Buttermilk Falls Natural Area

570 Valley Brook Rd., New Florence, PA 15944
40o 25' 9.687" N 79o 4' 4.258" W

Facilities | Directions | Map/Brochure

History

This site features an impressive 45 foot waterfall and scenic woodland. The 48-acre natural area was donated to Indiana County Parks in 1995 by the Keystone-Conemaugh Group, owners of the nearby Conemaugh Generating Station. As a natural area the site has been set aside to protect both typical and unique plant and animal communities and to protect outstanding examples of natural beauty.

Between 1931 and 1956 the property was owned by Fred McFeely, grandfather of Fred Rogers of children's television fame. McFeely, a wealthy industrialist from Latrobe, PA, utilized the property as a retreat. His estate featured a cottage, horse stables, a three car garage, outbuildings and a swimming area in the creek above the falls. Mr. Rogers often visited the site as a child. Stone foundations and retaining walls from the estate are visible at the site. Several photos of the McFeely estate from the 1940's were provided to Indiana County Parks courtesy of Rita Nist. Visit our "Fred Rogers page" to learn more about one of western Pennsylvania's most cherished sons.

Waterfalls the scale of Buttermilk Falls are uncommon in western Pennsylvania. Falls occur when a stream wears away an easily erodible layer of rock, but then encounters a resistent layer. The resistant layer erodes at a slower rate than the surrounding rock, forming a waterfall. At Buttermilk Falls, a resistant layer of sandstone underlays easily erodible shale. Buttermilk Falls is in the Hires Run valley, a tributary to the Conemaugh River.

Facilities

In keeping with the mission of a natural area, development at Buttermilk Falls is limited. A restroom, small picnic pavilion, parking area, falls overlook viewing area, and a hiking trail are available at the falls. The picnic pavilion is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Directions

Buttermilk Falls is located two miles south of Route 22 at Clyde (one mile west of Armagh). Follow Clay Pike Road South (TR 716) to Valley Brook road. Veer left onto Valley Brook Road and proceed 1/2 mile to falls parking area. A directional map with written directions is available.

Map and Brochure

A detailed map of Buttermilk Falls in PDF format is available. This is a large file that may take several moments to appear on your screen. The image may be difficult to read on the screen but will clearly show all text and graphics when printed or enlarged. A brochure is also available that contains information about the geology of the area and some of the interesting local history association with the falls.

 

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