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Buttermilk Falls, Crater Lake, Hemlock Pond

This route starts at NJ’s highest waterfall, Buttermilk Falls. Hike steeply uphill to the Appalachian Trail to Crater Lake and Hemlock Pond.

7.2 miles – Average trail surface; steep at first (so once more on the finish). Walking stick or trekking poles are useful if in case you have them. Rocky sections but in addition a variety of straightforward woods roads.

  • Tremendous brief: Simply climb up the stairs around the falls and luxuriate in. You’ll be able to continue on the BLUE path on the prime, but remember it is quite steep right from the beginning and greater than a stroll in the woods. Contemplate combining a stop at Buttermilk Falls with a brief hike at Tillman Ravine on the best way.
  • Medium: Buttermilk Falls path to an unmarked woods street to Hemlock Pond and return; roughly 5 miles.
  • Alternate Medium: Good 6.four loop to Rattlesnake Mtn, w/o Crater or Hemlock, is in Mountaineering
    New Jersey.
  • Optionally available add-on: Silver Spray Falls (Hidden Falls) trailhead is about .5 mile from Buttermilk Falls (stroll north along Mountain street, trailhead is unmarked, there’s a pull off space with room for 1, perhaps 2 automobiles). Then it’s about .25 miles from the trailhead to the falls. Cross the stream otherwise you’ll miss it. Making an attempt to find these falls is part of the fun, and other people typically don’t discover them on the first try.
  • Nearby: Tillman Ravine, Appalachian Trail – Crater Lake to Blue Mountain, Millbrook Village and Van Campens Glen,  Van Campens Glen.

Our two cents:

Buttermilk Falls is mere steps away from a parking zone and requires no mountaineering to see it, so this implies the world can get crowded.

A set of elaborate stairs could be climbed to get different views of the waterfall. The route under continues up previous the falls to Crater Lake and Hemlock Pond for an superior day trip.

Update 7/2019 – Re-hiked, description/online map up to date, added photographs and moved some older ones to their respective path weblog.  1/2018 – Added winter parking observe. 4/2016 – Minor description modifications; solely hiked to falls for photographs. 6/2013 – Path description and GPS coordinates revised, more pictures and a video of the falls added.

Buttermilk Falls after current rainfall:


Map# 121 of the Kittatinny Trails  map set. The portion of this route that loops round Crater Lake could be complicated; we strongly advocate to have the map set with you, and use our Buttermilk Falls on-line map.

Word: Google’s map knowledge has the Appalachian Path marked incorrectly in the area between Buttermilk Falls Path and Crater Lake. It does not cut up in two, one in every of these trails is an unmarked path.


A shorter alternate loop (6.four miles) from Buttermilk Falls might be found in Mountaineering
New Jersey.

An extended backpack on the Appalachian Path that skirts close to Crater Lake might be found in 50 Hikes in New Jersey. A superb guide to all the trails within the region is Kittatinny Trails.

Parking: N41.13702° W74.88917°

Mountain Rd, Layton, NJ 07851. This can be a park street and doesn’t include a road number. Lot can refill.

Lot is a medium-sized dust lot, reached by a mud street that has bumps and potholes – many are relatively deep.

Mountain Street is ok with a daily automotive in the event you take it sluggish – but for those who software round in a very candy experience chances are you’ll need to have another person drive 🙂 or park at either finish and stroll down the street to the falls.

Rt. 206 N, past Culver’s Lake. Left onto Struble Street. This becomes Dimon Street. Cross two parking areas on the left for Tillman Ravine.

At the intersection close to Walpack Cemetery, turn left onto Mountain Street. Hold happening Mountain Street until you see a large dust lot on the correct with Buttermilk Falls on the left.

Alternate Parking: Parking may be approached from the other course: North on Rt 602 by way of Millbrook, R onto park street 615 Walpack Flatbrook Street, R on Haney’s Mill, and cross a bridge on to Mountain Street, the falls parking is on the left a few mile in – though we feel the 206 means is simpler.

Winter Parking: Many roads in the area are gated in January or at first vital snowfall so you’ll have to stroll down Mountain Street to access the falls.

For roughly a mile street walk, use the alternate instructions above, park on the gate, and stroll from there. You may as well park on the opposite finish at Walpack Cemetery however from there it’s virtually a 2 mile stroll down Mountain Street.


None on the Falls parking. When you strategy from Rt. 206, there are outhouses at the two Tillman Ravine parking tons on Mountain Rd.

For those who strategy from the other path, there may be portas at Millbrook, and restrooms when it’s open. Through the hike there are two composting bogs within the parking zone at Crater Lake.

Hike Directions:

Overview: Buttermilk Falls (BLUE) – Appalachian Trail (WHITE) – Crater Lake (ORANGE?) – Appalachian Path (WHITE) – Hemlock Pond (ORANGE) – Blue Mt Lake Path (unmarked) – Woods Street (labeled as such on the map) – Buttermilk Falls (BLUE) – After viewing the falls, climb the steps extra views of the falls. At the prime,  cross a picket footbridge. Comply with BLUE (Buttermilk Falls). Instantly the trail could be very steep. Head steadily uphill with a number of degree sections.

