Buttermilk Falls is located in Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca, NY.
The park offers a swimming area, a cool gorge hike and a few relaxing picnic spots. Overall, it is a very pleasing experience if you happen to be in Ithaca.
How high is Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca?
Buttermilk Falls i not high. In fact, it looks not really dramatic but rather relaxing and calming.
You will read that Buttermilk Falls is 500-600 feet high but it is not exactly the height of the waterfall. It is the total drop of the Buttermilk Creek as it cascades down into the Cayuga Valley. The 500 feet is spread across several drops, none of which is too high.
Technically there are two distinct waterfalls in the park: Upper and Lower. We visited the park in winter and were able to only find one waterfall (The Lower Falls) in the park. The upper part of the park did have several drops, none of which looked like a waterfall.
How long is Buttermilk Falls hike?
Buttermilk Falls State Park Gorge trail is quite short, only 0.65 miles (about one kilometer).
The trail takes you from the bottom part of the park to the upper part.
Both of these parts have parking lots, so you can drive to both if you don’t feel like hiking, or of it’s winter and the gorge trail is closed (which is what happened to us).
If you only want to see the most beautiful waterfall in the park – the Lower Buttermilk Falls – you don’t really have to hike. It’s right by the lower parking lot.
Here I’ve marked the gorge trail in yellow but you don’t really need it to see the waterfall:
Can you swim at Buttermilk Falls NY?
Yes! Swimming is allowed during the season! We do want to come back to swim in the pool by the waterfall one day!
How far is Buttermilk Falls?
Buttermilk Falls is only four miles south west of Ithaca, practically within the city.
Overall, Buttermilk Falls wouldn’t be my first choice if I were to choose a waterfall in Ithaca. I’d definitely rather visit Taughannock Falls or even Ithaca Falls. But if you have an extra hour or two, do give Buttermilk Falls a chance. You are sure to love it!