There are many different waterfalls in Pennsylvania called Buttermilk Falls, but the one we are talking about today is quite special as the land was once owned by Fred McFeely, the grandfather of Fred Rogers, who of course we know as Mister Rogers. As a child he spent time here at his grandfathers cottage.
Getting to the Buttermilk Falls Natural Area
The Buttermilk Falls natural area is not all that far from Pittsburgh, the drive took us about an hour. The Buttermilk Falls Natural Area is located in New Florence, PA right off Route 22. The full address is 570 Valley Brook Rd, New Florence, PA 15944. Pulling off Route 22 you eventually make your way to Valley Brooke Road where you’ll see a train car in a yard. This house is right by the entrance of the park, which is only denoted by a small gate and a sign that says when the park closes. Pulling up there is a small parking lot and public restrooms. By the restrooms is the start of the trail that will take you to the falls. It it only about a 5-7 minute walk to the main overlook of the falls.
Exploring the Buttermilk Falls Natural Area
Before 2017 you would have to make your way across the creek and down a small path to get close to the falls, but in 2017 a bridge and stairs down to the bottom of the falls were built. This makes accessing the falls much easier, but sort of makes the falls feel a little “unnatural”.
The stairs will actually take you all the way down and under the waterfall. There are not many waterfalls in Pennsylvania that allow for this type of access. There were even poncho’s left if you were worried about getting wet. The view from under the falls is pretty amazing and ultimately really relaxing. They have built a platform so you can easily walk under the waterfall, so it is definitely safe.
After exploring the main waterfall we wanted to see what else was in the area. There are actually two smaller waterfalls right upstream from the main waterfall. Both seem to be man-made, but still make for great photo opportunities. We also found the foundations of a few different buildings in the area, we assume at least of the these were the cottage of Fred McFeely.
While the main waterfall and two smaller falls are on public property, there are quite a lot of private property signs both up and down the creek, so we were not able to explore all that much. We did however really enjoy the day together and it was nice to get out of the city. While we were there we saw maybe 2-3 people total, and that was in the span of 4 hours!
The Buttermilk Falls Natural Area makes a great day trip from Pittsburgh and it is one of the easiest waterfalls to access in Pennsylvania, not to mention you can walk under it! If you are looking for an easy trip to see a few waterfalls the Buttermilk Falls Natural Area definitely is it!