Waterfall #1 in Buttermilk Falls SP, New York

There are numerous drops along Buttermilk Creek in Ithaca, and in essence they could be viewed as one very large waterfall that drops a considerable distance. This waterfall here is not the first waterfall you will see. Buttermilk Falls and Upper Buttermilk Falls will both come before this drop. I’m just designating this the first unnamed drop on the creek.

I wish I could explain the beauty of this drop adequately. The trees block the view somewhat, so the picture cannot do justice to how interesting the view was. I tried my best with the vantage point provided (which is really no vantage point provided). Before this point on the creek, the creek is actually rather narrow, and it is only now just beginning to widen considerably. You may also notice that hidden at the crest of the falls is another drop just above this wider crest. I was amazed at how secluded that drop was, but alas, there was no way to get a better view of the drop. The rock walls begin to climb dramatically at that point, and you end up standing above the falls at a considerable height. You will hear the falls below, but you will be unlikely to see them very well.


  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: 50′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip (to see falls from lower entrance), 1.2 miles round-trip to see many of the falls

Waterfall in Buttermilk Falls State Park

Where in the World is Waterfall #1?


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