Pennsylvania Waterfalls: Visiting Buttermilk Falls in Indiana County
Tucked away a short distance off of Route 22 in Indiana County is one of Pennsylvania’s most storied waterfalls: Buttermilk Falls. Don’t let the fact that Buttermilk Falls shares its name with at least eight other waterfalls in Pennsylvania fool you, this is a very special waterfall.
Why, you might ask? Well, the land was once owned by Fred McFeely, grandfather of everyone’s favorite neighbor, Mr. Rogers. As a child, Fred Rogers would often spend time at his grandfather’s cottage on the property and fondly recalled his time at Buttermilk Falls as an adult. Take some time to look for the stone foundations of the cottage as well as several retaining walls from the property.
It’s not just the history of the waterfall that make Buttermilk Falls special. At roughly 46-feet tall, the waterfall is one of the most impressive in western Pennsylvania. A consistent flow of water make this a great place to visit year round, but, as with most waterfalls, it is best seen when water levels are a bit higher in the spring.
However, be aware that when water levels are high, you will have to wade across the stream to reach the bottom area, where the best photos can be taken. Should you decide to to do this, use extreme caution, as you will need to wade near the waterfall’s edge and then make your way down the steep embankment on the far side of Buttermilk Falls. This is something you should only attempt if you are wearing appropriate shoes and feel comfortable hiking down and back up the steep sides.
Even if you aren’t able to cross to the far side of the falls, there is a great wooden deck that serves as a viewing area for the waterfall. This area provides a safe place to see Buttermilk Falls while still getting a great view of the waterfall.The viewing area is located only a short five minute walk from the basic parking area for Buttermilk Falls. While there is a bit of an incline, the walk itself isn’t overly difficult, making this a great waterfall to visit even if you aren’t much of a hiker.
For those looking to explore a bit more of the area, there are several smaller cascades upstream that are quite beautiful during higher water.
Overall, Buttermilk Falls is a great destination for anyone looking for a waterfall that’s impressive, easy to visit, and has a unique history.
Getting to Buttermilk Falls in Indiana County
Visiting Buttermilk Falls in Indiana County is relatively straightforward. It is located about 2.2 miles off of Route 22 about 10 miles east of Blairsville. The area around the waterfall has been preserved as the Buttermilk Falls Natural Area (not to be confused with the area of the same name, around a similarly named waterfall, in Beaver County).
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Parking is located just above the trailhead and close to a small plaque about Mr. Rogers time at the waterfall as well as primitive bathroom facilities.
To get to Buttermilk Falls, follow the trail next to the Mr. Rogers sign down the path for roughly five minutes. You will soon arrive at a wooden platform which offers the best viewing platform for those not looking to descend to the bottom of the waterfall.
The waterfall is located at 570 Valley Brook Rd, New Florence, Pennsylvania 15944, or at these coordinates: 40.419236, -79.067699.
Want to see more of Pennsylvania’s best waterfalls? Check out our Pennsylvania Waterfalls page!
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