Best Trails & Hiking in Delaware Water Gap 

Located between Pennsylvania and New Jersey borders, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a perfect place for hiking a weekend getaway. For centuries, Delaware Water Gap has attracted visitors to the Poconos Mountains for years and is one of the ideal spots for outdoor recreational activities and camping. Along with beautiful hiking trails, the visitors can enjoy activities like trekking, canoeing, and kayaking.  The National Recreational Area offers over 150 hiking trails spread across the area and serves the interest of different ability levels, making it an ideal recreational area for everyone. 

What do you need to know before hiking in the Delaware Water Gap? 

To ensure the safety of the visitors and residents, there are specific rules that the people are expected to follow. Firstly, overnight parking is limited only to certain conditions, which include – 
  1. If you have opted for a Backcountry trip along the Appalachian Trail, the vehicles are located in a designated parking area. 
  2. The trip is meant to last for more than a day, and the vehicles are parked in designated areas. 

Some interesting facts about Delaware Water Gap 

  1. You can explore 4- miles of Delaware National Scenic Recreational River beauty. 
  2. The area is covered with 70,000 acres of flood plains and forested mountains. 
  3. The Appalachian miles go for 27 miles. 
  4. You will also come across 100 miles of scenic and beautiful roadways. 
  5. You can also cross some of the agricultural lands grazed by livestock. 
The best thing about Delaware Water Gap is that it is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. However, certain facilities may not be available for a year-long, depending on the season.  While there is no fee charged for entering the Delaware Water Gap, Amenity fees are charged between Autumn and October in the following areas –  
  1. Toms Creek Trail 
  2. Dingmans Creek Trail 
  3. Blue Mountain Trail 
  4. Point of Gap Overlook Trail 
  5. Hidden Lake Trail 
  6. Mount Tammany 

Who should hike at Delaware Water Gap? 

Since the Delaware Water Gap area has a wide variety of hiking trails that serve different expertise levels, it is of interest to beginner hikers to professionals. The place is perfect for those who want to hike to picture-perfect spots – near a waterfall, agricultural land, or even forested land. Plus, along with hiking, you also get to do adventurous outdoor activities like biking, kayaking, and canoeing. 

What is the best time to hike around Delaware Water Gap? 

While most hikes can be done any time of the year, the more challenging treks are done during winter. On the other hand, many short expeditions are pretty risky. If you are hiking during rainfall, expect the trail to be muddy and slippery. It is essential to have a good idea of the weather before going.  During spring, you can witness blossoming trees all across the forest in Delaware Water Gap, while during autumn (which is also the peak season), you can enjoy the autumn foliage.  Tip: Avoid crowded trailheads by hiking early during the weekdays or opt for less overcrowded trails, making sense if you want to hike peacefully. 

The best hiking trails in Delaware Water Gap 

Toms Creek Trail 

  • Features: Kid Friendly, Dog friendly, Waterfalls, Bridges, and Creeks 
  • Trail surface: Partly Muddy, Partly Rocky 
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate 
  • Length: 7.9 miles 
  • Route type: Out and back
  • Parking: Available  
The Split Rock Hiking can take a little over 3 hours, depending on the speed and trail you choose. There are two red and blue trails with many other small trails and routes to discover. It is recommended to wear boots as the path can get a little muddy. The hiking trail offers spectacular scenery. The initial mile is a bit steep but gets better as you proceed. There is a boardwalk in many areas of the trail. 

What to expect

You will have to walk a little further from the parking lot to reach the bridges to start the trail. You might need a trail map until you encounter the red blazes that guide you through the hike. The initial mile of the trek is steep uphill. Many hikers have reported that the trail is usually muddy, especially after rains. The blue trail is comparatively easier than the red trail. You will also come across many bridges as you walk across the steams. You will also come across boulder fields, where you might have to climb rocks. The hiking ground has many unmarked trails and roads in the areas that have not been marked – it is recommended to stick to the marked trails. 

Hike Map

  1. From the junction of US 221 and US 70, take a left turn towards Huskins Branch Road. Follow the path for 1.2 miles and then you will arrive at a small parking lot near the entrance. 
  2. You will find an information board right outside the trail entrance that gives you all the necessary information about the trail. As you start the hike, you will come across an old field or homestead. The trail goes then connects to an old road which is relatively easy. The trail is made of hard-packed sand and crushed gravel, giving it a sturdy and easy surface. 
  3. The forest around the trail is a mix of cove hardwood forest. You will also come across a variety of wildflowers that grow during spring. You will also come across a great boulder as you start the hike and angled rocks everywhere around it. 
  4. The trail continues over a creek, and a small stream continues right below the bridge. 
  5. Right after, you will find a series of switchbacks and then a trail that reaches the falls. 
  6. You will also find an old mica mine at the end of the hiking trail. To explore the old mine, you might need to cross a creek below the falls. The trail takes you to the other side of the falls towards a gully uphill. Walk upwards and you will find the entrance of the old mine.

