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Backpacker Magazine – August 2010

Top 3 Trailhead Pub Hikes: Buttermilk Falls SP, NY

Explore waterfall-filled Gorges with fossils preserved in the shale walls.

by: Robert Todd Felton

Deschutes River Trail, OR | The Barr Trail, CO | Buttermilk Falls SP, NY

The Ithaca area harbors more than 100 gorges within a 10-mile radius. Hike into the best of them on this four-mile lollipop. The route meanders through Buttermilk State Park along the 10 waterfalls of Buttermilk Creek and around Lake Treman. Starting at the lower park entrance, climb the steep, rocky gorge up the west side of 160-foot Buttermilk Falls. Look for 400-million-year-old fossils of sea creatures in the 50-foot walls. At the upper park entrance (mile .5), continue on the Bear Trail another .75 mile to the Lake Treman Trail, an easy 1.5-mile loop around the 25-acre lake. When all of this water makes you thirsty for something else, return to your car on the Rim Trail (via the Bear Trail with an over-gorge view) and head south for .5 mile on NY 13. Turn left into Ithaca Beer Company to quaff a tall frosty.

Try the CascaZilla red ale for monster hops and caramel malt. (607) 273-0766;

From Ithaca,
go two miles on NY 13. Turn left on East Buttermilk
Falls Rd.

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Reader Rating: -


B. Gordon
Sep 21, 2010

Love Cascazilla but be sure to try Ithaca's Excelsior Brute. It just won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Fest. Yum.

Sep 17, 2010


Sep 17, 2010


Sep 17, 2010

I looked for 400 million year old fossils, but could only find 4,000 year old ones. Maybe the radio carbon dating goofed up. Maybe there's an error in the assumptions for radioactive decay rates since no knows what those rates were when they first began. Especially since different climate affects those rates in ways we don't even know, and I'm sure we'd all agree climate is changing. They were deposited by "Noah's" flood.

Sep 16, 2010

My wife & I did this in July. Beautiful hike, with lots of ways to shorten or lengthen it. And Cascazilla is so good I'd drink it for breakfast!


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