There are three very common names for waterfalls: Upper, Lower, and Buttermilk. Unlike towns and cities, waterfalls do not need a unique name. This particular Buttermilk Falls has three other same-name falls, all within an hour’s drive. What was unique about this Buttermilk Falls was that it is associated with Mr. Rogers, and you can get behind the falls.

We were heading home from our Marching to Bedford weekend trip. Buttermilk Falls would be the first stop on our final day in Pennsylvania. We came to the entrance to this park. I was surprised to see a security guard coming to greet us. His first question was, “Is this your first time here?”

I knew he knew the answer, but I decided to play along. “How’d you know?”

“Your license plate,” he laughed. I laughed. It was a good start to this morning and the small hike we were about to do. It is hard to hide the Ontario license plate that adorns the front and back of our vehicle. This one element shows everyone that we are from somewhere else. We have never had an issue during our travels other than it is a good conversation starter.

He told us that Mister Rogers’ grandfather once owned this property. During his youth, Fred Rogers would spend a lot of time here—understandably so, as the area is gorgeous. But other people enjoyed this property, too. It became too much to handle, with all the people coming and going, so the land was donated to the state, and now we can visit the falls whenever we want.

I had no idea there was a connection between the waterfall we were about to see and the TV star who taught children kindness, tolerance, and compassion. When I was growing up, I never watched Mr. Rogers on television. I steered toward the Canadian versions of children’s programming of Mister Dressup and the Friendly Giant.  

When Fred Rogers died in 2003, many tributes were held in his honour. As an adult, I understood what he was trying to accomplish. I appreciated that Mister Rogers’ Neighbood pushed the accepted social standards of intolerance and inequality toward a more compassionate and understanding stance. He was a leader in social justice.   

This connection was a bonus when we arrived. On the trail to the falls, there were quotes from Mr. Rogers and some background information. We would read each one, but for us, the main attraction was the falls.

For hiking trails, it was an easy march. It was wide, well-maintained and clearly marked. It would have been impossible to get lost in these woods. There are sturdy stairs that will take you in behind these falls. A feature that we love doing. So few falls are accessible from behind, and this was the first we visited that had a dedicated boardwalk to this unique destination.   

Charlene was the first of us to go behind. The water was crisp and refreshing in the summer heat. From my vantage point, I could see why so many people came here before it became state property. It would be my turn to go underneath. We admired the view and the setting together.

On our way back, we discovered some other families enjoying the area. It is peaceful, lush and green. I am thankful that this property is now publicly accessible and open to everyone willing to venture out to see a piece of nature.

  • Entry is free.
  • The parking lot was relatively small and almost full when we returned to the car.
  • The hike to the falls is downhill but relatively short.
  • Another pathway is accessible from the parking lot in the opposite direction. It is short and easy to do.
  • Water flow will vary depending on the time of year. It may even dry up in the heat of summer.
  • View my All The Place We Have Been Too to get directions to this and other amazing spots.

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