October 15, 2022 – Spring Glen, NY
Length: Approximately 1/4 mile
Route type: out and back
Horseshoe Mine Falls, also known as Buttermilk Falls, is a A 60 ft. tall sliding cascade that ends with a plunge over an entrance to an old mining exploratory tunnel. The tunnel is quite deep. Parking is roadside just a few hundred feet away on Lewis Road.
Worked in 1853, Horseshoe Mine was opened by a tunnel driven southwest into the mountain. The location of its entrance was decidedly at the foot of the waterfall. During its operation, the course of water was diverted away from the adit to allow a dry route for its narrow gauge railroad to enter.
Although the mine was located within close proximity to a major railroad, it was not a producer. It is likely that lead and possibly zinc were the chief metals as other lead-zinc mines exist in the general area. Very little waste rock remains on site and little else is known about the operation.
Horseshoe Mine Falls is situated just within the northwestern boundary of Shawangunk Ridge State Forest and is fed by an unnamed mountain stream that flows through the forest east to west from New York State Route 52. See orange arrow below.
How to get there:
The parking area is located about 0.4-mile past the Spring Glen Campgrounds on Lewis Road in Spring Glen, NY in Ulster County. As you drive in a northerly direction on Lewis Road, look to your right for two old stone bridge abutments with a stream flowing between them. There is pull-off parking for several cars along the road. If the flow is substantial, you should be able to hear the waterfall from the road.
A wide path leads up to the old O&W Railway. This old railroad right of way may one day be part of the O&W Rail Trail.
Do not turn onto the abandoned railbed, instead continue straight ahead on the unmarked path that follows the unnamed tributary upstream.
From there it is a short walk to the waterfall.
I have visited this waterfall on numerous occasions and it never gets old. Below are some images from previous visits during different seasons.
June 26, 2016
March 5, 2017
October 6, 2020
This easily accessible picturesque waterfall is best viewed after a rainfall or during the Spring thaw. Since it is a short and easy walk to and from, you may want to combine this with a hike in the area, such as the Bear Hill Nature Preserve, Minnewaska State Park, Sam’s Point, or any nearby hike on the Shawangunk Ridge.