Buttermilk Falls, Pennsylvania

I don’t 100% remember how I stumbled upon Buttermilk Falls, but at the time I recorded this, I listed it by it’s alternate name, Homewood Falls. Buttermilk Falls is used as a waterfall name so widely in the northeast that it’s terribly boring, so I wish Homewood Falls stuck more, but it is found in the Buttermilk Falls Natural Area. I don’t remember that sign, but it’s pretty prominent at the entrance (from photos I’ve seen).

I visited the falls in April 2015, so I feel like I should remember them better, but looking at the photos, I realize that this Buttermilk Falls is surprisingly beautiful. It doesn’t require a short hike, and so sometimes I don’t visit the waterfall as long as when it’s a long hike, so it becomes easy to forget. Also, there are a number of waterfalls on the west side of the state, but they are separated enough that it can be difficult to stop and see many waterfalls in a day. This is actually one that I would recommend stopping and visiting because it is a short hike and it is beautiful.

Directions:

  1. Buttermilk Falls is very close to the intersection of I-76 (one of Pennsylvania Turnpikes) and PA-18. It appears there is an exit off the turnpike into Homewood.
  2. If you exited I-76, you would want to head just south of the intersection, and the entrance to the Buttermilk Falls Park (Natural Area) would be on the right (if heading south) on PA-18.
  3. From there, it’s a short hike to the falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 28′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

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Buttermilk (Homewood) Falls in April 2015

Where in the World is Buttermilk Falls?

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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?

Luke’s Falls, Pennsylvania

Luke’s Falls in June 2013

So one of the waterfalls I just recently posted about, Buttermilk Falls, is a very nice waterfall in east-central Pennsylvania in Lehigh Gorge State Park. Well, from the start of the trail, there’s another waterfall, and it’s in the opposite direction.

If you turn start walking to the left at the parking area, you will come to Buttermilk Falls. On the other hand, if you head right, you’ll find Luke’s Falls. Luke’s Falls wasn’t as impressive, and the likely cause was the dense green shrubs surrounding the falls. Not that I’m suggesting anyone cut down the shrubs, but it would be more impressive if a better view could be obtained. It’s still not as scenic as Buttermilk Falls, so if you’re pressed for time, I would skip this one. Even so, it’s not a long walk to the falls, and it’s along the rail trail anyway. The best views are probably to be had in the early spring before any trees have leaves.

Directions:

There are at least two ways to get to the falls, depending on the direction your arriving from:

Option 1: If coming from I-80, take exit 273 and head south along PA-940. After just a few miles, veer left onto PA-2055 (N Lehigh Gorge Drive). (This may turn into PA-4010 at some point in time.) Turn left onto PA-4014 (Rockport Road), and head to the end of the road, where you’ll find the parking area.

Option 2: If you’re coming from I-476, you’ll want to take exit 74 onto US-209. Head west along US-209, going through the towns of Lehighton and Jim Thorpe. You will see signs for Lehigh Gorge State Park for Glen Onoko, but continue on a short ways until you get to PA-93 (Hunter St). Turn right onto PA-93. After a few miles, turn right onto Brenkman Drive, and go into the town of Weatherly. Find E Main Street, and continue heading northeast out of town. This will turn into PA-4010. Turn right onto PA-4014 (Rockport Road), and head to the end of the road, where you’ll find the parking area.

Option 2 is more complicated, but if you’re coming from the south, it might be quicker. Lehighton and Jim Thorpe can become very busy on weekends and nice summer days, so be prepared for “delays.”

From the parking areas, head to your right to find Luke’s Falls. It’s no more than a 1/4 mile hike one-way (if that much).

Accessibility: 10/10 (very flat, gravel pathway)

Where in the World is Luke’s Falls?: map

Buttermilk Falls, Pennsylvania

Buttermilk Falls in June 2013

I first went in search of Pennsylvania waterfalls back in May 2009, and had a chance to visit Lehigh Gorge State Park. I had limited amount of time before I needed to arrive back at PHL, so I chose a strenuous hike up Glen Onoko! It wasn’t nearly as awful as advertised, and saw a number of lovely waterfalls including Cave Falls and Onoko Falls. I had a chance to visit the area again in June 2013, and discovered that there were a number of other waterfalls in the park. I had expected there would be, but I don’t remember if the main book I use had these falls… It might have required some additional searching.

