Buttermilk Falls Hike; Tallest Waterfall in NJ

Mileage:  0 or 7 Miles or whatever                                     Directions

Total Rise: 1600 FT                                                                Facebook

Hike Time: 3 Hours by myself  (expect 4 atleast)               Printable Map

Weather                                                                                 Park site– map on left of page

My Pintrest                                                                             Hikes by region

Significance: The tallest waterfall in New Jersey, Appalachian Trail, Forest Pond

Here is some of what you need to know: These falls are in the Delaware National National Recreation area;  it is a long drive on a lonely dirt road to get there, but it is worth it.

-You do not have to hike or get out of your car to see these falls.

-look at the Park map to see all the different possible combinations for this trail

***Map Warning- On the Appalachian Trail it appears I am veering on and off of it. Really once you reach the top of the mountain you will follow the white blazes until you get to the Hemlock pond trail.



1. Scroll the mouse over the altitude line to see where it lines up on the map

2. Click on the flags for more information

3. Click on the pictures to make them large





I almost did not do this hike; we came one day, saw the falls, and went home. Later I could not stop wondering what was up that trail, so I had to come back. Fortunately the trail was as good as the falls.

The 90 ft water fall was just as impressive on my return trip. It is tall, traveling up the mountain seemingly into the tops of the trees, the water cascades down rock after rock until it hits the pool at the bottom. It is a sight to see. Not much of a pool to swim in, just in case you are wondering.






The Park made steps leading to viewing platforms along side the falls for a safe look from the middle and top. It is a steep hike up the hill but steps are there to make it easier.



If you want to make a real hike out of it you will begin the trail from the top of the falls following the blue blazes. It is 1.5 miles from the bottom to the top of the mountain and you will rise about 1100 feet in elevation. It is rocky, steep, and strenuous. My rule is 1000 ft gain in elevation over a mile=brutal, this is close enough. As you curse my name remember that this is the hardest part of the whole hike, fortunately it is a relatively small portion of the entire trail.

No opportunities for panaramic photos but their are a few chances to catch a view of the valley over the tops of the trees.














Hemlock Pond Trail Head

At the top of the mountain you come to a T intersection where the Appalachian Trail (AT) starts (White blaze), make a right onto the AT. This part of the hike is fairly smooth and level, a sharp contrast from the previous section. You will hike for about a mile until you see a sign on your right for the Hemlock Pond Trail.**As you approach the Hemlock Pond Trail head, you will see a body of water on your left, that is Crater Pond and not a part of this hike.



The Hemlock Pond Trail (Orange Blaze) heads down hill from the AT. It is a little rocky but nice. The one confusing part of this trail is that at about 0.2 miles into it you will come to a 3 way intersection and then right after you will see another three way intersection, just remember the pond is down hill. Once you hit the pond their is a small trail that will take you right to the shore where you can get a view of the water. I do not think there are orange blazes around the lake trail.


The trail wraps around the pond and did not take me long to hike. This looked like a great place to spend the day fishing as there was not a soul in sight and I doubt it is over-fished. When you complete the loop you will head back on the trail you came in on. Check the park map, their are lots of combinations you can do with this hike including one to the Delaware Water Gap if you really had some time.

In the area

Take some time to explore the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Their are big hikes like Mount Tammany and Mount Minsi, swim at the River Beeches, visit the Buckhorn fire tower, see Pennsylvania’s tallest waterfall Raymondskill falls, and New Jersey’s tallest waterfall Buttermilk falls. Do not forget Dingman’s Falls. Their is a ton to do and you will love it.




Enjoy your trip!!!




  • If you take at left at the AT intersection instead of a right, you can take the AT over Rattlesnake mountain. Rattlesnake has about a 1/4-1/3 mile of open meadow facing west along its summit, which is a rare treat for this elevation and region. Should you continue past that point, there is a really nice, new shelter just off the AT.

  • My friend and I just did the blue trail to Buttermilk Falls two days ago from the top, down to the bottom of the falls at nighttime after hiking the AT ten miles. It truly was brutal and not one of our better decisions. We had headlamps but they were not enough. We had all our gear and should’ve just camped at the top until morning!

    • everywherehiker@gmail.com

      Yeah for an out and back from the AT the lighter the better. But bad experiences make for good memories right? Haha

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