Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area – Cliff Trail – Hackers Falls – Raymondskill Falls

Park Site

Trail Map:  here, though I used the NY NJ Trail conference maps (the whole Cliff Trail is on two maps 122 and 123.)

Miles: 8.07

Trails: Cliff (White), Buchanan (orange), Pond Loop (Blue), Hackers (Yellow)

My Map:

[TL;DR – The climb up is the steepest/hardest part of this hike.  The whole hike is mostly woods roads with only some easy climbs/descents.  Great views, and two waterfalls.]

I haven’t posted in a while; I figured I would rectify that after this weekend’s outing.  And the day I went out was the only nice day of the weekend.  I got lucky, the sun peeked out a couple of times, and for the most part the day remained mostly cloudy.  I drove through rain on the way to the trailhead, and fortunately there was no rain during the day.

A note on parking.  I parked in the Hackers Trailhead parking lot, right across the street from the trail.  I was the first one in the lot at a little after eight in the morning.  The next lot up the road is for Raymondskill falls, and can be used.  However, when I finished the trails on the other side of the road, and before I went to Raymondskill falls, I noticed the parking lot(s) were absolutely packed – at around 11:15.  This was in January.  I can’t imagine this lot in the summer, later in the day.  There were gates on Raymondskill Road that were open, I wonder what happens in snowy weather?  I did not see anyone on the hike until closer to 11, and as I was by the waterfalls.  I had the Cliff Trail to myself.

Start out across the street from the parking lot.  To do the Cliff trail, make a right at the first junction, cross a creek, then climb straight up.  No switchbacks to speak of.  It’s a woods road, so the trail is plenty wide.  And when you reach the top, and the first overlook, you will have completed the bulk of the climbing for the day with only nominal ascents and descents for the rest of the day.

There are four overlooks on the way to Milford Knob, all have generally the same view.

In this next picture, the needle pointing straight up in the middle of the picture (zoom in) is High Point State Park.  It’s much easier to see live.

The Cliff trail meanders across the top of the cliffs that parallel Route 209.  Here’s a shot of the cliff from one of the viewpoints.

While it was mostly cloudy, with not much color, it was easy to pick out some life in the park.  Squirrels and birds were the most “wildlife” I saw.

Striped Wintergreen
Turkey Tail

From many of the viewpoints there were side trails/sidequests that you could take.  Those paths stayed closer to the cliff edge, and no doubt had more phenomenal views.  As the ground was damp, the leaves wet, I decided to stay on the main trail.

The Cliff Trail ends at Milford Knob and has a great view of the town of Milford.

I retraced my steps back to a junction with a spur trail that would lead to the waterfalls.

Both the Buchanan and the Pond Loop were on woods roads as well.

If you take the Pond Loop to the right, you will traverse a section that is pretty wet.  The pond isn’t named on the NY NJ Trail Conference maps.

Eastern Teaberry

The Pond Loop trail (either one) ends at a parking lot.  I took the Buchanan trail to Hackers Trail for the first waterfall, Hackers Waterfall.  You can hear this waterfall long before you see it.

The Hackers trail has one climb that is not long, that sets you back on the woods road.

I took the Hackers trail back to my car.  And from there, I ambled around Raymondskill falls – and this is where I saw considerably more people.  The trail can be slippery.  The views are more than worth it.

Raymondskill Falls

Blazes:

Hiked:  1/27/2024

Bald Eagle State Forest – Penns Creek Wild Area – Penns Creek Path (Mid-State Trail)

Park Site – you’ll have to scroll down to the Penns Creek Wild Area

Trail Map –  see page 2 of this PDF.  The Mid-State Trail is the orange trail in the middle of the page.  While that trail is long, Penns Creek Path is the shorter section in the middle.

Miles: 6.72

Trails:  Penns Creek Path (note:  This trail is shared with the Mid-State trail in this section – blazed orange.)

My Map:

[TL;DR: A perfect day.  I did this hike with my dad, six plus miles on a rail trail.  I didn’t have a paper map of the route, but you really can’t get lost, the trail is an old rail bed.  Even though the temperatures reached into the 80s, there was a nice breeze the entire time.]

The last time I hiked rail trails was over two years ago, so this would be the first rail trail in a while.  And I haven’t been in Pennsylvania in a while either.   A trip out to see my parents afforded me the time to hike this trail.  A quick note on the day.  The park websites in Pennsylvania are not like what I normally link to when I hike in New Jersey or New York.  And, it took quite a bit of searching to find an online “map” of the hike.  If you know of better resources, please leave a comment and I’ll update.  Take Route 45 to Weikert Road.  Follow that to the end.  Cherry Run Road will come in from the right (at a bridge.)  The road will continue to diminish until you come to the Cherry Run Road parking lot which will be heavily used by fisherman.  The rail trail (portion of the Mid-State Trail) will be to the right.  If you take the woods road at the end of the parking lot, it will take you to the Fish And Game cabin (which is what we did.)  Ultimately that trail will intersect the Mid-State /Penns Creek Path.

There was bright sun and 80 degree weather while we hiked.  I’m normally half way done with trails by the time we reached the trailhead at 10:00.  And there were a good number of people out and about; I’d say the majority of people were fishing Penns Creek, which will be right to your left on the way out on this out-and-back trail.  There are plenty of views of the creek, and you will pass many spur trails that head down to the water for fishing access; some of those trails are sketchier than others.

