Waterfall #3 in Buttermilk Falls SP, New York

It’s been a while since I’ve thought about the waterfalls in Buttermilk Falls State Park. It’s a really beautiful state park in Ithaca, and there are so many different drops on Buttermilk Creek. Buttermilk Falls is the largest drop, and then Upper Buttermilk Falls is also a rather large drop. I also classified other drops (#1#2, and #6), with #4 and #5 being somewhat out of sight.

This third drop that I classified has three smaller drops that are extremely close to each other. You could almost call this Triple Falls. If this waterfall were all by itself, I’m not sure that it would be a main attraction (though that also depends on where the falls are located). In this case, you’ll see so many other waterfalls that it’s worth it to keep hiking. (Depending on how you choose to hike, there is a moderate ascent, with a much easier descent.)

Directions:

  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), Descent (9/10)
Height: ~15′
Length of Hike: 1.2 miles round-trip (if you start near NY-96)

buttermilk 3

Where in the World is Waterfall #3?

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Waterfall #2 in Buttermilk Falls SP, New York

This is the kind of waterfall that makes you begin to question: when do I count a waterfall as its own separate waterfall? There are so many waterfalls in Buttermilk Falls State Park, some large and some smaller, such as this one. I guess you could really consider it one large waterfall with multiple drops separated by more distance. Or you could consider it to be multiple waterfalls. It’s confusing. How do I even identify where this falls is in location to other falls in the park…I’m not really sure.

It would probably help if they all had unique names. Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania has names for each of the major (and even some minor) drops, which makes it easier to remember and identify the falls, and even give info about where they’re located. You’ll see this falls if you take the whole hike along the gorge, but if you just stop to see Buttermilk Falls, you’ll miss it.

Directions:

  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: 15′
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip from lower entrance, 0.2 miles round-trip from upper entrance, 1.2 miles round-trip to see many of the falls

Waterfall in Buttermilk Falls State Park (May 2009)

Where in the World is Waterfall #2?

Upper Buttermilk Falls, New York

The last post about Buttermilk Falls State Park was a little less than a year ago, so I’m going to explain a little bit again about what’s going on here.

Buttermilk Falls State Park is right outside of Ithaca. In the time that I lived there, I didn’t realize how close it was. I though it was further out. There are two different entrances. The main one leads to an easy descent but a difficult ascent, though all with stairs. We did the descent first. As I’ve said before, it’s really just one big waterfall that has numerous drops of very significant size. It would probably help if there were separate names for each of the drops. Upper Buttermilk Falls is what I refer to as the drop just above the main waterfall. I tend to believe that the main falls and some of the smaller falls upstream are more interesting.

Directions:

  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: 0.4 miles round-trip (to see falls from lower entrance), 1.2 miles round-trip to see many of the falls

Upper Buttermilk Falls in May 2009

Where in the World is Upper Buttermilk Falls?

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.

Directions:

  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?

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.

Directions:

  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?

Waterfall #6 in Buttermilk Falls SP, New York

There are numerous, numerous waterfalls in Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca, New York. It would definitely be helpful or even cool if they named each of the different waterfalls something…different. First off, Buttermilk Falls is one of the most common waterfall names. Second, it would be easier to identify the falls if they actually had a name!

I’ve called this one waterfall #6. It’s by no means the largest of the falls in the park. It’s actually one of the smallest, but it’s still pretty nonetheless. The whole park is beautiful. The Gorge Trail, where the falls are best viewed from, is open during certain times of the year, though. Luckily, when I visited the park in early May, it was one of the only parks to have the gorge trail completely open. Most of the other state parks with waterfalls and gorge trails still had the trails closed.

One more thing about Buttermilk Falls: the park has a rather steep incline. If you enter from the W. King Road, the way down is not bad at all. The way back up is tougher. The opposite is true if you enter from the other entrance. Beware! The best way to view the falls would be to start at the W. King Road entrance, descend down to the other entrance, where somebody could pick you up.

Directions:

  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), Descent (9/10)
Height: 5′
Length of Hike: 1.2 miles round-trip (if you start near NY-96)

A smaller waterfall in Buttermilk Falls State Park

Where in the World is Waterfall #6?

Lake Treman Falls, New York

Lake Treman Falls in May 2009

I guess I’m not even sure if Lake Treman Falls is a truly natural waterfall. It definitely looks like it is. The historical information provided on the trail seemed to indicate, though, that the waterfall was created when a river/lake was dammed. Maybe I misunderstood the sign.

Oh well, whatever the case with Lake Treman Falls, it’s still a very pretty waterfall. It is found in Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca, though this falls is somewhat removed from the other more prominent falls in the park. In order to access Lake Treman Falls, you can hike from the gorge/rim trails to the falls, or you can just park right near the waterfall, since there is a paved road that leads directly to this one waterfall.

While you’re visiting Lake Treman Falls, check out the area surrounding the falls. In the picture, you may notice a foot bridge crossing right above the falls. This bridge leads to a very interesting stone dam/structure, whatever it is.

Directions:

  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 Upper Buttermilk Falls State Park. Turn into the entrance
  4. Keep heading down this paved road. It will end after a mile or so. Park here.
  5. You should be able to see the falls directly from that parking area. You can head up the very short trail to get different views of the falls if you would like.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Lake Treman Falls?