Watching the churning water at Buttermilk Falls

Buttermilk Falls (Photo provided — Diane Chase)

The leaves are at their peak and it’s not always enough to just glimpse the brilliant golds, reds, and oranges through the car windows. We need to plan a picnic and explore the roads, making sure that the locals become the tourist once in a while.

One of our favorite spots while driving through Long Lake is Buttermilk Falls. Since the waterfall is so close to the road, we can make sure everyone in the car has an opportunity to enjoy the autumn colors with the sound of water rushing by.

The walk to the waterfall is about 350 feet from the trail entrance on North Point Road, just south of Long Lake. We meander along the wide pathway. There are numerous herd paths, but if anyone were to possibly get lost, just follow the sound of the rushing water. The recent rain and the popularity of the trail make the path well-worn and slippery in spots. Thankfully on our day trip, people are just making Buttermilk Falls a quick stop, not their destination. For the most part, we have the place to ourselves.

Seating is plentiful with nearby picnic tables or numerous flat rocks. We walk from the crest of the falls and walk along the shoreline until we reach the base. We explore the canoe carry section of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a 740-mile water trail from Old Forge to Kent, ME. This canoe carry allows paddlers to bypass the falls. Thenearby plank bridge and stone staircase bring us back to the Raquette River. The autumn colors are a brilliant backdrop to the rushing water from the waterfall. We all go in different directions, but meet back to just relax and enjoy this change in the season.

From the town of Tupper Lake take state Route 30 south for 20 miles until the state Route 30 and Route 28 junctions at Long Lake. From Long Lake take Route 30/28S for three miles. Turn right onto North Point Road (there is a sign for Buttermilk Falls.) Go down North Point Road for two miles, the entrance to the falls will be on the right.

.Diane Chase is the author of the “Adirondack Family Activities” guidebook series, “Adirondack Family Time: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities.” For more family-friendly activities go to