I didn’t miss the Mountain Laurel blooms this week, it was all over the trail.  I’d guess this area of Pennsylvania is a week behind New York in terms of blooms.

Here’s a good shot of what the trail looks like.

About a mile down the trail you will come to a bunch of locations where there are many rockfalls.  Part of me wanted to scramble up, but it would have taken quite a while.  I believe the top of this would be parts of Sawmill Mountain.

Looking left (across the creek) you can see the ridgeline of White Mountain.  And yes, I believe there is a trail along that ridge.

Near “the end” of this section of the trail you will come to a little cottage with a picnic table out front.  This makes a great place to stop for a snack.  About a quarter of a mile down the path from there you will come to the old rail tunnel.  The tunnel was upgraded/fixed/improved in 2015 – you don’t need a headlamp when going through (though it might be nice.)  I’m told it was very dark before the improvements were made.

Continuing on past the tunnel you will pass a couple of residences before you come to the bridge over Penns Creek.  Water was low today due to the fact that we haven’t had much rain.  There were lots of people fishing, though no one seemed to have caught anything.  Here’s a shot of Penns Creek looking north.

The trail will continue past some camps to a western parking area for Po Paddy State Park.  (If you click on the hiking tab on the website, you’ll see mention of the Penns Creek trail (outside the park) and its description.)  The Mid-State trail turns left at the parking area and heads into Po Paddy State Park.  We continued down Penns Creek trail for a while, which followed the creek on our right.  Ultimately, we turned around and retraced our steps.  However, the trail crosses the creek and continues on.

Ticks: 0

Blazes:

Hiked:  6/10/2023

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area – Mt. Minsi

Park Site

Trail Map – official.  I used the NY NJ Trail Conference map, 120.

Hike Distance – 5.58 miles

Trails – Appalachian (white), Mt. Minsi Fire Road, green, and some unmarked trails

Mountain – Mt. Minsi

My map –

I have been on Mt. Minsi, but it was over 30 years ago.  And, we came from the ridge, I believe we climbed to the ridge at Totts Gap and we walked to the Minsi Lookout.  This time, I started at the Appalachian Trail trailhead in the town of Delaware Water Gap, which is a nice quaint small mountain town.  I got the last (legal) spot in the lot just before nine in the morning.  When I came back, there were cars all over the place.  And, there was trail magic in the parking lot.

The parking lot is right next to Lake Lenape, which was in full bloom of water lilies.  The AT is part of the Mt. Minsi fire road for a couple of hundred yards, so it is nice and easy walking.

Lake Lenape

Once off the fire road, the walking becomes typical Appalachian Trail (at least for this section.)

Crossing Eureka Creek was fun, the water was low, and the trail heads off into a small Rhododendron tunnel. As typical, there was Rhododendron all over the place.

Shortly after, I zipped off the leggings of my pants – it was just too hot and humid.  After that I quickly made it to the first viewpoint, Lookout Rock.

After Lookout Rock, it’s pretty much up and up and up until you get to the viewpoint looking across the river at Mt. Tammany.

Staghorn Sumac

Birch trees already have their leaves changing color.  I don’t want to think about that yet – it’s still August.

Getting closer to the next lookout is a long Rhododendron tunnel, that ends with a small scramble.

I made it to the overlook that looks east and towards Mt. Tammany.  However, there were ten kids making all kinds of noise at the overlook, so I headed off to the summit.  From that overlook to the top, it’s all uphill.  You’ll know you are at the summit as there is a cell tower at the top (?) and the remains of what look like a fire tower.

About a quarter mile west of the summit and on the left is a small overlook that looks south with views of both New Jersey and Pennsylvania and the Delaware River.  The view would be bigger without the leaves on the trees.

After sitting a bit, I headed back the way I came.

When I reached the viewpoint, there was no one around, which afforded me time to eat something.  It was sunny (and hot) and I had a great view of Mt. Tammany.

While sitting, I noticed a bunch of hawks flying around.  Some came suspiciously close.

On the return trip, I took the Mt. Minsi fire road.  Before reaching the fire road, it was back through a Rhododendron tunnel, that was very dark.  I tried to get a picture, but the camera took in too much light.  This picture doesn’t do it justice, it was really dark in the tunnel.

Ghost Pipes
Burdocks
Wineberries

I was looking for Table Rock, so I turned off the fire road to a trail labeled Green on AllTrails.  It’s just marked as an unmarked trail on the NY NJ Trail Conference map.  I never did find Table Rock, maybe I should have stayed on the fire road longer.  This trail was definitely not used as much, but was interesting none the less.

Two more unmarked trails took me to Lake Lenape, though from a different side.  There were tons of frogs all along the banks that jumped in the water as I approached.

There were lots of people out and about today; not so much when I went off the fire road.  When I reached the parking lot, there were cars all over the place, but a welcome sight (and one I hadn’t see before) was Trail Magic – a van set up with food and cold drinks for AT thru-hikers.

Ticks: 0

Spotted Lanternflies: 2 (1 dead / 1 got away)

Blazes:

Hiked: 8/6/2022