Mr. Rodger’s Buttermilk Falls Natural Area
Location: 570 Valley Brook Rd, New Florence, PA 15944. Turn off 22 onto Clay Pike Road, drive south for about 1.4 miles, then turn left onto Valley Brook Road. Continue South for another .6 miles.
I should note that the road gets very skinny, and really seems like you are going the wrong way. My wife and I were convinced we took the wrong way, but then we saw the sign for the park.
I should also note that there is a nearby road named “Southwell road” that should be avoided by anyone driving a car they like. It is very rough, and even the “No winter maintenance” sign is worn out.
Parking: There are at least a half-dozen parking spots near the entrance, and more parking in a lot nearby, but I can’t imagine the lot being full, as there was only one other car when we arrived. Parking is free.
Fees: The park and parking are free.
Directions on PCs: Locate the Google map below the search box on the right-hand side of this webpage. Click “Get Directions” on the map pin details.
Directions on Tablets and Mobile Phones: Locate the Google map near the bottom of this page, just below the search box. Click “Get Directions” on the map pin details.
The trail down to the falls starts off with a paved gentle slope, with little signs along the way that show some of Mr. Rodger’s best quotes. The first one said “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”, and the quote matched our weather exactly.
Near the end of the paved trail, there is a wonderful overlook where you can get a view of the falls from above. The overlook even includes a child-friendly viewing panel where children can view the falls through plexiglass, complete with a hand railing above. How thoughtful.
At the end of the paved trail, the slope increases greatly, and the paved portion ends. The now gravel-covered trail leads to the top of the falls and flows around the source of the water to a wooden bridge.
The bridge itself is quite the sight to behold, and I think they might have overbuilt it a tad, but I don’t fault the builders in the least.
Safety fencing begins on the bridge and is quite sturdy, sure to keep kiddos from wandering too far off in this potentially dangerous place.
The bridge leads to a set of sturdy steps, again with safety fencing to keep visitors on the trail. There were lots of little ledges every few steps which offer a great place to view the falls.
The walkway wraps around the hill and leads under the falls.
If you are planning on going under the falls, you will probably get wet, as the water drips down the entire width of the walkway.
It’s worth getting wet to have a look out from under the falls. There are dozens of carvings into the rock behind the viewing platform and the sound of the water flowing is very relaxing.
I found a tiny waterfall below the falls. One of the rocks that cleaved off from the ledge above formed a small channel that focused the water over a foot or so drop.
After enjoying a few moments at, under, and around the falls we walked back up to the top and had a look around. There were lots of remnants of human activity from a by-gone era, including small dams and old foundations.
I really enjoyed the falls more than I had planned to, and I will definitely go back if I’m in the area.
Other Attractions in the Area:
- Johnstown Flood Museum
- Johnstown Flood National Memorial at the former South Forks Dam site.