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New York City Parks Guide: What to See at Robert H. Treman State Park


Alina Prikhodko

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New York State Parks are among the most picturesque in the United States. From imposing mountains to sandy beaches, there's no place like New York City to admire nature. There are 180 parks in the state, and each of them deserves a separate article. In general, this is exactly what we decided to do. Over the next few months, we'll be introducing you to a new park every day.

We have already talked about an amazing place for adventure and relaxation near Niagara Falls - Niagara Falls State Park. Today we'll go to one of Ithaca's stunning parks with 12 waterfalls - Robert H. Treman State Park.

Robert H. Treman State Park is an area of ​​wild beauty, the scenic highlight of which is the rugged Enfield Glen. Winding trails follow the gorge past 12 waterfalls, offering views one and a half miles (2,4 km) down the wooded gorge leading into the lower park. Campgrounds, RV sites, or cabins are available.

The main attraction of the park is its absolutely incredible waterfalls. There are a dozen of them here, and there is a lot to enjoy. The Lower Falls (also known as Enfield Falls) is the most easily accessible and even has a swimming area with a lifeguard on duty during the warmer months.

Lucifer Falls is the most incredible of all the waterfalls in the park. This 35-meter wonder is one of the largest in the Finger Lakes region. Its unusual name is believed to be a mispronunciation of the original Iroquoian name.

Lower Falls Pool may be the most beautiful of all New York State parks. Park workers dammed the creek downstream of the falls to create a swimming pool and later, in the 1920s and 1930s, installed a diving platform near the falls itself.

History of the park

The gorges, waterfalls and pools in Robert H. Treman State Park and the surrounding Finger Lakes region were formed by the retreat of glaciers 10 years ago. As the Finger Lakes glaciers melted, Enfield Creek began to flood, clearing rocks and debris from a gorge that predates the most recent glaciers. The original inhabitants of this land were the Cayuga people, one of the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. Settlers from Europe began settling the area and farming in the 000s. In 1790, a water mill was built in the park, which was used to grind corn and wheat until 1839.

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This 445-hectare park was named after the man who purchased the land and donated it to the state in 1920. Robert H. Treman first purchased the land around Enfield Falls in 1915 and worked to improve it, planting more than 1000 trees. He and his wife Laura Treman donated land to New York State in 1920 to create Enfield Glen State Park. The park was renamed in honor of Robert H. Treman after his death in 1937.

The Old Mill

The Old Mill, built by Robert H. Treman's ancestor Jared Treman in 1839, milled grain for local farmers until 1916. The mill is a remarkable relic of the water power era in the Finger Lakes. It is now home to a museum, and the site and the adjacent former village of Enfield Falls are listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.

The old mill harnessed the power of the small Mill Falls on a tiny section of the gorge. Before the great flood of 1935, there was a dam directly in front of the falls, which used a narrowed passage to dam the mill pond. Water came from the pond through a trough and a square wooden pipe that turned a turbine underneath the mill. The gears and belts then transferred the water's energy to the entire mill. The mill stopped working in 1916.

Archeology Walking Tour

This tour is designed to take tourists through the sites of the 1920th-century village of Enfield Falls, which occupied the upper park. After the creation of the state park in the early XNUMXs, the village was demolished. Only two buildings remain - The Ole Mill and the miller's house nearby.

Since 1998, Cornell archaeologist Sheren Baugher and her students have excavated most of the foundations of the houses and other structures that made up this vibrant hamlet, including the site of the Enfield Falls Hotel, which inspired the park. At one time the village of Enfield Falls had not only a mill, but also a post office, a shingle factory, a tannery, a blacksmith shop, several houses and a hotel.

Gorge Trail

There's a surprise waiting for you at the start of your hike along the Gorge Trail. After you cross the small footbridge over Fishkill Creek, keep left and go straight over the creek. Once in the forest, turn left towards the stream. It is at this very place that a surprise of nature awaits you. Enfield Creek cuts between straight rock walls. This is one of Ithaca's iconic views.


Cliff Staircase

One of the most memorable and scenic sections of the Rim Trail are the dozens of stone steps of the Cliff Staircase. Essentially, you ascend or descend the junction between the rugged “postglacial” gorge and the wider, forested “interglacial gorge.”

Robert H. Treman State Park is open year-round, but some hiking trails are only open seasonally. Vehicle entry fees apply from April to November. More information can be found here .


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