Buttermilk Falls to AT to Crater Lake and Hemlock Pond

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Hiking from Buttermilk Falls to Crater Lake and Hemlock Pond.

The falls are the largest in NJ and conveniently located right at the road with steps up along side of it.

For detailed hike directions visit our main Buttermilk Falls page.

–8/2020: Added photos from archive to this post which is from when we kept a Trail Blog but didn’t have a live version of the site yet (… so, like, a million years ago…)

The “BUTTERMILK FALLS” (BLUE) trail starts at the top of the falls and is VERY STEEP up for awhile. Very pretty trail, lots of tall hemlocks.

Quiet, no road noise, trail was mostly empty, even for a perfect spring day. Maybe because it was steep from the start, and the only trail in the area to choose from.

Trail levels off some. At .75 mile the trail crosses WOODS ROAD, an unmarked woods road.

A little further up is a peak with many dead trees all around.


At 1.5 miles the BLUE ends at the AT (WHITE). We headed right (south).

Right away the AT jogs right again, and a unmarked woods road continues straight. Follow the WHITE AT blazes.

The AT at this point is a very easy woods road, no rocks or anything. At Crater lake there are several unmarked and marked trails.

We followed the “Crater Lake” (ORANGE) trail around the lake.

Note: I had to check our 2006 GPS file to figure how we got a few of these shots, as I don’t think this is visible on the route we have on the site.

For this one, I believe we made a turn and started down the AT where it drops down to Crater but then backtracked back up.

There is parking lot with Porta-johns and picnic tables – shot from the other side of Crater using the telephoto.

Came full circle around the lake and picked up the “Hemlock Pond” (ORANGE) and took that to the pond. Picked up the WOODS ROAD for some easy walking back to BLUE.

I believe this is a side trail to get a shot of the one end of Crater, that is either overgrown now or we never bother to take anymore. The AT comes down off those rocks somewhere I think.

Passed a swampy area with a beaver dam. BLUE back to the Falls and the lot.

This is a black rat snake nestled in leaves. If memory serves, we spotted this fella only after we’d been sitting on the rock near him for awhile while having our snack.

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