Distance: 7.5 miles. Duration: 5-7hours (steep beginning). Elevation gain: ~200ft. Amazing angles of the falls (you have to walk around a bit). The first falls are close to the parking lot, so be prepared for it to be crowded on weekends.

The parking lot is a big dirt lot, so if it's raining or has rained, be prepared.

The immediate falls are located mere steps from the parking lot, so on holiday weekends, be prepared for crowds. But if you walk around, up the stairs and over the bridges, you'll get different angels of the falls AND you'll link up with Buttermilk Falls trail (BLUE). From here you can connect with the trails to the Appalachian Trail (WHITE) and/ or Crater Lake or Hemlock Pond (ORANGE).

Again, the initial climb is pretty steep, so keep that in mind, and there are also some rock-slabs and the such to walk up...but nothing too strenuous. Once you reach the top, the trail itself is pretty mellow and what you'd expect. Keep an eye out for the different trail markers and you should be good to go.

Photos: jason jenkins, Nicholas A. Tonelli, Nicholas A. Tonelli

Pack List

  • Hiking Shoes
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Camera
  • Appropriate clothing for the time of year
  • Bug spray
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Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Pretty

I didn’t hike around this because we got pretty lost on the drive over. If you think you are going the wrong way keep going haha. It comes up out of no where! Looked like a good place to hike so I will have to go back and explore

Lots of Options, Even If You Don't Park at the Falls

Pick up a Kittatinny Trails map set before you go if you're interested in doing anything other than parking at the bottom of the falls. The hiking around this part of the Water Gap is awesome. We started at Crater Lake (the road to get there is extremely bumpy, be warned), hiked to the falls, and hiked back. It was all downhill on the way there, and all uphill on the way back. Our hike ended up being about 6 miles with 1400' elevation gain. I'd much rather have a scenic view in the middle or toward the end, which is why we opted to make the falls our turnaround point. Also, the Crater Lake parking area has bathrooms while the Buttermilk Falls parking lot doesn't, which surprised me. (If you park at the Falls and pee in the woods, or pee in the woods anywhere, please don't leave your TP or feminine products behind in the woods, it's gross and inconsiderate).

Hard Hike, but Worth It.

Started from Buttermilk Falls and hiked up to Crater Lake and back! About 9 miles round trip. The hike was hard, the terrain is rough in spots and the slope of the hills is steep and unforgiving. Lots of up! Definitely not a hike for beginners, we saw many people turning back along the way. The falls were extremely crowded, but there were less and less people the further you hiked.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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