Buttermilk Falls and Crater Lake Loop Trail is a 6.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Layton, New Jersey that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
6.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,453 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

over grown

rocky

This loop has a little of everything. Waterfalls, ravines, valley walking, steep climb, ridge walking, views and a bushwhack. Users have noted that access to the trailhead may require a 4WD vehicle.

23 days ago

Getting to the falls isn't easy. The roads are really really really messed up. Huge potholes. I mean 20, 30 feet wide and really deep. So definitely be careful. The fall is nice. We did the entire trail loop. My wife had a really hard time in the beginning. I didn't think it was hard or even moderately hard. I did enjoy the hike but it wasn't anything spectacular. I wouldn't drive 2 hours for it again. For most people I would rate this hike as moderate. I thought it was easy. We did see a few rattle snake skins by the lake/pond area. I wouldn't advice you to bring your dogs from the falls area. It's not save for pets. If you come from the lake side, then you're ok.

hiking
28 days ago

We wanted to hike up to Crater Lake this past Saturday and thanks to this app, got there. The trails are poorly marked with missing signs everywhere and access roads and other unmapped trails that made it confusing to know which way to go. We went up from Buttermilk falls which was very muddy due to rain so when the climb gets steep, especially on rocks, you’re sliding even in hiking boots. I managed to eat it in a large rock- thankfully, I wore jeans and not leggings for this hike, else- the bruises would have been worse. We made a right onto Woods Road (not intentionally) and looped around til we hit orange blazes. At this point, it got confusing with access roads so use the markers on the map (thanks to those who put pins on unmarked roads!). We also had a hard time crossing a flooded stream but luckily made it safe and dry. By the time we got to the lake, we just took a look instead of looping around due to time and the fact some people said men were dragging out a (hunted?) bear from the woods toward the back of the lake. We took the AT back and went down Buttermilk Falls trail (blue) which we then were happy we didn’t hike up that way as it was steep. Woods road was longer, but a nice long flat break and passed two pretty ponds. Be wary of the mud and wear non skid boots and bring a pole or grab a big stick for balance!

hiking
1 month ago

Crater lake is beautiful we parked there by putting lake success dam in the gps then walked down to the falls and back up again. It was a little hard but not bad at all . I did it with some beginner hikers and they were fine !

1 month ago

Unfortunately, I never got to see this trail. The “private “ road leading to it was in such horrible condition it was impassible for my small vehicle. SUVs with four wheel drive may be ok but my car’s undercarriage kept getting scraped up by the holes in the road so I had to turn around. Very disappointing. Don’t attempt unless you are in the mood to deal with a broken axel and have roadside assistance.

1 month ago

Great hike, but you need to take it to Crater Lake for the reward. Like everyone has said, the first section heading up towards the Appalachian trail is the toughest. Pretty smooth after that. There aren’t really any scenic overlooks besides the lakes. The pond is nice, but Crater Lake was beautiful. Lunch and a quick swim and back towards the falls. Five hours round trip with a nice break in the middle. Went the wrong way a few times too.

2 months ago

really nice hike, difficult to drive to. first miles is difficult (And last) but waterfall is beautiful

hiking
2 months ago

The side road to the trail is scary for smaller cars. Half of it was washed away and the other half was covered by overgrown trees/bushes (which means scratching be belly of the car and beaches etching the doors — don’t even fathom passing someone). Find a friend with a Jeep or a truck to drive to the start point. The falls are right at the start with a nice wood stairway to a viewing platform. If you just have a day in the Gap and are working your way through, this can be an easy stop and go if you skip the test of be home. After the viewing platform there a walk along the river and a steep (steep) up with not a lot of scramble leverage (dirt and maybe a riot here and there — I didn’t mind going up, but the way back was a skid from tree to tree to avoid bowling for hikers). Ridge walk and views were low payoff — wasn’t impressed. Hemlock lake was a nice drinkable spot. My advice: if you want a hike, bring your Socrates and go out to the lake and back. If you want a photo and a waterfall, go up to the view platform and call it a day. The parking lot is small and if you’re not in a spot by 9 am you may be parking creatively.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Not as great as the reviews say, the waterfall was weak and after the waterfall there’s pretty much nothing else to see for the remaining 5miles. It lacks any scenic views for a hike that climbs 1.3k feet. It’s too challenging for the amount of views on the trail, and the road leading up to the trail entrance is terrible. I will def not be going back.

3 months ago

Beautiful waterfall. Steep stairs to get to the top, one or two areas to rest on the way up. Our dog had a tough time with the stairs. Views of the falls from the top are nice. We planned to do a hike and went maybe 30 minutes past the falls before seeing a black bear on the trail ahead of us, just before the trail split into the loop, so we ended up heading back earlier than planned. It was busy around the falls but very quiet on the trail (this was a weekday — maybe it’s busier on weekends!) we didn’t pass any other hikers until we were almost back to the falls. Hope to try the full hike again soon! Trail seemed great.

