The other day was National Public Lands Day (September 22nd) AND unbelievably already the first day of autumn here in the East Coast (where did time go?!)!! I felt like I had a desire to get away for a little bit in nature and I felt like I didn’t want to wait anymore to make plans with people to do a little nature getaway so I did a spontaneous leave from my home at 3pm to Buttermilk Falls. Sometimes, when you are excited about making plans and having them on your bucket list and you have a certain free day to get to it, going solo is the best time to accomplish it.
I hit the road solo for almost 2 hours to go travel to New Jersey‘s tallest waterfall called the Buttermilk Falls, located up north in Layton, NJ. These waterfalls are part of the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area and this waterfall area is perfect for hiking trails and bird-watching. Visiting these falls don’t require a hike though.
Getting to the waterfall is quite a challenge though but in a way it IS worth it, just take precaution. Once you drive through uphill around a mountain through curvy, winding roads within forests and see very few houses within these areas, you would have to find Struble Road and take a left there. Upon entering this road, you will go through Dimon Road, as you approach closer to your destination.
The dirt road will then get very rocky and feel a lot more tighter, you will pass through beautiful views of hills and nature but it gets hidden by many trees as you drive up more. This road also consists of many potholes, mostly deep and huge enough to really pop tires. The car I drove was not an SUV and pick up truck like I saw most people have taken with them to see the falls, so I took the risk to drive SLOWLY over these gigantic potholes and turn my car to the direction that would not hit the pot holes directly and take precaution if a car was coming the opposite side since this road is not marked by a dividing line. I would have been screwed if any of my tires did get affected by those scary potholes.
Once I saw a parking lot open to the right and the falls to the left, which will be highly visible, I parked my car into that parking lot and got to photograph and see the waterfall.
These narrow waterfalls were not as tall as I thought they would be, however, standing at about 90 ft high. They are certainly not as tall as the tallest waterfall in the country, which is in Yosemite National Park and which I had the pleasure to visit back in July, but these falls become unique as you go above.
Above the waterfall, you can hike some wooden staircases built with rails (they are pretty steep especially as you walk on down) to see an upper view of the waterfall, which I thought was one of the prettiest areas I’ve seen in New Jersey. There are also viewing platforms to stand on to see the falls up close from above. The whole area reminded me right out of a fairy tale or gave me The Hobbit vibes with moss embedded in the dirt and intertwined with tree roots. The streams fell gracefully down in elevation to form the waterfall (some may look like swimholes, but they are not! They are prohibited to be swam in).
The green luscious views around the waterfall was breathtaking and relaxing at most. Although I had plans to hike further up in even a short route (although the trails can go up higher at about 1100 feet in elevation gain when you get to the top), it got dark easily as it’s shaded by many trees and since I arrived around 5pm to the park. This place is a perfect place to get your hiking exercise on in New Jersey! Also, I know there is an awesome view to catch up top of the adjacent mountains.
Also, I highly recommend everyone try going solo to explore! It leaves you with no excuses to not see a place you’ve always wanted to see and it’s very liberating. Not only do you learn to navigate for yourself and rely on your own mind to get to places but it will reinforce the idea that you can get out of your comfort zone. You’ll find yourself meeting new people (especially if you ask them to photograph you) and feeling at peace when you need it!