Seeing Lucifer Falls in Winter

Most big waterfalls in the Ithaca area are easy to see. You can marvel at Ithaca Falls from Lake Street or walk the short path into the gorge. You can drive to Taughannock Falls Overlook, and drive into the entrance of Buttermilk Falls State Park with the falls on your right. But 115-feet-high Lucifer Falls in Robert H. Treman State Park requires a walk along a trail, and in winter the Gorge Trail is closed due to ice and rockfall hazards. And in the past, the Rim Trail was closed in winter as well, so it was impossible to go see the big waterfall for several months of the year without trespassing on a closed trail.

Lucifer Falls in Robert H. Treman State Park near Ithaca, NY, in the Finger Lakes region during winter.

By walking a few hundred yards along the Rim Trail in upper Robert H. Treman State Park, you can see Lucifer Falls in the winter.

In recent years, however, the park has kept open the Rim Trail from its start in the upper park to the view of Lucifer. (From there on, from the top of Cliff Staircase the trail is closed.) And park staff recently constructed a new wooden footbridge over a spot that has iced up along the trail in the past.

Trail map for upper Robert H. Treman State Park

The Gorge Trail and the Red Pine Trail are closed, but the Rim Trail (yellow) is open from its beginning at the east end of the parking lot to the top of Cliff Staircase. (Map courtesy of Finger Lakes State Parks)

Check out my latest short episode ( 3 1/2 minutes) of Gorges TV to see and learn more about Lucifer Falls and the trails this time of year.