If you’ve always wanted to walk behind a waterfall, Buttermilk Falls in Indiana County, PA is for you!
As always, follow the principles of leave no trace when you're exploring the wonderful trails of Pennsylvania! Pack out all trash, stay on trail, and leave it better than you found it. For more information, check out the seven principles of Leave No Trace.
Visiting Buttermilk Falls
Buttermilk Falls is one of my favorite waterfalls in Pennsylvania. It’s so unique! It’s 45 feet tall, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in Western PA. New construction allows visitors to walk behind the waterfall, which is one of the coolest experiences I’ve had when visiting a waterfall in Pennsylvania.
The hike to the falls is short and is under half a mile to the falls and back. This would be a great hike for a families as it is very easy. Children of all ages can interact with the Mr. Rogers quotes posted on flip up panels along the beginning of the trail.
About halfway down the trail, there is an upper overlook. This used to be the only way to see the falls until recent construction. The improvements to the trail now allows visitors to walk all the way down and behind the falls. As you can see from the picture below, the view from the upper falls is a little obscured when the trees are in full bloom. But in the fall and winter, this view is great!
The trail then descends down to the eclipse A frame bridge. This is part of the new construction that allowed visitors to finally reach the falls. The bridge itself is very cool and a great place for photos. The top of the falls can be seen from the bridge.
After the bridge, the trail heads down a set of stairs to the waterfall. The stairs lead down to the platform where visitors can walk behind the waterfall. This is the coolest part of the whole experience!
While this waterfall is fairly accessible due to the short hike needed to get there, visitors need to be able to navigate about four flights of stairs to get down to the actual falls. Wheelchairs or strollers can use this trail, however, need to stop at the upper overlook.
Obsessed with waterfalls? Check out this list of Best Waterfalls Near Pittsburgh!
About Buttermilk Falls
Buttermilk Falls is located in Indiana County, PA. The parking lot is located just a couple miles off route 22, which makes it a great place to visit if you’re driving between Pittsburgh and State College.
The land that Buttermilk Falls is located on was previously owned by the grandfather of Fred Rogers, also known as Mr. Rogers. According to the signs, many ideas for Mr. Rogers Neighborhood were conceived while visiting the falls.
The parking lot has a rudimentary but relatively clean pit toilet with hand sanitizer. From the parking lot, walk past the toilet and follow the signs to the falls.
When taking a day hike to the falls, don't forget your ten essentials for day hiking!
FAQs About Buttermilk Falls
Where is Buttermilk Falls?
Buttermilk Falls is located in Indiana County, PA. It is about an hour east of Pittsburgh and about ninety minutes from State College.
Where do you park for Buttermilk Falls?
The address for parking is 570 Valley Brook Rd, New Florence, PA 15944. You can also use the following GPS coordinates: 40.419244, -79.067663. For a detailed map of the falls and surrounding area including directions, visit the Indiana County Parks website.
How long is the trail to Buttermilk Falls?
The trail is about half a mile. Leave yourself enough time to explore and take pictures. There may be a crowd at the falls itself, especially if you go on a weekend.
When is the best time to visit Buttermilk Falls?
This is a popular attraction so go early and during the week if you want the falls to yourself! I went at 2pm on a Friday. While I had the falls to myself for about five minutes, there were others waiting to visit.
Why is Buttermilk Falls famous?
Buttermilk Falls is located on the former site of Mr. Rogers’ grandfather’s house. Fred Rogers reminisced fondly of his time here. It is listed as “a worthy detour” on the Fred Rogers Trail. (Having done many of the activities on the trail, I’d say this stop is the best one!)
When is Buttermilk Falls, PA open?
The park and falls are open 8 am to sunset. For more information, check out Indiana County Parks website.
Is Buttermilk Falls wheelchair accessible?
Partially, yes. There is an upper observation area that is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. However, to go behind the falls there are a couple flights of stairs that are not accessible.
Overall, Buttermilk Falls is absolutely worth the visit! It’s super easy to take a quick side trip to see it if you’re traveling between Pittsburgh and State College. It might beat out Freedom Falls or Henry Run Sawmill Dam Falls in Cook Forest as my favorite waterfall in Pennsylvania!
Have you visited Buttermilk Falls? Let me know what you think in the comments below!