Things to See and Do in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

0

With over 150 miles of trails, a pristine river and roaring waterfalls, it’s no wonder Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area draws millions of visitors each year. In fact, of more than 400 National Park Service sites, Delaware Water Gap was the 15e the most visited place in 2021. That’s more visits than Yosemite, for comparison.

The park is named after the iconic “hole” where the Delaware River cut its way through the mountain ridge. It creates a dramatic plunge between the steep slopes of Mount Minsi on the Pennsylvania side and the rocky cliffs of Mount Tammany on the New Jersey side. But the gap is just the beginning of what this 70,000 acre park has to offer.

The Delaware River stretches the length of the park for approximately 40 miles, providing endless opportunities for fishing and boating. Meanwhile, the hiking trails offer dozens of vistas and waterfalls (including some of the tallest falls in the state). You can even walk along a section of the legendary Appalachian Trail.

Delaware Water Gap is so vast it’s hard to know where to start. We’ve rounded up some highlights from the Pennsylvania side of the park, which stretches from Milford to the town of Delaware Water Gap. Take one park map and discover these must-see places.

Raymondskill Falls

Delaware Water Gap is home to countless waterfalls, but Raymondskill Falls is one not to be missed. At approximately 150 feet high, it is Pennsylvania’s tallest waterfall. Two viewing platforms allow for up-close views and great photo ops.

To reach the falls, take the Raymondskill Creek Trail at Cliff Park, located just south of Milford. The trail is 0.3 mile one way with some steep sections and uneven terrain. Still, it’s generally an easy, family-friendly trail.

Dingmans Creek Trail

Keep chasing after these waterfall views on the Dingmans Creek Trail near Dingmans Ferry. This popular route includes two breathtaking waterfalls in one short, easy walk.

A few minutes later you will come across Silverthread Falls. This thin, ribbon-shaped waterfall is about 80 feet high. But the best views are yet to come. Continue along the boardwalk trail and you will reach the base of Dingmans Falls. This waterfall is the second tallest in Pennsylvania at 130 feet high. A short, steep staircase will take you to the top of the falls for even more views.

The Dingmans Creek trailhead is 0.4 mile one way. The path is wheelchair and stroller accessible to the base of the falls.

Pocono Environmental Education Center

The Pocono Environmental Education Center is the National Park Service‘s educational partner in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Located in Dingmans Ferry, this non-profit organization offers fun and hands-on nature programs for schools, families and the public.

The center is home to six public hiking trails ranging from short nature walks to longer, more advanced hikes. For some of the best views, try the Tumbling Waters Trail. This moderate three-mile loop trail leads to a secluded waterfall and views of the Delaware Valley.

McDade Recreational Trail

The McDade Recreational Trail stretches over 30 miles, almost the entire length of the park. From river views to rural farmland to dense forests, this hiking and biking trail gives you a taste of the park’s diverse habitats.

The trail goes from Milford Beach in the north to the Hialeah trailhead in the south. With over a dozen trailheads, it’s easy to break the trail up into smaller sections. Some areas are flat and quiet, while others are steep and challenging, such as the ridge near park headquarters in Bushkill.

Hornbecks Creek Trails

Get off the beaten path with the Lower and Upper Hornbecks Creek trails. These trails are quieter than some of the other waterfall trails but still offer unforgettable views.

The Lower Hornbecks Creek Trail is a two mile out and back trail that begins on Highway 209 near Dingmans Ferry. It follows an old road so it’s generally flat and easy. The trail ends with a 20 foot high waterfall.

Upper Hornbecks Creek Trail is a bit rougher. From the Emery Road dirt parking lot, the waterfall is a relatively short walk. Or you can take a longer adventure by parking at the Pocono Environmental Education Center, taking the Scenic Gorge Trail to the Ridgeline Trail and continuing to Upper Hornbecks.

Delaware River Tours

The Delaware River is the longest undammed river east of the Mississippi. Spend a day on the water and you’ll see why American Rivers named it 2020 River of the Year.

This section of the river has a serene and wild beauty. The water is generally beginner friendly with a few rapids here and there making it perfect for kayaking and canoeing. Rafts are great options for groups and families, or you can jump into a tube and just float with the current.

No boat? No problem. Several outfitters offer river outings with boat rentals, equipment and shuttles. They offer everything from short family trips to multi-day camping adventures.

Share.

Comments are closed.