Buttermilk Falls in Rockland County

Overview

This loop hike passes scenic Buttermilk Falls and climbs to several panoramic viewpoints.

Details
Time:
1 hours
Difficulty:
Easy to Moderate
Length:
1.2 miles
Route Type:
Circuit
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Waterfall
Location
Park:
Region:
County:
Rockland
State:
NY
Maps/Books
Publication
First Published:
10/22/2004

Updated/Verified:
04/23/2014
Submitter:
Daniel Chazin

Photo

Parking


View Buttermilk Falls County Park in a larger map

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.087131,-73.94744
Driving Directions

Take the Palisades Interstate Parkway north to Exit 5N (N.Y. Route 303/Orangeburg). Proceed north on Route 303 for 2.1 miles and bear right at a fork onto Greenbush Road North (do not turn very sharply right at the first intersection with Greenbush Road at 2.0 miles). Continue on Greenbush Road for 1.2 miles to the parking area for Buttermilk Falls County Park, on the right side of the road.

Description

From the northern end of the parking area, head into the woods on a blue-blazed trail, which climbs gradually to the right of a ravine. Pay careful attention to the blazes, as there are a number of side trails in this area. After turning sharply and ascending on a switchback, you’ll reach the remnants of two stone pillars to the left of the trail, with scenic Buttermilk Falls cascading down the mountain..

The trail now bears right and continues to climb. After a brief descent, you'll reach a limited west-facing viewpoint, with a field visible below. Continue ahead on the blue trail, and you'll soon come to a much broader viewpoint. The tall building in the distance is part of the Blue Hill Plaza office complex in Pearl River. You may hear and see a train along the railroad tracks running parallel to the hills in the background. This rail line - commonly known as the West Shore Railroad - was built in 1883 as the New York, West Shore and Buffalo. Passenger service along the line, which extends from northern New Jersey to Albany, was discontinued in 1959, but the line remains an important route for freight trains traveling between the Midwest and the New York metropolitan area.

After a little more climbing, you'll reach a junction with a woods road. An orange-blazed trail turns left on the road, but you should turn right, continuing to follow the blue blazes. Just beyond - about half a mile from the start of the hike - you'll reach the third viewpoint, with the broadest view. You can see all the way west to Ramapo Mountains and, on a clear day, the skyscrapers of Newark are visible on the horizon to the south. In the early 1900s, when he rode horseback in the area, President Theodore Roosevelt would stop here to take in the view. This is a good spot to rest from the climb and enjoy the panoramic view.

In another 300 feet, follow the blue trail as it turns sharply right, leaving the woods road it has been following, and descends on switchbacks along another woods road. When the blue trail ends at a junction with a white-blazed gravel road, turn right and follow the white blazes along the road. As the road bears left near the base of the descent, watch carefully for a turn where the white blazes turn right, leaving the road. Continue to follow the white-blazed trail, which descends stone steps, crosses a boardwalk, and soon ends at the parking area where the hike began.

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Did this hike today. Seems

Did this hike today. Seems like the blue trail was all over. We ended up getting a bit lost which was our obvious mistake but we always have google maps and a compas and found our way.  It was an enjoyable hike, Not what I would call easy but it was a nice day.

Easy Hike if Local

If you are in the area and need a quick hike, this is it. There's not anything special here. Very close to the road. Heard sounds practically the whole time. Waterfall was a mere trickle.  Definitely should not be in the top waterfall area. We started at the one side, went to the other and back in only 1.5 hour. Anyone could do it in 45 minutes, easily.

A pleasant surprise

Did this hike yesterday. Although I was a little disappointed that there was minimal water flowing down the falls considering it rained much of the prior night, this was still a good hike. The first two viewpoints were hard to view through the trees, but the third one made the hike worth it. It was a relatively clear day and Newark was visible as well as the Ramapo Mountains. Someone left a chair up there in the perfect place to watch a Sunset! This is a hike that would be good for just about anyone in decent physical condition. Description was accurate and the blazes are highly visible.