Waterfall Wednesday: Lucifer Falls
I had forgotten how incredibly beautiful this park was and had so much fun looking back at the pictures the other day for today’s blog post. I hope you don’t mind extra pictures to look at!
Robert H. Treman State Park is just to the south of the city of Ithaca, New York and has many waterfalls – the main two being Enfield/Lower Falls and Lucifer Falls. Previously I shared about Enfield Falls (or Lower Falls – there’s a little discrepancy as to which waterfall is actually officially named “Enfield Falls” when looking at historical records). Today we’re going back to the park to take a look at Lucifer Falls.
Lucifer Falls is a 115 foot cascade at the top end of the park and is quite a sight to take in! It’s difficult to get a photo of it that really gives it any justice, or just in general gets the whole waterfall in one shot from the trail.
There’s two ways to get to Lucifer Falls from the Gorge Trail. The way that I took was hiking from the bottom part of the park and hiking up through the gorge. It was such a beautiful hike and I’ll share a bunch of pictures in just a second (I promise I did pair them down to just a small fraction of my favorites). The hike from the bottom of the Gorge Trail to the top is about 2 miles each way with Lucifer Falls situated towards the top at about the 1 1/2 mile mark.
The second way would be to park at the top parking area and walk down – about half a mile each way. Either way there would be beautiful views of waterfalls, Enfield Creek, and stone stairs and walkways built by the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s.
I generally don’t jump into the geology side of the waterfalls – mostly because my eyes kind of glaze over a little bit talking about sediment and such – but I found this little bit really interesting and thought I would share!
All of the Finger Lakes region has glacier activity to thank for its unique landscape, however something even more unique occurred in Enfield Glen.
The gorge was formed in two distinct phases. During a period of interglacial melt, the lower portion of the park was created (the “old gorge”). The glaciers advanced again and sheets of ice filled in the gorge with glacial till (unsorted sediment). When the final glacier receded, a “new gorge” formed in the upper portion of park. Water from the “new gorge” swept away the glacial till revealing two unique gorges that combined to form Enfield Glen. Lucifer Falls marks this boundary between the two.
The two sections of the glen have different distinct feels. Some visitors say that the upper portion is similar to Buttermilk State Park while the lower section is closer to Taughannock State Park. I tend to agree though I also see similarities with Stony Brook State Park in the top section.
One of my favorite discoveries at the end of the trail was this building! Not only because it was a relief to be able to have a bathroom break after 2 miles of hiking near waterfalls, but also because the building was converted from the old mill that used to stand in that place. I’m just fascinated with the local history surrounding the use of water power. I keep finding myself wondering why it isn’t being utilized much today with all of its potential.
This current structure was built in 1839 by Isaac Rumsey after an older mill in the location burned to the ground. The mill was operated up until 1917 by John Kuhns who sold it to Robert Treman. In 1920, the Treman family donated the mill (and park) to the state.
The building now contains a small museum with interesting displays sharing more about the milling process.
Tucked right next to the old mill building is this collection of three waterfalls that’s really easy to miss. These waterfalls run through Fish Kill Creek, which is a tributary to Enfield Glen. It’s in a nice shady spot and there’s a ledge to rest for a few minutes before continuing back down the trail.
Painting Lucifer Falls
I think my favorite part of my 50 New York Waterfalls series is how unique each waterfall is when you really take a closer look. Lucifer Falls definitely exhibits this as well.
I really enjoyed the different textures of rock and how little trails of water strayed from the main part of the falls to make their own paths down. The reflection of the waterfall in the water below is also one of my favorite things. The water below this powerful waterfall is surprisingly calm and I like the serene feeling that is expressed in the painting.
Exciting Upcoming Event
I’m so excited to be participating in the Community Arts Market at Community Arts of Elmira this Saturday May 4th from 10am to 3pm! Several artists and makers will be showing their work and it is free to browse. If you’re in the Chemung County area, I’d love if you stop by and say hi.
Many of my waterfall paintings – including Lucifer Falls and Enfield Falls (if they’re not snatched up from my etsy shop prior) – will be there as well as paintings featuring the Finger Lakes Region and some of my ink drawings.
Resources & Further Learning