Nyack, New York might be best known as the home of the Palisades Mall, one of the largest shopping malls in the country. However, less than a mile from this large shopping area is a fantastic place to go hiking.
Buttermilk Falls Park is one of the gems of the Rockland County park system. This 75-acre park was opened to the public in 1975 and features a fantastic one-mile hiking trail with a beautiful waterfall and two great vistas.
The main parking area for Buttermilk Falls Park is along Greenbush Road a short distance south of the mall and just off of NY-303. From here, a one-mile hike takes you past the highlights of this beautiful natural area.
Most people hike the trail in a clockwise direction, starting from the northern end of the parking lot along the Blue Trail.
From here, the trail climbs up to the ridgeline. Overall, there is about a 275-foot climb in the first half-mile of the trail and an equal descent on the second half of the hike.
Less than a quarter-mile from the parking area, you’ll come to Buttermilk Falls on the left side of the trail.
While there may be a way to get to the base of the falls, the main trail features a view overlooking the waterfall. Adjacent to the vista, there are a few concrete ruins that may have once been part of a bridge or another structure. Today, however, they make for a nice spot to sit for a minute while enjoying the waterfall.
Buttermilk Falls is about 15-feet tall and cascades down a rocky face as this seemingly unnamed stream makes its way towards the Hackensack River. This stream doesn’t have large headwaters, so during the drier times of the year, this waterfall may run mostly dry.
As with most waterfalls, this one is best visited in the spring or after a period of rain.
After enjoying Buttermilk Falls, you could simply return to your car for a hike of about half a mile, but I definitely recommend continuing along the trail and completing the loop.
From the waterfall, the Blue Trail continues to climb up the hillside. After another quarter-mile or so of hiking, the trail reaches the first of two vistas. These vistas are located a relatively short distance from each other and offer very similar views.
The view from the ridgeline in Buttermilk Falls Park is quite expansive. However, Palisades Mall does dominate a portion of it, which does take away from the natural beauty found here. Still, this is a nice view of the surrounding area.
Interestingly, it’s said that Teddy Roosevelt would often stop and enjoy the views from here while riding his horse during his stays in nearby Blauevelt, New York.
Near the vistas, there is a turn off for the Orange Trail. This trail leads a quarter-mile to Schuyler Road and continues on to Stephen Rowe Bradley Town Park. If you are visiting the park via public transportation, this trailhead along Schuyler Road is a much easier and safer spot to access the trails in the park, though it’s a 0.6-mile walk from the closest bus stop.
From the vistas, the Blue Trail continues down the ridgeline. While this is a beautiful walk through the woods, there isn’t much of note on this section of the trail.
After about a quarter-mile of hiking, the Blue Trail ends at the White Trail. Turning left on the White Trail will take you to Schuyler Town Park. Turning right will take you the short distance back to the main parking area for Buttermilk Falls Park.
Overall, the one-mile hike at Buttermilk Falls Park is a pleasant hike through the woods. If you are looking to get outdoors while in the Nyack area or visiting the nearby Palisades Mall, this is a great option thanks to the park’s beautiful waterfall and nice vistas.
How to Get to Buttermilk Falls Park in Nyack
The main parking area for Buttermilk Falls Park in Nyack, NY is located along Greenbush Road at the following coordinates: 41.087135, -73.947438.
The trail loops around this parking area making for a great hike in the Hudson Valley.
There is also a trailhead along Schuyler Road at the following coordinates: 41.087835, -73.941498. There is no parking here, so this is best for those heading to the park via public transportation (Buses running between downtown Nyack to Palisades Mall stop at Mountainview Avenue half a mile away).