"Hidden Places"

Hidden Local History

Buttermilk Falls


A 45-foot waterfall is something of a rarity in Western Pennsylvania – and the central feature of Buttermilk Falls Natural Area in southern Indiana County.

The dramatic, cascading falls served as a source of childhood inspiration and enchantment for the late Fred Rogers. The founder and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood spent countless hours there with his grandfather, Fred McFeely, who owned the property before it became an Indiana County Park.

Buttermilk Falls
Buttermilk Falls

The falls are the result of a resistant sandstone layer that erodes at a slower rate than the surrounding shale. As is true with many waterfalls, the best time of the year to visit the site is during spring or other wet times of the year.

“A short loop trail exists on the west side of the park, allowing for a leisurely stroll through a small patch of woods,” said WPC Ecologist Christopher Tracey. “This site makes a good rest point when returning to or going from Pittsburgh.”

The natural area also includes a variety of spring wildflowers that can be seen near the waterfall and along the trail.

Buttermilk Falls is a site in the Indiana County Natural Heritage Inventory, to be completed by Western Pennsylvania Conservancy staff by the end of the year. Natural Heritage Inventories identify rare, threatened and endangered species and important habitats within a given county. The Conservancy provides the scientific information gathered in Natural Heritage Inventories to landowners, policymakers, businesses and others to help inform decisionmaking about land use.

Directions: Buttermilk Falls Natural Area is located just south of Route 22, approximately one mile west of Armagh. Follow Clay Pike Road (TR 716) south to Valley Brook Road. Veer left onto Valley Brook Road and proceed 1/2 mile to the Buttermilk Falls parking area.
GPS coordinates: -79.06776 40.41921