Exploring Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County

Buttermilk Falls in Beaver Falls Pennsylvania.

Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County (not to be confused with Buttermilk Falls in Indiana County) is a magnificent waterfall in a rather unexpected, urban location.

One of the best features of this Buttermilk Falls is that it is one a handful of waterfalls in Pennsylvania you can stand behind!

The author behind Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County PA.
The author behind Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County, PA.

Directions to Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County

Located just a few hundred yards from the Beaver Falls exit of the PA Turnpike, Buttermilk Falls is situated in the Buttermilk Falls Natural Area, a Beaver County park that is also home to a historic stone quarry.

A map to Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County Pennsylvania.
A map to Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County.

If navigating by GPS, use coordinates 40.81316, -80.32576 to find the entrance to the Buttermilk Falls Natural Area along Route 18, just south of the Turnpike exit.

Buttermilk Falls Natural Area entrance sign in Beaver Falls PA.
Buttermilk Falls Natural Area entrance sign in Homewood.

The lower parking lot is located on your left as you first turn off of Route 18 and into the park.

Lower parking lot at Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County.
Lower parking lot at Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County.

The upper parking lot is located 200 yards further up 1st Avenue, on your right across from a church.

Church near upper parking area for Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County PA.
Church near upper parking area for Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County.

Hiking to Buttermilk Falls

The hike to Buttermilk Falls from the lower parking area covers only 250 yards, and it follows an undulating and easy-to-navigate footpath.

The Buttermilk Falls Trail at Buttermilk Falls Natural Area.
The Buttermilk Falls Trail at Buttermilk Falls Natural Area.

There are a few slight inclines and declines where what look like old railroad ties are used as steps.

Steps along the Buttermilk Falls TRail in Beaver Falls PA.
Steps along the Buttermilk Falls Trail in Beaver Falls.

Near the midpoint of the trail you’ll pass the ruins of the Homewood Quarry, an old sandstone quarry.

The Homewood Quarry at Buttermilk Falls Natural Area n Beaver Falls Pennsylvania.
The Homewood Quarry at Buttermilk Falls Natural Area in Beaver County.

An informational display next to the trail goes more into detail about the history of the Homewood Quarry.

History of the Homewood Quarry at what is now Buttermilk Falls Natural Area in Beaver County.
History of the Homewood Quarry at what is now Buttermilk Falls Natural Area in Beaver County.

Photographing Buttermilk Falls

Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County is extremely photogenic from just about every conceivable angle.

On your initial approach from the lower parking area, the trail brings you up the right side of Clarks Run, and from there you can work yourself behind and around the falls in a counterclockwise motion.

Side view of Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County Pennsylvania.
Side view of Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County.

Use an abundance of caution when going behind Buttermilk Falls, as the rocks can be very slippery.

The cavern behind Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County Pennsylvania.
The cavern behind Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County.

Standing behind Buttermilk Falls, you can almost forget that you are looking in the direction of the busy PA Turnpike just a few hundred yards away.

View from behind Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County Pennsylvania.
View from behind Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County.

Continuing around to the bank opposite the trail, you’ll find what I think are some of the most outstanding views of Buttermilk Falls.

Buttermilk Falls in Beaver Falls Pennsylvania.
Buttermilk Falls in Homewood.

In fact, from that angle Buttermilk Falls reminds me of Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park, what I consider to be THE most photogenic waterfall in western PA.

An autumn view of Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.
Cucumber Falls at Ohiopyle State Park.

When Clarks Run is flowing well, Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County can certainly hold its own in the natural beauty category.

A summer morning at Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County.
A summer morning at Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County.

Viewing Buttermilk Falls from Above

From the upper parking lot across from the church, follow the sign to the short (less than 50 yards) trail leading to the top of Buttermilk Falls.

Sign at the upper parking lot for Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County.
Sign at the upper parking lot for Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County.

Just before you reach the falls view, you’ll see this “Swim At Your Own Risk” sign.

Swim At Your Own Risk sign at Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County PA.
Swim At Your Own Risk sign at Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County.

The upper view also gives you a clear view of the railroad bridge that passes over Clarks Run just upstream from Buttermilk Falls.

View of Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County from the upper observation area.
View of Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County from the upper observation area.

The trail continues to a spot literally at the top of Buttermilk Falls – use EXTREME caution if you venture out to the edge for a peak.

View from the top of Buttermilk Falls in Beaver Falls Pennsylvania.
View from the top of Buttermilk Falls in Homewood.

Still not convinced you need to visit Buttermilk Falls in Beaver County?

Then check out this video!


7 Pennsylvania Waterfalls You Can Stand Behind will introduce you to several more waterfalls in PA that you can literally stand behind!

My daughter behind the upper tier of Round Island Run Falls.
A young explorer behind the upper tier of Round Island Run Falls in Clinton County.

McConnells Mill State Park in neighboring Lawrence County is home to several waterfalls, a covered bridge, and a historic mill from which the park takes its name.

Rusty Glessner at Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park
The author at Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park

Big Run Falls in nearby New Castle is a 20 foot tall waterfall at the heart of an abandoned amusement park turned nature park.

Big Run Falls in Lawrence County Pennsylvania.
Big Run Falls in New Castle, Lawrence County.

The Ultimate Pennsylvania Waterfalls Guide will provide you with directions to HUNDREDS of PA’s best waterfalls, from all corners of the Keystone State.

The Ultimate Pennsylvania Waterfall Guide created by Rusty Glessner
The Ultimate PA Waterfalls Guide by Rusty Glessner.

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

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