Just a few miles southwest of downtown Ithaca, NY, Buttermilk Falls State Park is 811 acres of shady woods, wetland meadows, and no less than 10 waterfalls cascading down a narrow gorge toward Cayuga Lake. It also makes a great place for camping near New York. The park was designated in 1924, yet its namesake cascade, Buttermilk Falls, was named as early as 1866, as it was likened to “a mass of thick, frothy foam” as it tumbles down a 165-foot slab of layered stone. This makes Buttermilk Falls the park’s main attraction, and the wide pool beneath the falls is a popular swimming hole for cooling off in the summer months. The park’s many other falls, ranging in height from 5 to 35 feet, are viewable from some of the 5.5 miles of hiking trails along the Buttermilk Creek gorge. The park offers free guided gorge tours and interpretive programs.
The campground at Buttermilk Falls is small, offering only 25 tent and RV sites and 18 rental cabins. Campsites are mostly back-in, and can accommodate vehicles/trailers only to a maximum of 20 feet. Sites are equipped with picnic tables and fire pits; hookups are not available. Of the cabins available, visitors can choose from historic cabins with electricity and modern cabins sans electricity. There is one ADA accessible campsite and cabin available. Campground amenities include a bathhouse with showers, a picnic shelter, and a trash/recycling station. A trailhead in the campground provides walking access to the park’s trail network, viewpoints, playground and ball fields. Dogs are permitted, but must remain leashed, and only in pet-friendly areas. Campsite rates are $15–$24/night; cabins are $52–$60/night with two-night minimum. The park also charges an entry fee.
My husband and I ended up spending a couple nights here (in 2017) upon a recommendation from a friend- boy did the park and campground live up to expectations. We were told it was a small campground, pretty quiet, and better than most state park campgrounds due to it's size- that was absolutely correct. It was SO nice to have a small campground to stay in! This park isn't terribly busy, but busy enough that it was necessary to 'escape' at night and relax :)
We were happy with the sites- nothing too special. The real highlight is the park itself! The hiking trails are nice! Not too challenging, but very scenic. Walking along the water from the upper and lower entrances is great! If you walk Gorge trail and Rim trail you connect to make a nice loop and see just about everything the park has to offer. The waterfalls are wonderful- pretty busy so I would recommend going early or later near dusk if you want a more solitary experience. It is very cool to listen to the water at night as well :)
The campground is amazing and GO SEE HOSE FALLS!
This place has amazing hiking trails with great waterfalls. Campsite was clean and bathrooms were ok. Plenty of room on site.
Great camping if you love hiking, trail running or waterfalls.
Been here in all the seasons, each is beautiful. Campgrounds are wooded. Pretty basic facilities, nice though. None of the tent sites have exceptional views but you’re a short walk from the creek/gorges. Reserve ahead of time in summer. Lots of woods, wildlife here and in the many other state parks close by to keep all ages occupied.
I drove in on a Monday and was possibly going to stay till Thursday but ended up leaving Tuesday morning. And for purely camping purposes I'm glad I did.
First let me say that the staff and falls/hiking were top notch and the two stars do not reflect them but the camping instead. The sites are close together which is ok for short stays but I prefer some space. The hill you climb to the camp sites is riddled with pot holes. The bathroom was not very upkept/ updated and kinda dirty. The road noise at night (from rt13 below) and the sound of the bathroom door slamming did not help with getting a good night sleep.
I had picked this campground over Treman because of proximity to Ithaca but the gravel road getting to the campsites kinda kill any time advantage you would have. With no real time savings ,a lot of noise pollution during day and night and being very close to your neighbors I would not recommend staying here unless you stay in a cabin or as a last resort.
Been coming here since I was a kid. The falls are always fun, despite the lack of impressive height. The fact they're integrated into the swimming area is a unique feature.
The camping itself is typical of upstate NYS parks, earthy, woodsy and not crammed too close together. Location in the Finger Lakes region makes it a good base camp for winery tours. Recommended.
Picturesque Finger Lakes state park with a day’s worth of hiking trails on site. The campground is wooded and lovely but the tent sites don’t have views of the falls or anything, couldn’t hear water at night. Deer outside the tent, wildflowers through summer, great leaves in fall.
This is an excellent campground because it has plenty to do for everyone. There are a lot of amenities on the actual campgrounds such as fields for playing games or taking a stroll but there are also gorges and waterfalls you can hike to!
This campground is really nice, with lots of outdoor activities to do. I really enjoyed hiking, swimming and seeing all the beautiful waterfalls. They do have a "upper" and "lower" park. The lower park is where you will find the campground, swimming areas, and a big open field. My family and I enjoyed throwing our Frisbee around in this field, and also saw people playing flag football. The upper park has a lot of really cool hiking trails, a lake, another big field and an area that has picnic tables. My family and I spent half our time in the lower park, and the other half in the upper park. We mostly went to the upper park for the hiking. We went mid-July, and we did see that they offer some park tours if you are interested in that. I believe they take you on a tour through the Buttermilk gorge, and along some of the hiking trails. We opted out of the tours, and just went by ourselves. The swimming area/falls area was pretty packed, and the parking in that area was pretty jammed packed. The campground itself was OK. Nothing too special about it, and not much privacy between each site. We reserved our area online a few weeks before we went, and opted for an area that seemed out of the way and private- however, it wasn't. Luckily, we were hardly at our campsite so we didn't mind that much. There are bathrooms on site that also have showers, which is nice. They do have some stores close by, but nothing within the park. We stopped by a store called Wegmans before we came into the campground, and got all out food supplies there. I would maybe call in advanced if you want to see the falls, just to make sure there is water…apparently people were saying there isn't always water in the swimming hole, and waterfalls year round.