributing members, helped to secure the serene woodland from future development, in an effort to protect the glen’s undisturbed beauty and unique geological history.


The Trail

The hike to the major waterfalls is a good cardiovascular workout. The unpaved trails are steep and there are no steps.

When the main trail splits, take the left fork to see the upper falls or the right fork to see the lower falls. 

Be sure to use caution while hiking the trail, particularly with children and pets, as the gorge is deep and lacks guard rails along the trail. 


How to Get There

To get to Lick Brook, turn west onto Sand Bank Road from Routes 13, 34, and 96.  Sand Bank Road is the first left-turn south of the entrance to Buttermilk Falls State Park, on the southern edge of the city of Ithaca. When you get to the fork in the road, bear right onto Town Line Road and you will see an unpaved parking area on the right immediately after the turn.


There is no fee and there are no facilities or picnic areas at Lick Brook Glen.  For nearby restrooms and picnic areas, continue on Sand Bank Road for two or three miles, turning left onto West King Road.  You will pass the entrance to Upper Buttermilk State Park, where they do have facilities and picnic areas.