Buttermilk Falls, New York

Buttermilk Falls is the main attraction of Buttermilk Falls State Park near Ithaca, New York. That doesn’t mean it’s the only waterfall in the park. The are multiple waterfalls, upwards of 20 depending on what you consider a waterfall. Buttermilk Falls is the largest of these waterfalls, and it may also be the first waterfall you see as you enter the park.

I say that because I entered the park on the gorge trail at the W. King Road entrance, and then hiked downhill. That meant Buttermilk Falls was the last waterfall that I saw. This means a more strenuous hike back uphill if you choose to do this. On the other hand, if you just want to start at Buttermilk Falls and then make the decision to hike to see the other falls, start at the lowest entrance, which is also probably the easiest to find.


  1. There are multiple ways to access this entrance to the park. I think the easiest is to get onto NY-96B (aka Danby Rd.) heading south from Ithaca.
  2. Heading south, you will come to W. King Road. Turn right onto W. King Road.
  3. Head to the sign for the entrance to Buttermilk Falls State Park. Turn into the entrance.
  4. From here, you can park right there, and cross W. King Road. The entrance to the gorge should be rather obvious.
  5. The Gorge Trail is the best choice to view the falls, though it is only open during certain times of the year.

Accessibility: Ascent (4/10 moderate/difficult), Descent (9/10 easy)
Height: 80′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip (to see falls from lower entrance), 1.2 miles round-trip to see many of the falls

Buttermilk Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is Buttermilk Falls?


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