Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching. That can mean a ton of time to kill with your family. We're blessed to have so many gorgeous parks all around us in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. Awesome Girlfriend Megan and I absolutely loved Buttermilk Falls when we went Mother's Day Weekend. 75 feet tall, so gorgeous and epic. Since I love beautiful parks and hikes where there isn't too much heavy lifting, I reached out to the National Park Service. You can see their full comprehensive list of what they just sent me on which parks are open and closed. I recommend following their pages on Facebook too. Thank you to National Park Service for giving us this information so we can share it with you.
Park Prepares for Summer Visitors
Bushkill, PA: Employees at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area have been busy cleaning up after multiple storms and getting facilities ready for a busy summer season. The 70,000-acre national park unit is located in PA and NJ and is one of the top 25 most-visited national park units in the country with 3.4 million visits recorded in 2017.
While most sites in the park are ready for the influx of summer visitors, several popular destinations will remain closed through 2018 due to damages from two back-to-back winter storms that hit the area in March. Visitors are encouraged to visit the park’s website or call for updated information, maps, and directions before visiting.
PA sites and trails that will NOT open this summer due to hazardous conditions include:
- Dingmans Falls Visitor Center and Trail
- George W. Childs Park
- Adams Creek Trail and drainage area
- Toms Creek Trail
- Hornbecks Creek/Indian Ladders Trail
PA trails that are currently closed but are likely to re-open later in the season include:
- Cliff Park trails, including Hackers Falls
- Hidden Lake trail
- Two Ponds and Scenic Gorge trails at Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC)
- Conashaugh trail
PA trails that are currently OPEN include:
- Appalachian Trail
- Raymondskil Creek/Falls Trail
- Arrow Island Trail
- Slateford Loop Trail
- McDade Trail (except the section between Conashaugh and Pittman Orchard trailheads which is closed for resource protection)
- Tumbling Waters, Fossil, Sensory, and Ridgeline Trails and the Trail for Everyone at PEEC
All trails in NJ are OPEN except the following which remain closed due to hazardous conditions:
- Kaiser Trail
- Van Campens Glen Trail
These trails may re-open later this summer.
Get Information in person, online, or by phone:
- Park HQ is open for summer hours from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm daily, including weekends, from May 25 to September 3.
- Kittatinny Point Visitor Center in NJ is open Friday through Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm from May 25 until September 3.
- Visit the park website at www.nps.gov/dewa.
- Follow us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS.
- Call Park Headquarters at (570) 426-2452, daily, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
- Call Kittatinny Point Visitor Center, Friday through Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm at (908) 496-4458.
Cool Off In or On the River:
- All beaches and boat/canoe launches are open for the season. A $10/car fee is charged 7 days a week; annual passes are available for $45.
- Visit the park website for a list of businesses in the area that rent canoes, kayaks, and rafts and provide transportation or bring your own.
- Use the free River Runner shuttle to transport your own canoes, kayaks, and gear for a day on the river. Visit www.gomcts.org/trip for schedules.
- Always wear a properly-fitted US Coast Guard-approved lifejacket when on or near the water.
Go for a Ride…or a Drive:
- The McDade Trail in PA is a great place to ride your bike (and it’s the only trail in the park where bikes are permitted). You can start and finish at the same place or do a one-way trip using the free River Runner shuttle to transport you and your bike on weekends.
- Take a scenic drive and enjoy the views.
- Visit one of our partner-operated sites (check their websites for hours and program offerings):
- Mohican Outdoor Center (Mohican Outdoor Center )
- Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC)
- Peters Valley School of Craft (Peters Valley)
- Foster-Armstrong House and Nelden Roberts Stonehouse (Montague History)
- Walpack Center and Van Campen Inn (Walpack Historical Society)
- Montague Grange (Montague Grange)
Pick a Place to Picnic: Picnic areas are open throughout the park except for picnic sites at George W. Childs Park and Van Campens Glen. Check the park website for group size limits and restrictions. Grills are not provided anywhere in the park and are only permitted at Milford Beach, Turtle Beach, Smithfield Beach, Toms Creek Picnic Area, Bushkill General Store Picnic Area, Watergate Recreation Site, Hialeah Picnic Area, and Namanock Recreation Site.
Pitch a Tent:
- Valley View and Rivers Bend group campsites are open. Call (570) 426-2432 for information on fees and to make reservations.
- Alosa River Campsites are available to river users by reservation. Go to Alosa Campsites
- Dingmans Campground offers tent and RV sites. For more information visit their website at Dingmans Campground.
- A complete list of campgrounds in the surrounding area is available on the park’s website.
Watch Water Fall: Visit the tallest waterfalls in PA and NJ! Raymondskill Falls in PA drops 165’ in three segments while Buttermilk Falls on Mountain Road in NJ tumbles 75’ from side of Kittatinny Ridge. Both have stairs and an observation area. The Tumbling Waters Trail at PEEC is another great place to check out a waterfall. Most other waterfalls will remain closed this summer due to storm damage. Check the park website for updates.
Take a stroll back in time: Visit Millbrook Village, a re-created nineteenth-century village where costumed rangers and volunteer guides provide tours and demonstrations of period crafts and trades. Millbrook buildings are open on Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm from May 26 to September 1. The grounds are open for self-guided tours daily during daylight hours. Admission is free. Special events are held throughout the year.
Tips for Travelers:
- Know before you go! Be aware of rules and regulations and check safety information for a fun and safe visit.
- Plan ahead! Visit the park website or call a visitor center to find out what you can and can’t do, where you can go, what you need to bring, and what you should leave at home.
- Have a Plan B… and C in case the places you wish to visit are already full when you arrive. Many popular destinations are full by 10 am on weekends.
- Use the Pocono Pony’s Hiker Shuttle to get back and forth between the Park and Ride lot in the town of Delaware Water Gap, PA and the Kittatinny Point/Appalachian Trail/Dunnfield Creek Trails in NJ. The shuttle fee is $1 per person for a roundtrip fare. The shuttle runs every 30 minutes on summer weekends. Schedules are available at: www.gomcta.com/trip.
- Travel on Tuesday… or Wednesday, or Thursday to beat the crowds. Weekends are busy.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.