Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Buttermilk Falls State Park

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Stone masons from Finger Lakes State Parks will be replacing and repairing steps, drainage and retaining elements of the lower gorge trail at Buttermilk Falls starting 10/25/16. The work is expected to last for several weeks or until a deep freeze sets in. Throughout this period, the Gorge Trail will be closed between the swimming area in the Lower Park up to the first overlook. The remainder of the Gorge Trail will be open and accessible from both Upper Buttermilk Falls (West King Road) and by hiking the rim trail to the crossover bridge.

112 E. Buttermilk Falls Rd.
(Off Rt. 13 S)
Ithaca, NY 14850
Latitude 42.417700
Longitude -76.523400

Buttermilk Falls State Park takes its name from the foaming cascade formed by Buttermilk Creek as it flows down the steep valley side toward Cayuga Lake. The upper park has a small lake, hiking trails through woodlands and along the gorge and rim, picnic areas and playing fields. The lower park has a campground, natural pool and playing fields, beyond which is Larch Meadows. Larch Meadows is a wetland area through which a nature trail winds. Park activities, including tours through Buttermilk gorge, are offered weekly from July 4th through Labor Day.

Pavilion Reservation Information

Current Water Quality - Beach Results


Household pets only; caged or on a leash not more than 6 feet. Certificate proof of rabies inoculation. Not allowed in bathing areas.  For campers, if your site allows pets, there is a two-pet maximum.

Mailing Address
c/o Robert H. Treman State Park
105 Enfield Falls Rd.Ithaca, NY 14850

Hours of Operation

  • Park open all year.
    Vehicle entry fee collected from mid-April to mid-October.
  • 2016 Camping Season: May 20 - October 10

    Please note within the camping season time frame, some loops/sites may open later or close earlier. For more details, please call the park or visit
  • Trails Update: The Gorge Trail and all other trails are open. Please contact 607-273-3440 for condition updates.

    Before your visit, please contact the park office for an updated status.

  • 2016 Swimming Season: 7/2 - 9/5: 11AM - 7PM, Weekends only
    *Swimming at Buttermilk Falls is dependent on the weather conditions, and the schedule is subject to change. Before traveling, we strongly recommend contacting the park office to confirm swimming is open.
  • Shelters Reservations: May 1 - October 31
  • Deer hunting, bow only, is permitted in season.

Fees & Rates

Most New York State Parks charge a vehicle use fee to enter the facility. Fees vary by location and season. A list of entry fees and other park use fees is available below. For fees not listed or to verify information, please contact the park directly.

Your key to all season enjoyment of state parks is our season's pass. For $65, the Empire Passport provides you unlimited day use vehicle entry into most of our parks. Apply on-line or call your favorite park for more information.

  • Vehicle Entry Fee Collection
  • Cars: $7
    Non-Commercial Bus Fee: $35
    Commercial Bus Fee: $75
    Seasonal Bus Permits: $75

    4/30 - 6/24 from 10 AM - 6 PM, weekends & holidays
    6/25 - 9/5 from 10 AM - 6 PM, daily
    9/6 - 10/16 from 10  AM - 6 PM, weekends & holidays

    *Overflow lot fees collected via automated pay station.

  • Cabins
  • daily rate is 1/4 the weekly charge (two night minimum)
    Per week: $210 (one week minimum Sat.-Sat.)

    $2.75 Walk-in fee
    $9 Reservation fee
    $7 Non-NYS Resident fee per night or $28/week

  • Camping
  • $15-$19/night

    *Additional $5/night for out-of-state patrons

  • Peddling Fee
  • $400
  • Shelters/Pavilions
  • Upper shelter - enclosed: $100 (flat rate)


Firewood source maps show a 50-mile radius from which untreated firewood may be moved to this campground. For more information see firewood restrictions.

The Finger Lakes Environmental Education Department offers scheduled gorge tours and educational programs at Buttermilk Falls, Robert H. Treman, Taughannock Falls and Watkins Glen State Parks. All park programs are free and open to the public, no registration required, although a parking fee may be charged.

If you have a group (10 or more) that is interested in scheduling its own gorge tour or educational program at one of the above parks or at another Finger Lakes State Park please contact the office at (607) 387-7041 ext 131 or email

The Finger Lakes Story Sparkling lakes, breathtaking waterfalls and rolling pastoral land dominate the landscape of the Finger Lakes Region. Over thousands of years, gigantic glaciers and coursing streams have carved this landscape. The most recent glacier moved through shallow river valleys leaving in its place deep, steep-sided troughs. When the glaciers receded north 10,000 years ago, water filled these new troughs, creating the 11 Finger Lakes. Since that time water has flowed down glacially steepened hillsides carrying debris that cut away at soft sedimentary rock to form our beautiful and unique gorges.

Gorge Tours provide information and insights about individual park history, ecology, gorge formation and geology. Tours last approximately one and one half hours.

The Buttermilk Falls Gorge Tour - You'll ascend approximately 600 feet on the gorge trail from its beginning at Buttermilk Falls by the time it ends just past the 42ft "Pinnacle Rock". The gorge trail follows Buttermilk Creek through its cool, moist, gorge past deep pools, sculpted rocks and several waterfalls. There are many beautiful stone steps on this trail making it a difficult hike for some visitors.

Educational Programs are offered about a variety of topics.

Birds ● Fossils ● Reptiles and Amphibians ● Insects ● Invasive Species ● Mammals ● Trees● Park Histories ● Animal Tracks ● Wilderness Survival

If don't see a specific topic please call or email us with your questions.


Deer hunting, bow only, is permitted in season. Please reference the NYS DEC Hunting and Trapping Guide for current dates and rules for hunting.

2015-16 hunting schedule & rules/regulations for Finger Lakes State Parks & Historic Sites

Note: A valid New York State hunting license with the proper hunting stamps will serve as the regional hunting permit. Except where otherwise stated, this is the only permit necessary.

Note: Hunters at Buttermilk Falls must sign in each day at the park office or upper contact station each day. If a deer is taken, hunters must call the Robert H. Treman park office - (607) 273-3440 - to report sex of deer and approximate age of deer.

Safety zones and restricted areas are posted to ensure the safety of other park patrons and regional personnel. Signs will be posted at all parks during hunting season to notify patrons of this activity. Handguns will not be permitted in any of the parks. No trapping is allowed.

For additional information, please contact: (607) 273-3440

Sat 03 Dec
First Saturday Hike
Saturday, December 3, 2016 09:30 AM - 12:30 AM
Buttermilk Falls State Park
(607) 387-7041 ext 131

Meet at the main entrance parking lot on Rte. 13. The hike will go up the Rim Trail to the Bear Trail, out to Lake Treman and back to the main parking lot. Total hike mileage 3.5 miles. Hike length and exact route subject to change due to weather conditions.

Registration: Required

Get Directions

Did You Know? This park is home to the Grey Petaltail Dragonfly, a species that flew with the dinosaurs!

Amenities, Activities & Information

  • Amenities
  • Cabins (Accessible)
  • Camper Recreation
  • Campsites (Accessible)
  • Grills
  • Nature Trails
  • Pavilions (Accessible)
  • Picnic Tables (Accessible)
  • Playgrounds
  • Playing Fields
  • Scenic Views (Accessible)
  • Showers (Accessible)
  • Swimming Beach (Accessible)
  • Tent/Trailer Sites (Accessible)
  • Waterfalls (Accessible)
  • Activities
  • Fishing (Accessible)
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Recreation Programs (Accessible)