3 months ago

the waterfall is nice
the hike itself is high effort, low reward

4 months ago

Good workout but garbage views

hiking
4 months ago

Too busy for my liking, tons of people including a bunch of children running around. The hike was ok, though Crater lake was also very busy with people blasting music. Basically if you're looking for seclusion go elsewhere.

4 months ago

challenging great hike.

hiking
4 months ago

This is the tallest waterfall in NJ and it is right next to the road. Next to it is a great trail that takes you through a forest and leads to the Appalachian Trail. Tough in places but cool. Check out my full review along with some things to look out for.
http://www.eastcoasthiker.com/trails/buttermilkfallsnj

hiking
4 months ago

Great Trail.

hiking
5 months ago

Great 3hr hike! The falls did not have a lot of water so the falls were not that stunning. Took the road from the north to get to the parking lot. Was not much of a problem with a regular car. Had to evade some potholes but the road was in relative good shape.The first 1.2 miles to Appalachian Trail were all pretty much uphill and the hardest. During this part there was one point where you get to a 4 point intersection and we were not sure whether to turn right or go straight. We ended up going straight and stayed on the blue trail until the AT. Walking the AT was fun since we met many hikers with big backpacks who wanted to talk about how long they were already hiking on the trail and that thieves had stolen their food at the last camping spot :-( ! The path to Hemlock pond came quickly and was clearly marked. Along the path to the lake there were a lot of wild flowers that were blooming beautifully. These also lined the lake making the view of the lake stunning. We followed the orange signs around the lake until we got to the intersection that I described prior. This time we turned left to get back to the falls and the car. Visited the Waldeck Inn afterwards: great place for good food & drinks, and stunning views.

hiking
5 months ago

A very enjoyable afternoon. I took my time was out for about 5 hours.. found a very nice rock ledge area just sat down enjoyed the breeze.. The trails are marked well.

hiking
5 months ago

Getting to this trail was the most challenging part. The directions provided by AllTrails had us off-roading through bushes and large puddles which was in no way suitable for our vehicle. We opted to park along the road and walk down the dirt road instead. After two miles, one bridge, and three abandoned buildings, suddenly appeared the falls along with a large parking lot directly below it. Besides a sign at the lot “Buttermilk Falls,” there was no indication of any maps, trails, or visitor info. We trekked up the side of the falls and began on a blue-marked trail, which was revealed to be our intended hike. For the first 1/3 mile, it’s very steep and indeed a fun challenge. Then it levels out and snakes are your next obstacle (we spotted two, one rattlesnake).
TL;DR: Ensure you arrive at the lot directly underneath the falls to save yourself the frustration. Great trail once you’re on it!

5 months ago

I did this trail with my golden retriever. the first .25 mile is very challenging. once you get 1-1.5 miles in, smooth sailing! The AT and Hemlock Pond trails were a good break from the elevation. Took us just over 3 hours and had a great view at the end to have lunch by the waterfall!

hiking
6 months ago

Was an awesome hike. I don’t think it should be rated hard at all. Was definitely medium to easy. The first mile is pretty rough but after that it was smooth sailing. I couldn’t find the cave but the lakes and scenery were beautiful! Took me about 4 hours to do the loop but took my time and had lunch by the lake.

hiking
6 months ago

Very rewarding day hike with great views, ponds, streams and a beautiful waterfall.

7 months ago

looking for big foot with kids, you will see lots of natural sites for story telling and adventure making.

hiking
9 months ago

Great view at Hemlock Lake. But signs are not clear since then. We followed the false trail when we wanted to leave the lake and came back to the falls.

11 months ago

Nice hike, I did the loop around Hemlock Pond.

hiking
11 months ago

Great day hike!! Extended the hike by adding Hemlock Pond and Crater Lake and AT segment. Took the falls up the blue blazes then turned right at the Woods Trail and followed until hemlock ponds. Followed around the pond until the orange blaze. Took the orange blaze up to Crater Lake. Turned left onto the Appalachian Trail for about a mile and then left onto Buttermilk Falls Trail blue blaze back down.

hiking
Sunday, October 22, 2017

Great spot. Cool climb up the stairs to the top of the falls.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

awesome

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hiked from Crater Lake to the falls. There are no good scenic views in between. The trails were not marked very well. My cousin and I got lost and followed the wrong trail a few times. It is possible to just drive to the falls because there is a parking lot right in front of it.

hiking
Monday, September 25, 2017

The hike itself is intense, hence it's rating. But all in all the most beautiful view is at the beginning. The trail was great with our 2 dogs and all in all I had a wonderful time.

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