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Buttermilk Falls of Leroy

One of several waterfalls that plunge over the Onondaga Escarpment. Buttermilk Falls of Leroy (the town name is added to differentiate it from Buttermilk Falls State park) is one of the most spectacular of the Onondaga Escarpment waterfalls. Formed by Oatka Creek on its journey to the Genesee River, these falls are very impressive, rivaling Websters Falls near Hamilton, Ontario (see Spencers Wilderness/Websters Falls later in this book).

Spray, mist and rainbows delight on a sunny day. As with any waterfall, Buttermilk is most impressive after a heavy rain or during spring melt.


Oatka Creek crashes over Buttermilk Falls on its way to join forces with the Genesee River.

First Impressions

The path to the falls overlook is along an abandoned right of way and is not particularly beautiful. There is an old, crumbling bridge covered with graffiti spanning the creek above the falls and along the path there is a fair amount of trash stuck in the grasses and shrubs. However, the falls more than make up for the neglect of the area. I would love to see this area turned into a park to preserve it for everyone to enjoy and return it to a better state of care.

Special Spot

Climb down one of the trails along the near bank to the creekbed and get as close as you can to the base of the falls (careful, it's very slippery from the mist). You will feel and hear the power of these falls - the wind created by the falling waters drenches you from head to toe with mist and carries with it the awesome roar of great quantities of water slamming into the creekbed below. Also take notice of how some of the water follows invisible channels inside the rock and creates smaller waterfalls to the side that seem to come from nowhere.

Activities

Hiking, nature appreciation, photography.

Amenities

None.

Directions

From downtown Buffalo, access the Niagara Section of the NYS Thruway (Route 190) heading south. After about five miles pick up the mainline NYS Thruway (Route 90) heading east. Stay on Route 90 for approximately 45 miles to exit 47. Exit heading south on Route 19. After about 1.5 miles turn left onto North Street Road. Roughly 100 yards down North Street Road you will see a sharp right turn while straight ahead is a field of gravel and stones. Park here and walk up the gravel road (not far) until you see the abandoned right of way. Turn right and follow the right of way a short distance until you see a path through the woods to the left. Follow the path through the woods and when you emerge from the woods (50 feet or so) you will see a perpendicular path. Follow that path to the right to the overlook of the falls (as you get closer, you will begin to hear the roar of the falls).