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India Brook Park Buttermilk Falls Hike

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Friday, July 27, 2018
India Brook Park in Mendham, NJ contains a number of hiking trails that loop around the park allowing you to decide if you want to take a short or longer hike.

The main feature of the park is Buttermilk Falls, small waterfall along the India Brook. It empties into a small pool area that I saw described as as swimming hole. It didn't look deep enough to actually swim in but it did look like you could maybe sit in it and cool off.

The trails are fairly easy. Not many hills or difficult passes. The views of the brook and the falls are beautiful and the trails in general are well maintained. It can get a bit muddy after rains. I found the trail system confusing and not well marked. Two trails both had yellow blazes and I did get off my intended path and have to find my way back on it at one point.


I was able to do a little over 4 miles by doing a small look on the eastern side of the brook along the yellow trail and then the longer loop on the western side of the brook.

There were some people fishing, hiking and walking their dogs but it was generally quiet and peaceful.

I used the entrance on Ironia Road and parked in the parking lot near the soccer field. You can use this link to find it on Google maps. https://goo.gl/maps/RgjExBC7MK32


The Kiosk in the parking lot contains a map of the park and the trails. I didn't like that the trails were all marked in the same color. Made it hard to follow.

I wanted to see the falls first so I did the yellow blazed loop around that area. Getting the the falls you need to walk across the soccer field (the direction you're facing while looking at the kiosk from the parking lot) towards the back left corner. There you'll see the start of the trail.


In the beginning of the trail the rout to the falls is pretty well marked. You turn right and follow the trail along the brook.


Near the falls you'll see a large stone fireplace.


The falls aren't very big but they're still nice to listen to and look at. There are plenty of large rocks along the area to sit and relax on while enjoying the views and sounds. A small pool area on the right of the falls is a good spot to fish. I saw this referred to as a swimming hole but it didn't look like it was deep enough for me.


I continued back from where I came going up the yellow trail with the brook to my right.


The only really difficult part of the hike was going through this narrow cut in the bedrock. It wasn't difficult but some people may have a hard time.


The views along the brook were beautiful. The water was clear and if you stopped to look you could see fish swiming along.


A couple signs along the trail mark the locations of historical sites such as where the Lewis Forge was located.



When I got to the Lews Bridge I crossed it and made a right to get on the loop on the eastern side of the brook.


There are spots where you can get right up to India Brook to dip your feet in the water or fish.


This was the first confusing spot after going up a bit of a hill. The trail separates into 3 different directions. I took the left most path to do the loop in a counter-clockwise direction.


The trails varied from wide to tight but were fairly flat without a lot of rocks or roots. Looked like a nice spot for trail running.

 The blue trail the brought me back to the area of the falls. Followed the brook back up with it to my right and this time when I got to the bridge I kept going past it eventually making a big loop around the other side of the park.


This part of my India Brook Park hike had a little more variation in terrain. It was still relatively easy but there were some hills and it went through wooded, swampy and an open field.


It was in this part of the park where I actually went off the path I intended a couple of times as I had a hard time finding trail markers. This isn't a 10,000 acer national park where getting lost is that dangerous but it was a bit annoying. I eventually found my way back on the trail.


The views were still beautiful and the trail gave a moderate workout.


There were some unexpected finds like a large field  of grasses and wildflowers trying to find the former Seeing Eye dog training facility which I'm not sure I found. There was a working animal shelter along the route I think.


There were more water crossing on some well maintained foot bridges.


This isn't the most descriptive hike I've posted. There are a lot of interconnected trails in the park and some interesting features. Its a nice park to explore. I combined a couple of loops to do a bit over 4 miles in about 2 hours. You can do a little more or much less if you'd like.

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