There are at least two waterfalls in the park, though they are about 15 miles driving distance from Glen Onoko. A very enjoyable rail trail runs along the Lehigh River, and as you’re enjoying a stroll, you will come across these two falls. Instead of hiking much of the trail, I drove to a parking area which allowed very easy access to these two falls. If you are in a rush, these two are the quicker visits.

One of the falls, Luke’s Falls, is partially shrouded by shrubbery in summer. The other waterfall, Buttermilk Falls, is much more photogenic, and I found it to be much more interesting than I had expected. I am a very bad judge of height, but I expect this is about 40-50′ tall, with two visible drops. (Apparently, it’s closer to 60′.) The two drops make the falls visually interesting. The falls seem to drop to the left, and then veer to the right, almost as an optical illusion. And even though there wasn’t an insane amount of water flowing, it seemed like just the right amount to create the wispy effect.

(Oh, if you’re trying to find another Buttermilk Falls in Pennsylvania…it’s a very popular name for waterfalls in the region. There’s a Buttermilk Falls in Monroe County along the Delaware Water Gap. There are also Buttermilk Falls in New York, New Jersey, and Ohio!)

Directions:

There are at least two ways to get to the falls, depending on the direction your arriving from:

Option 1: If coming from I-80, take exit 273 and head south along PA-940. After just a few miles, veer left onto PA-2055 (N Lehigh Gorge Drive). (This may turn into PA-4010 at some point in time.) Turn left onto PA-4014 (Rockport Road), and head to the end of the road, where you’ll find the parking area.

Option 2: If you’re coming from I-476, you’ll want to take exit 74 onto US-209. Head west along US-209, going through the towns of Lehighton and Jim Thorpe. You will see signs for Lehigh Gorge State Park for Glen Onoko, but continue on a short ways until you get to PA-93 (Hunter St). Turn right onto PA-93. After a few miles, turn right onto Brenkman Drive, and go into the town of Weatherly. Find E Main Street, and continue heading northeast out of town. This will turn into PA-4010. Turn right onto PA-4014 (Rockport Road), and head to the end of the road, where you’ll find the parking area.

Option 2 is more complicated, but if you’re coming from the south, it might be quicker. Lehighton and Jim Thorpe can become very busy on weekends and nice summer days, so be prepared for “delays.”

From the parking areas, head to your left to find Buttermilk Falls. It’s no more than a 1/4 mile hike one-way.

Accessibility: 10/10 (very flat, gravel pathway)
Height: 60′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Buttermilk Falls?

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?

Buttermilk Falls, Ohio

Buttermilk Falls in August 2009

Buttermilk Falls is another one of the surprising waterfalls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which is very close to Cleveland. Brandywine Falls is the main attraction, but doesn’t require much of a hike (or walk). The small Blue Hen Falls is in another area of the park, and Buttermilk Falls is found by continuing along that trail.

I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to find it after reading the directions, but it was easier than I expected. You do have to cross the river/creek, and that is not difficult. It’s unlikely you’ll get wet! Once you get to the falls, you can get pretty close to the falls. I think some people were actually trying to climb up the falls. They’re steep, but only about 20′ tall.

Directions:

  1. On I-271, take exit #18 onto OH-8.
  2. Head south on OH-8.
  3. Once you reach E Twinsburg Road, turn onto E Twinsburg Road, which will become W Twinsburg Rd.
  4. Go to Brandywine Road and turn east. Brandywine Road will become Olde Eight Road.
  5. Turn west onto Boston Mills Road. On your right will be a one-way road where you can park to visit Blue Hen Falls. There is also a parking lot on the left side of the road that is much easier to park at, though it does add a short amount of distance to your hike.
  6. From there, follow the rather obvious trail downhill to Blue Hen Falls.
  7. After you see Blue Hen Falls, keep heading downstream along the trail. You will cross the stream three times, which is not that difficult at all. It’s pretty hard to miss Buttermilk Falls (assuming you’re on the right trail).

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 1.2 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Buttermilk Falls?