Exploring Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park

Buttermilk Falls along the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park is a cascading waterfall along the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail, 1/4 mile north of the Rockport Access to the park and rail trail.

Buttermilk Falls in Carbon County, PA.
Buttermilk Falls in Carbon County, PA.

How to Find Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park

The closest point you can drive to and hike/bike to the falls is located at the Rockport Access to Lehigh Gorge State Park, located at GPS coordinates 40.96650, -75.75529.

Rockport Access parking lot at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Rockport Access parking lot at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

You’ll note on the map below this is also the closest point from which to hike/bike to Luke’s Falls, located 1/4 mile south of the Rockport Access parking area.

Map to Buttermilk Falls Lukes Falls and the Rockport Road tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Map to Buttermilk Falls, Luke’s Falls, and the Rockport Road tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

The trail is wide and smooth, as you’d expect from a rail trail, and if you’re on foot like I was the day these photos were taken, you’ll reach Buttermilk Falls in about 10 minutes, walking at a comfortable pace.

The Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail near Rockport.
The Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail near Rockport.

Experiencing Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park

It’s difficult to say how tall Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park really is, because it seems to extend all the way to the sky!

Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park extends upwards as far as the eye an see.

If I had to put a number to it, I’d venture to guess Buttermilk Falls is in the neighborhood of 60-70 feet tall.

Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park in October.
Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park in October.

As far as ease of access, it doesn’t get much easier than hiking/biking to Buttermilk Falls at Lehigh Gorge State Park, unless you are talking about roadside waterfalls.

Buttermilk Falls sign on rail trail bridge below falls.
Buttermilk Falls sign on rail trail bridge below falls.

Other Points of Interest Near Buttermilk Falls

Aside from Luke’s Falls, which I already mentioned, another nearby point of interest is an abandoned tunnel located back near the Rockport Access parking area (see map above) at GPS coordinates 40.96631, -75.75677.

Entrance to the abandoned tunnel along Rockport Road at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Entrance to the abandoned tunnel along Rockport Road at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

The tunnel is fairly short (you can see one end from the other), but quite low in the center, and I had to hunch down quite a bit to get through to the far side.

Inside the abandoned Rockport Road tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Inside the abandoned Rockport Road tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

To be honest I am not sure what this tunnel was used for – it seems far too low and rough-hewn to have served any railroad purpose.

Inside the abandoned tunnel near the Rockport Access to the Lehigh Gorge Trail.
Inside the abandoned tunnel near the Rockport Access to the Lehigh Gorge Trail.

From the far side you have a clear view down to the Rockport Access parking area, the rail trail, and the Lehigh River.

Mouth of tunnel overlooking Rockport Access parking lot.
Mouth of tunnel overlooking Rockport Access parking lot.

Nearby Attractions

Hickory Run State Park is a magnificent 15,990-acre recreational area adjacent to Lehigh Gorge State Park in Carbon County.

Stametz Dam along the Shades of Death Trail at Hickory Run State Park.
Stametz Dam at Hickory Run State Park.

Featuring more than 40 miles of hiking trails, picturesque waterfalls, unique natural areas, and spectacular scenic overlooks, Hickory Run State Park has a LOT to offer!

A lone tree standing in the Boulder Field at Hickory Run State Park.
A lone tree standing in the Boulder Field at Hickory Run State Park.

Turn Hole Tunnel is an abandoned railroad tunnel located near the Glen Onoko access to Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Looking through the Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park towards the north portal.
The abandoned Turn Hole Tunnel at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

And directly above Turn Hole Tunnel you’ll find Moyer’s Rock Overlook, offering a commanding view of the Lehigh Gorge.

Moyer's Rock Overlook on an October afternoon at Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Moyer’s Rock Overlook on an October afternoon at Lehigh Gorge State Park.

If it’s more waterfalls you seek, the 27 Must-See Waterfalls in the Poconos is exactly the guide you need!

Dingmans Falls in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania.
Dingmans Falls in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania.

The Mount Pisgah Trail in Jim Thorpe is a steep but easy-to-follow trail leading up Mount Pisgah to a pair of fantastic Carbon County vistas.

The Lehigh Gorge Overlook at the top of the Mount Pisgah Trail in Jim Thorpe.
The Lehigh Gorge Overlook at the top of the Mount Pisgah Trail in Jim Thorpe.

Tank Hollow Overlook in Carbon County offers visitors a stunning view of a bend in the Lehigh River in the western Poconos.

Panoramic view of Tank Hollow Overlook in the Lehigh Gorge.
Panoramic view of Tank Hollow Overlook in the Lehigh Gorge.

Riding the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Jim Thorpe is one of the best ways to explore the western Poconos, especially during fall foliage season!

The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Jim Thorpe, PA.
The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Jim Thorpe, PA.

Did you enjoy this article?

If so, be sure to like and follow PA Bucket List on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Pinterest to learn more about the best things to see and do in Pennsylvania!

Click on any of the icons below to get connected to PA Bucket List on social media.


Pennsylvania’s Best Travel Blog!

Rusty Glessner is an award-winning photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here