Monday, August 24, 2020

Buttermilk Falls at Ithaca

Buttermilk Falls State Park,
Tompkins Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Gorge Trail
Rim Trail
Bear Trail

Total Time: 1:35 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.9 Mile

Pros: Highly scenic area with many waterfalls
Cons: A popular trail and not so quiet, fee for parking
Hike Type: Loop

Google Maps of Parking:

I had visited Buttermilk Falls about 10 years prior, on a camping trip upstate with my family. This summer I again went camping in that area with my family near Ithaca, this time at Taughannock Falls State Park. We did many of the gorge hikes in the area during our stay, but traveling with young children I didn't do any long or strenuous hikes.

Buttermilk Falls is a beautiful glen right outside the city limits of Ithaca, with an eroded gorge with very unique formations and steep walls ending in a dramatic plunge at Buttermilk Falls. I parked at the upper area at West King Road, and took the Gorge Trail north down. The Gorge Trail goes alongside the creek, on a wide path that in some places goes down steep steps. Towards the end, the creek pluges down the wide Buttermilk Falls. The water level was very low so the falls lacked in terms of impressiveness.

At the bottom, I continued along the Rim Trail, climbing up steeply at the first part and along site the top rim. I continued along the trail to the end, at West King Road. I then went along the road crossing the bridge, and took the Bear Trail for a very short part and then cutting across the spur along the pedestrian bridge and back to my car. I had left my family at the bottom (they only hiked one way going down) and then drove over there to pick them up.

Map of the Route

Sign at the Entrance to the Trail After the Bridge 

Gorge Trail Sign

Road Bridge Above Buttermilk Falls

Buttermilk Brook Formations

Trail through the Gorge

Giant Round Pothole

Really Cool Formations in Buttermilk Falls

Me at the Above Falls

Pinnacle Rock in the Gorge

Small Falls after Pinnacle Rock

Smaller Falls Near the Trail Bridge

Main Falls Near the End, Mostly Dry

Above the Last Plunge

Buttermilk Falls Lower Trail
Gorge Trail Plaque at the Bottom part of the hike

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