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  • Writer's pictureJustine I.

5 Must-Visit Waterfalls in the Midatlantic

Our picks for the most beautiful waterfalls to beat the summer heat in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware

A top-down view of Glen Onoko Falls in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. A fallen tree trunk stretches across the top of the waterfall in front of a bridge across the expanse, as water crashes and cascades down the mountainside in between lush summer greenery

Glen Onoko Falls: Jim Thorpe, PA - Photo Credit: Caleb Sass

Summer is here, and if you’re in the Midatlantic area (let’s call that New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware), you know it’s heating up. But if you don’t have a pool or are tired of the beach, scorching heat and humidity can be a real drag. Instead, why not travel to one of these spectacular waterfalls? Change up your classic hike with the twist of a refreshing waterfall to cool you down. Get closer to nature and see a fantastic natural phenomenon that’s perfect for Summer.

Just remember to be cautious when hiking around waterfalls. Much of the majesty of the sites on this list come from you being able to hike on slippery rocks right alongside rushing water and reach immense heights while doing so, so it can be a little more dangerous than your average trip. Be safe, plan accordingly, and you’ll see some really exciting sights!


Glen Onoko Falls - Jim Thorpe, PA

A waterfall cascades down a rocky outcropping, surrounded by beautiful forest at Glen Onoko Falls in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

Glen Onoko Falls: Jim Thorpe, PA - Photo Credit: Caleb Sass

Glen Onoko Falls is nestled within Glen Onoko Run, a gorgeous set of trails that run through Eastern Pennsylvania. The park boasts several different paths with a range of difficulty levels, so you can bring your kids along for an easy hike through the woods or your experienced hiker friends for a steep trek up the side of the park’s 60 foot waterfall. The absolute gem of this park, however, is that stunning waterfall that runs through the main trail. As you hike to the top you’ll be right alongside the waterfall the entire time, giving you a view of each bend and twist to see how the water pools in certain areas and cascades over rock formations. At multiple points on the mountain, you’ll even be able to stop and wade in these pools of cool water, and stand under falls that rain endlessly down on you.

A man stands underneath a waterfall at Mount Tammany in New Jersey

Glen Onoko Falls: Jim Thorpe, PA - Photo Credit: Justine Imburgio

Once you get to the summit, dry platforms allow you to stand triumphantly on the very top of the waterfall! You’ll feel the water rushing below your feet, and get to see the whole park all around you. It’s a gorgeous view, and the feeling of conquering a waterfall is something indescribable until you do it yourself. Once you do come down (if you can pull yourself away) make sure to check out the park’s brilliant caves and large running river for a nice cooldown swim at the end too.


Mount Tammany Red Dot Trail - Hardwick Township, NJ

Cataracts flow down the hillside as a hiker picks his way up the river, forest everywhere at Mount Tammany in New Jersey

Mount Tammany: Hardwick Township, NJ - Photo Credit: Jes Mena

Mount Tammany is one of New Jersey’s most famous hikes, and for good reason! The peak of this mountain is one of the highest points in the state, and overlooks the Delaware River Gap so you’ll be able to get some great views from the top. The mountain has two distinct trails, called the Red Dot and Blue Dot Loop Trail, both of which lead you through gorgeous vegetation to high points in the side of the mountain. The trek is not very long but is very steep, and many instead refer to it as more of a climb due to the many rocks you’ll often have to pull yourself over to get to the top. The park has several waterfalls that cascade down mountains, but Mount Tammany’s might be the most breathtaking.

A lazy river winds through the Delaware Water Gap. The hills on each side are covered in trees

Mount Tammany: Hardwick Township, NJ - Photo Credit: Jes Mena

Like Glen Onoko, you’ll be able to hike right alongside waterfalls and wade through water, although this will be a little more difficult in this location as the landscape is a little less visitor-friendly. Still, the hike is a rewarding one if you’re more experienced, and you’ll be able to keep cool too! Whether you just go to see the bottom of the waterfall loom above you or reach the summit, the falls are a sight to behold and a great day trip if you’re in Pennsylvania or New Jersey.


Dingmans and Silverthread Falls - Poconos, PA

Thick green vegetation surrounds a beautiful waterfall, Dingman Falls

Dingmans Falls: Poconos, PA - Photo Credit: Kathy Haines

The beauty of these two waterfalls is that you can see both of them in a single day trip to the Poconos Mountains region. These falls are another hallmark of the Delaware River Gap, and are some of the largest in Pennsylvania! Silverthread stands at 80 feet high and Dingmans stands at a whopping 130 feet, and both offer unique views.

A skinny waterfall cascades through lush greenery, Silverthread Falls in Pennsylvania

Silverthread Falls: Poconos, PA - Photo Credit: M'ke Helbing for Metrotrails

Silverthread, for example, has areas where water runs through cracks in the mountain, and shows off a gorgeous view of the mountainside. The park has multiple lookout decks to view the falls if you’re not planning on hiking up the side of them. Many locals also enjoy these falls in the Winter as well, as the snow and icicles that form on the side of the mountain make for a gorgeous wintry scene.


Alapocas Run State Park - Wilmington, DE

The wide waterfall of Alapocas Run State Park in Delaware

Alapocas Run State Park: Wilmington, DE - Photo Credit: John Macedo

North Wilmington is the home of the beautiful and vast Alapocas Run State Park, a gigantic forest with multiple trails and ample opportunities for rock climbing. Trails in this park are of varying length, and offer great options for a much more relaxing trip. Spend some time sitting in the grass and hiking casually, or take your day trip up a notch and get lost in the 415 acres of grass, mountains, and trees. Large open grassy areas give great spots to relax in and gaze at the many cliffs within the par.

The beauty of Alapocas is that it is so accessible, but has so much to explore. Multiple waterfalls and cliffs are hidden throughout the woods and marked trails and lookout points make them easily viewable up close. If you prefer to see these natural marvels without getting your feet wet, Alapocas Run is a fantastic place to do so!


Buttermilk Falls - Layton, NJ

Multiple waterfalls cascade down the hillside - Buttermilk Falls in New Jersey

Buttermilk Falls: Layton, NJ - Photo Credit: M'ke Helbing for Metrotrails

Buttermilk Falls is the tallest waterfall in New Jersey, and one of the most easily accessible as well! Wooden stairs ascend to the very top of the waterfall, so even the most amateur of hikers can enjoy this marvel. Swimming is encouraged at a small lake at the base of the mountain, and you can continue climbing up to see multiple waterfalls - all with many safe spaces to swim in. Locals have even hung rope swings for public use, so be on the lookout for those as well! Just be ready for some tough climbs, even on areas with stairs, as this Appalachian climb can get very steep very quickly.

The area’s accessibility also tends to make for large crowds, especially in the Summer months, so be prepared to wear a mask and social distance as best as you can. If hiking near large groups of people isn’t your thing, you can also check out Silver Spray Falls, which is located half a mile away and is unmarked, making for a more secluded place for you and your friends or family to enjoy.


Pathloom Intern Justine Imburgio majors in Secondary Education and English at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Look for more of Justine's writing in the Pathloom blog in the coming weeks!


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