Buttermilk Falls State Park – An Insider’s Look

Buttermilk falls is a beautiful state park in Ithaca, New York. It is home to Ten beautiful water falls, natural swimming pools, hunting grounds, and fisheries. The park has several hiking trails to choose from where you can take in the beautiful scenery and wildlife.


Buttermilk State Park spans 811 acres and is filled with natural waterfalls created by buttermilk creek. It lies southwest of Ithaca in the Finger lakes region of New York.

Along with waterfalls, several pools tumbles, and cascades contribute to the park’s natural beauty. Hills surround the area, and nearby mountains can be seen in the distance.


The rock formations seen in the park are from the Devonian age. There are layers of sandstone and shale. The sandstone constitutes the light gray layers, while the flaky dark grey layers consist of shale. You can describe it as a sandwich or a multi-layered cake.

These rocks were formed when a shallow sea existed where the modern-day park stands. Rivers carried sediments from young mountains, which were deposited at the bottom of this sea. Over the years, after being pressurized by the water, the sediments solidified into layered rocks.


Buttermilk falls got its name from the frothy look of the creeks’ fast-flowing water. The name existed as early as 1866. In 1924, Robert and Laura Truman presented 164 acres of land to the State of New York as a gift. Through several state acquisitions over the years, the park grew to its current 811-acre. Work has been done to preserve and improve the interweaving of stunning landscapes and waterscapes for the public’s pleasure since the 1930s.


One of the biggest attractions in state parks is the opportunity to watch nature. The rich wildlife makes it possible to hunt and fish in the park. The park is home to the Grey Petal tail butterfly and other amazing fauna and flora. Here are some animals you can watch for while hiking or exploring the park:

  1. Raccoons
  2. Chipmunks
  3. Grey Squirrels
  4. Skunks
  5. Cottontail Rabbits
  6. Opossum
  7. Red Foxes
  8. Red Squirrels
  9. Little And Big Brown Bats
  10. Turkey
  11. Owls
  12. Pileated Woodpeckers
  13. Ruffed Grouse
  14. Great Blue Heron
  15. Woodchucks
  16. Muskrats
  17. Beavers
  18. Sharp-Shinned Hawks
  19. Red-Tailed Hawks
  20. Brad Winged Hawks
  21. Songbirds


There are many great activities to enjoy in the park.


While there are other activities you can enjoy in the park, it is most famous for its scenic hiking trails. There are seven trails to choose from in Buttermilk Falls State Park:

  1. Rim Trail
  2. Bear Trail
  3. Larch Meadow Trail
  4. Finger Lakes Trail Spur
  5. Gorge Trail
  6. Lake Truman Trail
  7. Owl Creek Trail

The Rim Trail

This is 0.75 miles long and goes parallel to the maintenance access road. It is a fairly steep trail that branches into the Gorge trail.

Bear Trail

The bear trail is about 0.75 miles long. It connects the Gorge and the Lake Truman trail. It starts from above the gorge trail and leads up to the parking lot before the Lake Truman Trail begins.

Larch Meadow Trail

The Larch Meadow Trail begins near the sports field of the park. It is a refreshing, easy 1-mile trail. You might catch the sight of some deer or wild rabbits while on this trail.

Lake Truman Trail

Lake Truman is one of the longer trails in the park. It is 1.5 miles long. It starts at the end of the Bear Trail.

Finger Lakes Trail Spur

This 1.15 miles trail leads you from Buttermilk Falls to the main Finger Lake Trail. You can choose to start the trail at Buttermilk Falls or deviate from the Finger Lake Trail to visit Buttermilk Falls.

Gorge Trail

This is the most scenic trail of them all. It runs along the Gorge cut by the creek. There are several waterfalls and pools of water along the way to enjoy. You can gain up to 600 feet of elevation while hiking on this trail.

Owl Creek Trail

The Owl Creek Trail is a beginner trail with more than moderate elevation. Dogs are allowed on a leash, and the paved trail means you can bike on it. It starts in Snowmass village and leads to Aspen.

Natural Swimming Pool

This is a park you want to pack your swimsuit and towels for. The natural Swimming pool runs deep with clear water. You can swim in any part of the creek you desire.

However, swimming depends on weather conditions. We advise you to contact the park officials before heading out to learn if swimming is available or not.

There is no better way to cool down after a strenuous hike than with a dip in cool water. You may even catch people cliff diving into the deeper pools too.


The campsite is smaller than most but clean and well-maintained. The park is never too overcrowded, but you can call in advance to reserve camping space. There are cabins if you aren’t fond of camping in a tent or trailer.

You can use the picnic tables, phone service, electrical connection, toilets, and showers available to the public at the campsite. There is a small market where you can buy goods, including firewood. Drinking alcohol and bringing your pets are allowed in the park.


Deer hunting is permitted in the park during a specific season. You will need a legitimate hunting license and must sing in the park daily.


You can go fishing in Buttermilk Creek and Lake Trumen. The waters are as rich as anywhere else in the finger lakes region. The primary fish found is brown trout. Enjoy over four miles of public Creekside fishing.


 One of the stunning state parks in the Finger Lakes region of New York, Buttermilk falls, is worth the stop. You can enjoy activities in the beautifully maintained public space, including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and swimming.

If you want to see ten beautiful waterfalls and explore nature at its best, this is the place to be. Don’t miss out!

The McClain Family

We hope we helped. Please let us know of any place that you want to know about in NYS or if we did a poor job with any part of this. Our goal is to help as many people as possible.

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