Buttermilk Falls State Park is a few miles south of Ithaca. We took the Gorge Trail, about 3/4 mile that starts at the bottom of Buttermilk Falls and climbs upwards. There are several places where you must navigate sections of stone-dirt steps. Although the distance is short, the hike here is somewhat strenuous because of the steep steps you must climb. Along the way, you'll see a variety of small pretty waterfalls as you ascend along Buttermilk Creek.
At the end of the Gorge Trail, we continued southward on the Bear Trail, a mostly woodsy-type hike of about 3/4 mile. This leads to a small parking lot and picnic and restroom area, which then leads to Lake Treman. The lake water was muddy brown due to heavy rain two days earlier. It would probably have looked much prettier otherwise. The path leads across a dam, that makes for a nice photo-op. There is a trail around the lake, about 1.5 miles. We did not do that trail this time, but instead returned on the Bear Trail and Gorge Trail to our parking lot.
I have visited Buttermilk, Taughannock Falls, and Watkins Glen. They each have a special quality that sets them apart to me. Taughannock is like one giant gorge with one spectacular waterfall (assuming there hasn't been a recent drought). Watkins Glen is an area of many small gorges and pools. And Buttermilk is an area of many small waterfalls. I enjoyed all 3 parks. Buttermilk gave me the most strenuous workout. It took about 3 hours to complete our visit.
There was supposed to be a fee of $7 per vehicle to enter the lot, but no one was there to collect the fee; perhaps we entered early enough to miss the collection?
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