1.1  – Proceed on Buttermilk Falls (BLUE), crossing unmarked Woods Street.

[Variation: turn right and follow the woods road to Hemlock Pond.]

Buttermilk Falls (BLUE) continues to go steeply up, over some rock slabs.

1.four – Pause on the climb up and switch round for a restricted view.

1.5  – Buttermilk Falls picket signal. Turn RIGHT, now following the Appalachian Path (WHITE). [Buttermilk Falls (BLUE) ends].

Shortly, the Appalachian Trail will turn instantly from the previous woods street it was following, then quickly turns left.

2.4  – Signal for Hemlock Pond (ORANGE). Flip LEFT to continue following Appalachian Trail (WHITE).

Word: The trails within the space round Crater Lake may be complicated. Plus, on older maps the path to Hemlock Pond and the trail that circles Crater Lake have been combined and marked ORANGE.

The present version of Kittatinny Trails (2016) now has the blaze shade of the trail round Crater Lake as “none” while Hemlock Pond continues to be ORANGE. The park map on the kiosk in the parking zone doesn’t denote colors for any trail.

Orange blazes are seen on the Crater Lake Path, nevertheless. We’ve up to date the description to make use of “Crater Lake (ORANGE?)” and “Hemlock Pond (ORANGE)”.

Shortly, comply with Appalachian Trail (WHITE) to the RIGHT, the place it’s co-joined with Crater Lake (ORANGE?). [Crater Lake (ORANGE?) also goes left].

2.7  – Comply with Appalachian Trail (WHITE) as it bears RIGHT, over a rock slab, to a bit bit of a view. [Crater Lake (ORANGE?) continues straight and meets with the A.T. in a bit.]

2.8  – Appalachian Path (WHITE) curves round and finally ends up back at Crater Lake (ORANGE?).

Flip RIGHT to now comply with Crater Lake (ORANGE?). There were orange blazes on this space.

[Continuing straight on Appalachian Trail (WHITE) is an alternate route. It is a short steep scramble down and will meet up with this route later, reducing the mileage a little.]

Proceed following Crater Lake (ORANGE?) a simple woods street. It’ll loop around and gently go downhill.

three.2  – Continue straight on Crater Lake (ORANGE?) the place the Appalachian Trail (WHITE) crosses it. Ignore any aspect trails.

3.7  – Crater Lake Parking zone. On the fringe of the lake are some rocky outcrops to take a seat on. Map kiosks and bogs are within the lot.

To proceed following Crater Lake (ORANGE?), search for the woods street past a metallic barricade in the parking zone. [The informal path near the lake is not the trail.] A power line is seen alongside the woods street.

3.9  – On the finish of the lake, Crater Lake (ORANGE?) bears LEFT. [A woods street goes proper and leads to the “Mount Paradise” space marked on the map.]

four.0  – Comply with Crater Lake (ORANGE?) because it turns RIGHT. [A woods road continues straight as well.]

In only a bit, it turns LEFT. Then flip RIGHT to now comply with the Appalachian Trail (WHITE) again.

4.1  – On the signal for Hemlock Pond, continue straight to now comply with Hemlock Pond (ORANGE). Path descends on a rocky footpath.

4.4  – Continue following Hemlock Pond (ORANGE) as the trail jogs to the RIGHT and then a quick LEFT when crossing an unmarked path.

At one other junction with a woods street Hemlock Pond will probably be seen ahead. Continue on Hemlock Pond (ORANGE) to the waters edge, the place there is a spot to take a seat and get a view of the pond.

Backtrack to the junction and turn RIGHT to now comply with Blue Mt Lake Path (unmarked), a simple woods street around Hemlock Pond. The pond is considerably seen by way of the timber on the best.

Move a woods street on the left [this leads to Blue Mountain Lakes.]

four.9  – On the finish of the Pond turn RIGHT. [A woods road goes left and leads to Blue Mountain Lakes.] A large rock outcrop makes a great break spot with good views of Hemlock Pond.

5.0  – Proceed alongside the pond edge after which flip LEFT down a faint trail.

5.1  – Continue straight, now following Woods Street – this is truly referred to as “Woods Road” on the map versus the other unnamed woods roads. [A woods road also goes right which circles around the other side of Hemlock Pond.]

5.three  – Swampy area on the appropriate with a stream crossing simply after. Rocks and logs shaped right into a bridge makes a simple crossing.

(This was more durable, particularly if the water was excessive. It might turn out to be that once more if the makeshift bridge ever washes away.)

6.2  – Turn LEFT and again comply with Buttermilk Falls (BLUE). Retrace the route steeply downhill again to Buttermilk Falls.

Hiked: 6/22/19. Full route.
Hiked: four/10/16. Silver Spray Falls and Buttermilk Falls only, for pictures.
Hiked: 6/15/13. Path Weblog: “Buttermilk Falls, Crater Lake and Hemlock Pond Loop“
Hiked: 10/4/09. Trail Blog: “Buttermilk Falls, Crater Lake, Hemlock Pond… and a bear hiking the AT”
Hiked: 4/10/06. Path Weblog: “Buttermilk Falls to AT to Crater Lake and Hemlock Pond“

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