A Guide to Waterfall Hikes in New Jersey

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Sometimes, getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city is a much-needed reset. Being in nature can be relaxing and de-stressing and, of course, beautiful. Hiking is a great way to exercise and calm your mind, and waterfalls are one of the most amazing natural phenomena, and putting them together offers plenty to stop and admire on an escape from the city. The best part? We don’t even have to go far to enjoy amazing trails and scenic waterfalls. Check out our list of some of the best waterfall hikes in New Jersey.

waterfall hikes in New Jersey

Apshawa Preserve | 4 Northwood Drive, West Milford 

This park is located right in the Highlands of New Jersey and is home to a fairly easy trail and a pretty waterfall. It’s not one of New Jersey’s busier areas, which gives beginner hikers extra room to explore. It’s also easy to navigate, and the different trails are marked by colors. This is the place to go for a sense of calm and serenity. 

Buttermilk Falls | Mountain Road, Layton 

Located in the Delaware Water Gap, these falls are surrounded by a hiking trail that is perfect for both hiking and bird-watching. The wooden stairway makes it easier to access and view the falls, and the interactive installations are both educational and interesting. 

Read More: Where to Go Hiking in Montclair + Beyond

Hacklebarney State Park | 119 Hacklebarney Road, Long Valley 

This state park has plenty to do – wildlife watching, waterfall hunting, hiking, and more are welcome and encouraged. Fishing and hunting are permitted along with parts of the Black River and within the 628-acre, hunting-designated part of the land. Of course, waterfalls come along the ravine as a result of the steep cutoffs, and picturesque views are plentiful. 

Hemlock Falls | Route 510, South Orange

Nestled within the South Mountain Reservation in the Watchung Mountains, these trails boast a number of waterfalls, both small and large. Trails range in difficulty and length over the massive reservation, and other park facilities include a dog park and other recreational facilities. 

Norvin Green State Forest | 150 Snake Den Road, Ringwood 

A network of trails and waterfalls span over this 5,000+ acre green space in Ringwood. Trails vary in length and difficulty and, of course, vistas and sights change with the routes. Rocky viewpoints and forest-locked paths are available, and so are marinas and opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and hunting. 

Paterson Great Falls | 72 McBride Avenue, Paterson 

Paterson Great Falls National

This 77-foot waterfall sparked power in the area in 1792 and has since been designated as a national historic area. The great falls come off of the Passaic River, and tons of programming and educational information exist around the falls, as well as a small park and trail that is family-friendly.

Silver Spray Falls | Layton, Walpack Township

It takes only five to ten minutes to hike to these falls, but they’re worth the view. There is no signage, which makes this short trail a hidden gem. Look for the creek at the intersection of Mountain Road and Houck Lane, then follow the trails that run alongside the creek to check out the falls that are just tucked in from the road. An added bonus? It’s just up the street from the Layton Road Buttermilk Falls. 

See More: A Guide to Whale Watching at the Jersey Shore

VanCampens Glen Trail | Hardwick Township 

This 2.1-mile trail is decently popular, but the linear trail offers multiple views of several waterfalls. It’s pretty rocky and slippery right along the water, though, but is located right near the Coventry Pond Trailhead, and close to the Pennsylvania border. 

Washington Valley Park | Bridgewater Township 

Not to be confused with the Buttermilk Falls listed above, these falls are nestled on a 1.4-mile loop trail in the Watchung Mountains and can be accessed by climbing down to the falls in three different ways. Most of the trail is relatively easy, but one of the ways to get down to the falls includes some rock climbing. There is also some parking at this location, and a huge, 719-acre park to explore. 


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Erica calls New Jersey her adopted home, after moving from Toronto, Canada. She completed her graduate degree from NYU's journalism school and now spends her days writing and reading. Her interests include everything from sports to books to fashion, and she falls more and more in love with her new home with each passing day.