6 Waterfalls to Chase this Spring
I’m sure TLC’s lyrics began dancing around your head as soon as you saw that title…and you love it.
Ah, late spring. Flowers have bloomed, trees have leafed (yes, leafed), and a plethora of rainfall has provided ample water to make our local waterfalls come to life. Within a 3-hour radius of NYC, there are so many falling water features to behold, many of which lie in our own backyards here in NJ (for those of us from the Garden State like myself ;) )
Below you will find a shortlist of my personal favorite waterfalls to explore this time of year. Take a gander, choose your destination, and start planning your next adventure!
1. Watkins Glen State Park, NY – Finger Lakes Region
Length: 2.5 mile out-and-back
Time to Hike: 2-3 hours (taking generous stops!)
Difficulty: Moderate (there are 832 steps!)
Location: Watkins Glen State Park, Finger Lakes region, NY
The short but ever-so-sweet Gorge Trail of Watkins Glen State Park is a trip destined for your to-do list. Located in the Finger Lakes Region of NY, this 2.5 mile out-and-back hike is quite literally overflowing with waterfalls…19 to be exact! If that doesn’t get your heart pumpin’, the trails 832 steps will!
2. Ricketts Glen State Park, PA - Falls Trail
Length: 3.6 mile loop
Time to Hike: 4 hours, depending on stops
Difficulty: Strenuous (slippery rocks, steep descent and)
Location: Ricketts Glen State Park, Benton, PA
Just 3 hours outside of the New York metro area is the 13,050 acre Ricketts Glen State Park of Pennsylvania. While this park boasts over 24 waterfalls in total, the 3.6 mile Falls Trail Loop will take you past 15 coursing cascades as you trek down Ganoga Glen and climb up Glen Leigh.
3. Glen Onoko Falls, PA – Lehigh Gorge State Park
Length: 2.1 miles out-and-back
Time to Hike: 3 hours
Difficulty: Strenuous (steep/very slippery)
Location: Lehigh Gorge State Park, Jim Thorpe, PA
About 2.5 hours outside of NYC lies Jim Thorpe, PA – an outdoor-adventure lovers paradise. This area is home to the Lehigh Gorge and features miles of biking trails along the Lehigh River, not to mention river-rafting trips! On top of that, this area is also home to Glen Onoko Falls, a series of cascades guaranteed to feed your wondrous side. Trail tip: Arrive early and wear sturdy footwear – this trail can become rather crowded and slippery!
4. Buttermilk Falls, NJ – Delaware Water Gap
Length: 0 miles to see the falls, or 5-mile lollipop loop to Rattlesnake Mt.
Time to Hike: 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous (steep climb up to Rattlesnake)
Location: Kittatinny Mountains, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
At 85 feet, Buttermilk Falls stands as the tallest waterfall in NJ! In addition to that superlative, this falls simply gushes with beauty. While this natural spot is certainly worth exploring, be aware you’ll need to drive a rather rough road to reach the trailhead. Once there, however, the falls is steps away from the parking lot…but don’t stop there! Use your trusty NYNJTC trail map to guide you to Rattlesnake Mountain along the Appalachian Trail, and beyond!
5. Verkeerderkill Falls, NY - Shawangunks
Length: 7 miles
Time to Hike: 4.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous
Location: Sam’s Point Area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Gunks, NY
This is by far one of my all-time favorite hikes in the Gunks…though I say that a lot about hikes in the Gunks ;P This 7 mile out-and-back hike features Ice Caves (yep, you read correctly) AND a waterfall that plummets 180 feet over white Shawangunk conglomerate cliffs! As if that weren’t enough to tantalize you, you’ll also be rewarded with expansive views stop the Shawangunk Ridge. #takemetherenowplease
6. Dingman’s Falls, PA – Delaware Water Gap
Length: 0.8 miles out-and-back
Time to Hike: 1-2 hours (depending on stops)
Location: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Dingmans Ferry, PA
Looking for a nature-walk that’s overflowing with beauty? Look no further than Dingman’s Falls in the Delaware Water Gap of Pennsylvania! As the second highest waterfall in the state, this 130-foot falls is quite the site to behold after heavy spring rainfall. This pleasant, boardwalked trail also features Silverthread Falls which has its very own microclimate…#FTW! Trail tip: Arrive early to avoid crowds.
Allow me to add that there are so many MORE waterfalls to see around our area in spring...I just have yet to explore them myself! If YOU have a favorite waterfall hike within the immediate NY/NJ/PA area , be sure to share it in the comments below :)