Buttermilk Falls (Tioga)
Location / Directions / Maps
Note: This glen, also known as Spaulding Hill Road Falls, has been reported to have sections on private property which have been POSTED.
Location: North of the village of Owego; town of Tioga; Tioga County; New York.
Some sources claim this falls is in Owego. It’s not. It’s outside of the village and the town. It’s in Tioga.
GPS: Waterfall visible from the road: (N 42.13186 / W 76.28726)
Directions: From the village of Owego:
Head northwest on NY-96/North Ave.
Turn left onto Talcott St. Follow it for 0.6 mile.
Cross over Owego Creek and then turn right onto Glen Mary Dr/CR-906. Follow it north for 1.5 miles.
Turn left onto Spaulding Hill Rd.
The falls will be on your left at about 0.3 mile down the road, in a wooded area, just as the road bends.
Parking: There’s a small dirt pullover on the south side of the road. It can fit about 2 cars.
Information / Accessibility / Accommodations
Number of falls: 1 easily seen from the roadside. 2 or more waterfalls in the glen above.
Size/Types: The roadside falls, what is commonly called Buttermilk Falls or Spaulding Hill Road Falls, is a 50 ft high step cascade. The steps are pretty prominent in that it looks very inviting to climb. Above this falls are two cascades that lead to a deep swimming hole.
Best time to visit: Any time but mid-late summer.
Flow: Low. It will dry up by summer.
Waterway: An unnamed tributary to Catatonk Creek. This tributary is only a mile long, with the falls about halfway along its run, which leads to a pretty low volume of water over the falls. In the valley below the hill, Catatonk Creek flows south, merging with Owego Creek about a half-mile south. Owego Creek then travels through the west end of the village of Owego and empties into the Susquehanna River. The Susquehanna runs west to Waverly and then hooks southeast. It eventually enters the Atlantic Ocean at the Chesapeake Bay in MD.
Time: A few minutes to see Buttermilk Falls from the roadside. If climbing up the gorge is allowed, I would set aside an hour and a half.
Seasons/Hours: Road-side views are possible year-round, when daylight makes it visible.
Handicap Accessibility: Car or road-side view. No hike or climb needed to see the falls.
Pets: Pets need to be on a leash in public.
Accommodations: None. Head to nearby Owego if you need nourishment or evacuation of such nourishment.
AKA: Spaulding Hill Road Falls, Turners Falls (historically)
Waterfalls are sparse in this slice of the state near Owego. So it’s quite a surprise that not only is this 50 ft cascade overlooking the valley, there’s also a beautiful glen with more falls and a large pool lurking behind it.
Despite other websites and guides, there is no trail. Reaching the upper glen would require a climb up the first falls, something next to impossible in high flow conditions. Reports of the land being POSTED come and go. Usually when some say it’s POSTED and later others claim they saw no signs, it means that people ripped down the landowner’s signs. I suggest approaching this one as if it were a single roadside falls only. Definitely something to see if you are passing by Owego, and not grand enough to go out of your way for.
Hiking / Walking Trails
Difficulty: Easy – it’s a roadside falls. If climbing were allowed, this would be a very challenging hike up the glen.
Distance: See it from your car, or park and walk a few feet.
Description: You’ll easy spot the falls from Spaulding Hill Rd as you drive by. There’s some room to park along the road just south of the falls. Some guides mention a trail to get close, but that trail does not exist and the the falls are right there! The only “closer” you can get is to hop over the barrier and walk in the creek.
Alltrails, and other unmoderated crowdsourced garbage websites, show this is a hike-able glen. It very well could be. But many reports show it’s POSTED. It’s best not to get busted trying to explore this one. I’ll report back here when I have more definitive information.
Buttermilk Falls (Tioga) Interactive Map
Prior to 1813, the town of Owego was called Tioga, and the town of Tioga was called Owego. They swapped for whatever reason. Probably some late night tavern bet was lost.
A map from 1869 marks this location as Turners Falls. There were several prominent Turners in the valley at the time, with Jesse or Abner Turner being likely sources for the name.
Buttermilk Falls (Tioga) Media
Contributor Photos & Art
At this time I have not been able to get out to this site and photograph yet. In the meantime, those with suitable photos or original works of art, who would like to be featured here, please contact me. Photos, paintings, and illustrations would be subject to quality review, and not all will be accepted. Your work can be accompanied by a link to your site/store/insta.
Who to Contact
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