It’s hard to believe I had never heard of a place so beautiful, just an hour and half outside of NYC. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area straddles the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border along the Delaware River. It is dotted with intense waterfalls, scenic trails, and an overall wonderland feel. It’s discoveries like these that renew my faith in a personal mantra, never stop exploring. Stretching over 40 miles, you could spend endless days getting to know this park. If you just have one day, I’ll cue you in on some of the must-see sights.
The tallest waterfall in Pennsylvania drops in three tiers, there are multiple viewing points to see the lower, middle, and upper falls. It is just over a quarter of a mile (one way) to get to the falls, though some sections are steep.
+George W. Childs Park Trail
If you’re going to pick one trail in the park, this should be it! A constantly stunning 1.4 mile loop brings you around three distinct waterfalls, unique in the fact that you view them from both sides during the circuit. Factory Falls is a triple falls, wood mill ruins from the 1800s are visible.
Fulmer Falls, Deer Leap Falls, and all the cascades in between are simply magical.
The trail is extremely well maintained and is very mild, great for families and hikers of all skill level.
+Dingmans Creek Trail
Located next to the Visitor’s Center, this is one of the most popular trails in the park. It is less than one mile round trip (out and back) on a lovely boardwalk through a rhododendron forest.
In no time you’ll reach Silverthread Falls, the narrow chute is a most unique sight.
Soon thereafter the mighty Dingmans Falls appears, perfectly visible from the base.
However, you can climb the short yet seep staircase to reach the top of the falls. Beyond the barrier is a peak at another tier pouring into the main falls.
The highest waterfall in New Jersey requires no hiking to see, but you have to be willing to drive down a long unpaved road to get to it.
Our non-4WD car managed fine driving cautiously. You can walk up the stairs to get to the top of the 90 foot waterfall and a great work out.
I admired the color of the shale, almost purple.
Further trails connect from this point, it’s all uphill!
An extremely popular, challenging, and fun little mountain hike was our last trek of the day. You can create a 3.5 mile loop by heading up the red dot trail to the summit and down the blue trail back to the parking lot.
The red trail is very rocky and includes some light scrambling.
Quickly you are rewarded with an exceptional vista, the perfect spot to take a water break because it’s back to the grind afterwards.
Along the way we saw a lot of raspberries, a beetle, and some partial views.
Up at the summit there were plenty of people, but enough room to stake out your own little space. The view is sweeping and the breeze is gratifying.
When you are finished soaking up the scene the blue trail begins. It is rocky in places, but levels out eventually into a lovely river valley. There is a waterfall just a few minutes before you get back to the parking lot, a popular hang out spot to soak your feet in.
Considering it is such a popular trail, we faced some difficulty finding a spot late on a summer weekend afternoon. We were directed away from both parking lots, but after some tenacity found a spot. If possible, try the hike mid-week, early, or off season.
I can’t wait to return and kayak down the river for a different perspective and hike more trails.