OverviewDo you want to see a nice waterfall in NJ? Do you want to be challenged by a short, but steep trail right here in the Garden State? Do you want to climb one of NJ's 3 mountains that rise over 1600 ft.? Well then head to Buttermilk Falls.
The Buttermilk Falls trail is a 2 mile trail that starts by looking at the falls, and then heads steeply practically the whole time up to it's finish at the Appalachian Trail high up on Mt. Paradise. The falls are right there at the road and trailhead. Many people come just to look at the falls, and take some photos. There is a steep set of constructed steps that brings you to the top of the falls, where there is a viewing platform.
From there the trail heads off into the woods, marked with blue blazes. There's also a green blazed trail that starts at the viewing platform.
Getting ThereIt's not hard to get to the trailhead. Coming from central NJ, you work your way onto Rt. 206N in Sussex County, past Sparta, NJ. You'll be going through a section of Stokes State Forest, though Buttermilk Falls is actually in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. On Rt. 206 you'll see the Stokes State Forest office on the right hand side, just past this you make a left turn onto Struble Rd. You follow this road until you come to a unique 4-way intersection. There will be a cemetery straight ahead. You make a left turn at this intersection, follow the road and the trailhead will be on your left, with the falls visible, and there will be parking on your right.
Route DescriptionThe trail starts as a series of constructed steps that goes quickly and steeply up to the top of the falls, where there is a viewing platform. The Buttermilk Falls trail then goes to the right; you follow the blue blazes. Right away you begin going uphill, it will challenge you're thinking that are not any steep trails in NJ. You go along uphill through a beautiful forest, hearing what seems like a legion of squirrels running around all over the place. Eventually you come to a nice little ridge that provides some views. (A fire damaged the trees along the right side?) This little stretch on the ridge is one of the only real flat parts of the trail. You then go back into the woods, and go back uphill. The trail intersects with the Woods Road trail after the open ridge section. You keep going straight, following the blue blazes. There's a rocky section towards the end, that if you look back provides some nice views. At 2 miles the trail terminates at its junction with the Appalachian Trail.
Now to get to Mt. Paradise you go right on the A.T. (Southbound). Very shortly the A.T. swings right around a curve and there is a wide path going straight (slightly left) ahead. Follow this wide path, and after a short distance there will be another path going left. Turn onto this path, and follow it towards its end. Turn left again and you'll see the radio tower a short distance ahead on the left. Walk around a bit, and you can say you climbed NJ's 3rd highest mountain. Before you head back down Buttermilk Falls, you might want to check out Crater Lake, NJ on the A.T. It's Southbound on the A.T. from Mt. Paradise. So when you work your way back from the radio tower summit to the A.T. you go left, and after a mile or so you'll see Crater Lake on the left. This section of the A.T. is really easy going, so it's worth it to go see Crater Lake.