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 ten 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, Mister 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. These can be found just upstream of the waterfall.
The viewing area is located only a short five-minute walk from the parking area for Buttermilk Falls. While there is a small amount of an elevation change, the walk itself isn’t difficult, making this a great waterfall to visit even if you aren’t much of a hiker.
The main viewing area offers a view from above Buttermilk Falls. While this spot is great throughout the year, the trees can block the view of the waterfall a bit during the middle of the summer.
This used to be the only sanctioned viewing area. However, thanks to a construction project completed in 2017, it is also possible to safely cross Hires Run and walk to the bottom and behind Buttermilk Falls.
While this new pathway does take away some of the natural beauty of the falls, the fact that it finally allows safe access to the bottom of the falls makes it a neat feature.
To cross the stream, pass around the gate just up from the main viewing area. For some reason, it’s a tight squeeze around the gate and a short, but steep trip down to stream level (a few more steps here would be great). Once at the bottom of the hill, cross the large, triangular-shaped bridge before descending the stairs to the bottom of Buttermilk Falls.
At the bottom of Buttermilk Falls, the pathway continues behind the waterfall, offering a unique vantage point behind the veil of water. Again, while this walkway does distract from the natural beauty of the waterfall, it’s great that the waterfall is much easier for people to enjoy.
"Waterfalls of Pennsylvania" by Jim Cheney
If you love PA waterfalls, you won't want to miss this waterfall book from Jim Cheney, author of Uncovering PA, featuring more than 180 great waterfalls. Order it now on Bookshop.org or Amazon.
Note that depending on the level of water at Buttermilk Falls, it may be impossible to get behind the veil of water without getting at least a little wet. On a recent visit, my young son loved running back and forth through this sheet of water and ended up quite soaked by the time we were ready to continue on our trip.
Overall, Buttermilk Falls is a great destination for anyone looking for a waterfall that’s impressive, easy to visit, and has a unique history. While it might not be the best choice for those looking for little evidence of infrastructure, it’s great for those looking for a waterfall you can go behind in Pennsylvania.
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. If you are traveling across Pennsylvania on Route 22, this is a great stop to make on your way to your main destination.
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).
Parking is located just above the trailhead and close to a small plaque about Mr. Rogers’ time at the waterfall and primitive, but clean 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’s parking area 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! You can also check out the nearby Hinkston Run Falls and Yoder Falls.
You can also see more waterfalls named Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County, Luzerne County, and Carbon County among others.
[Click here for information about how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]
See map below for other area attractions.
21 thoughts on “How to Get to Buttermilk Falls in Indiana County, Pennsylvania”
Thanks for the background info about this one. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to check it out soon.
Hope you enjoy your visit!
I personally have never visited this waterfall in the winter months but I have friends that have posted pictures with the falls frozen – looks beautiful. I have visited many times during Spring, Summer and Fall and it’s practically in our backyard. The last time we were there in early Spring 2020 they also had a pavilion with a few tables so you can picnic. Great little nature area with history behind it! Thanks for sharing your post and I just ordered your Waterfalls in PA book – can’t wait to read it!
I am handicapped so I can never visit these places but your newsletter makes me feel like I am, keep up the good work
The path to get to the bottom of the falls is fenced off for construction as of May 2017. There is paint all down the side of the hill and I believe they are building a bridge and steps for easy access to the bottom of the falls.
Thanks for the update. Would be great to have an easy path to the bottom.
As a kid growing up in New Florence, it was a great adventure biking up the Clyde Rd. to ultimately check out the household and grounds of “Buttermilk Falls”
My friends and I were sure this was an illegal venture on someone’s private property. This of course did not matter as we meant no harm, and were assured if caught, could be explained by our naive pursuit of adventure.
Surprised to learn After the fact that the land was owned by a Family named McFeely and that the famous Mr. Rodgers also visited this beautiful place.
I am sure I visited this location perhaps only two or three times, but I remember it fondly in my childhood memories.
Thanks for the memories,
It used to be a beautiful place, but it’s been ruined by an abominably overbuilt infrastructure–the natural beauty of the place overshadowed by decks, stairs, and fences.
I disagree. It’s certainly changed, but anything to aid access and get people out enjoying the waterfall is only a positive change. I love what they have done here.
Agreed. I remember riding my bicycle there as a child, hunting blacksnakes in the old house foundations with my Grandfather. Part of the ledge under the falls fell in many years ago. It was much larger back in the day. I haven’t been there since they did the build, and I’m not sure I want to go. Prefer to remember it mostly untouched as it once was.
Is there a good picnic area with grills at the falls? Or anywhere close by?
There are picnic tables in the park, but I don’t know if there are grills or not.
This waterfall is worth a trip to see you can actually walk under the falls. I love it there.
Hi Jim, is there any bike trails close to this? I enjoy hiking but also biking and would like to do both if I visited the area. Thanks
The Ghost Town Trail is fairly close to the waterfall.
Any restrictions on taking leashed dogs on the paths?
Not as far as I’m aware.
As of July 2022 there is a project taking place. A wooden staircase is being built where the steep portion you mentioned between the top viewing area and the stream/ A-frame bridge. Once completed it will make for an easier walk down to the access point for the waterfall and old foundations.
That’s good to hear. Definitely a great change to make the site better for visitors.
Is there a Buttermilk Falls near Logonier. My mother used to talk about going to Buttermilk falls to camp as a young girl.
This would probably be the closest one, but there are several Buttermilk Falls in western PA, and probably some others that were once called that.