Located next to the upstate New York city of Ithaca, Robert H. Treman State Park is a huge surprise, mainly because of its striking beauty – so close to an actual city! Seriously, if I were a student at one of Ithaca’s famed colleges, I would be at that park every day! There is nothing else that can put you into Jurassic Park more, than to swim under an enormous waterfall, surrounded by a breathtaking, very tall gorge, topped off with lush greenery, reminiscent of a tropical deserted island! Swimming under a waterfall was one of my childhood dreams, realized a couple of weekends ago when I visited Robert H. Treman Park for a weekend camping trip.
Before visiting the park, I was skeptical about the great reviews describing the Finger Lakes region in New York State. I have to admit, ashamedly (because it sounds a bit snobby), that I have become very difficult to impress after visiting such places as Italy, Western Canada, California, Colombia, Taipei, and the list goes on. But, upstate New York truly holds a treasure in its Finger Lakes region. The nature is spectacular, and the hiking is awesome and challenging. And did I already mention that you can swim under and around several waterfalls? Yes, I think I have, but that is really the highlight of a trip to the Finger Lakes area!
Robert Treman State Park, specifically, has a wonderful hike surrounding a creek that hosts numerous small and large waterfalls. The climax of the hike is certainly reaching the ‘Cliff Staircase’ at the end of the so-called ‘Rim Trail’, which is a beautifully finished staircase, built out of rock into the gorge. The stone steps hug the side of the small mountain, giving visitors a fantastic view of the entire region and also of Lucifer Falls – the tallest waterfall in the park. The staircase is reminiscent of some Italian and Montenegrin cliff-side monasteries (ancient structures built directly into the side of a mountain) that I have been lucky enough to see.
Alongside the hiking trail at Robert Treman Park is the Enfield Creek, into which one can wade, or even dunk oneself into in the deeper parts of the creek. Some of the hiking is quite uphill and challenging, so a nice dunk in the cool, fresh water is a beautiful treat during this hike! The water pouring down Lucifer Falls is also extremely fresh, clean and emits a very nice smell – best described as ‘utter freshness’!
Robert Treman State Park also has camp sites located less than 5 minutes from where the hiking trails begin. There is also a lifeguard present during daylight hours at the ‘Lower Falls’ specially designated swimming area, where parents might want to bring small children for a safer swimming option under big waterfalls!
There are many campsites offered at several of the state parks in the Finger Lakes area. Other than camping, hiking and swimming, the region is also worth a visit for the numerous wineries that have opened in the last few years.
Be sure to check out the slideshow for some nice views of the hiking and ‘dunking’ at Robert H. Treman State Park!