Dingmans Creek Trail

  • Features: River/Creek, Waterfalls, Wildflowers, family-friendly, no pets allowed
  • Trail surface: Slippery in certain spots 
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Length: 0.4 miles 
  • Route type: One-way 
  • Parking: Available  
The Dingmans Creek Trail gives a hint of adventure, even for beginners. The trail is moderately difficult, starting from the bridge leading to the Dingmans creek and leading the way to wooden walkways and old bridges. You can also find hemlock and hardwood trees all around the place. You can also find benches around the trail, which give you space to sit and explore nature. It is advised to come early to avoid crowds. 

What to expect: 

The best time suggested to visit sites in the park is either during the spring or during the first and second week of July – you can see rhododendrons all along the trail. It is also fun for experienced hikers to explore the trail during winter days when it is covered with snow and is perfect for snowshoeing along the trail. 

Hike Map 

  1. The trail starts from the parking lot that is available for visitors. There is a visitor center and restrooms. As you make your way through the trees, you will find a canopy. 
  2. After a short walk, you will also find a bridge through Dingmans Creek. You will also find the Silverthread waterfalls on the right side. 
  3. The boardwalk opens up to an open area, filled with tall hemlocks in the dense canopy. You can also listen to the stream from a distance. 
  4. The trail may go slightly uphill and through the rhododendron plants. You can find many birds and animals around. 
  5. You will reach a waterfall and further ahead, find wooden stairs. After climbing for 0,1 miles, you will get to the viewing area on the top of Dingmans falls.

Blue Mountain Trail & Woods Road Loop

  • Features: River/Creek, Waterfalls, Wildflowers, family-friendly, permitted on leash
  • Trail surface: Packed Earth/ Dirt, Gravel, and crushed land 
  • Difficulty: Easy 
  • Length: 1.4 miles 
  • Route type: Loop 
  • Parking: Available  
The Blue Mountain Trail starts from the Blue Mountain School and goes go right towards the Cross Vermont Trail towards the left in the forest. The trail in the Wells River Conservation area offers access to the school’s students and a hands-on research area. 

What to expect: 

This point-to-point trail is located near the Pine Grove. It is considered to be a moderately complex route to complete. The trail is known for bird watching, camping and backpacking. You can enjoy your time on less crowded days, so we best suggest to visit on weekdays. The best time to visit the Blue Mountain Trail is April to November. The trail is not too long and gives a wonderful view of the lake, an incredible treat for families and children. 

Hike Map 

  1. The trail was initially built as an infrastructure for the residential community. Still, it was structured as a trail that gives incredible views to those who want to go out and experience it. 
  2. The trail has two loops within the area and starts from the parking lot allotted for Blue Mountain Lake. You can go through the outer loop that goes towards the east. You will find a 4-way junction in the inner loop. 
  3. Take the immediate left and follow the flat terrain. You will need to climb moderately to reach the surface of the lake. 
  4. You can enjoy your time around the lake and go right to continue hiking. 
  5. You will come across the Blue Mountain Lake N Cutoff. Once you move through the junction, you will come across trees that rest on the edge of the lake. 
  6. After spending some time around the lake, you can go back along the trail and hike through the junction towards the outer loop before reaching the parking area. 

Point of Gap Overlook Trail

  • Features: Riverview, forests, family-friendly, permitted on leash
  • Trail surface: Packed Earth/ Dirt, Gravel, and crushed land 
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate 
  • Length: 1 mile  
  • Route type: One-way 
  • Parking: Available  
The Point of Gap Overlook is an observation point that gives a spectacular view of the 70,000 acres of Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area in the Appalachian Mountains, PA. You can see the Delaware River running between a bunch of mountains. We only dislike this point because the river is right beside Route 80, which is a major highway. This means you will get disturbed by a lot of noise from the road. 

Hiking map and what to expect: 

You get a full view of the Delaware River from the top. The trail is steep but is quite challenging to walk. You will need to walk up between the woods towards the point. There are no lakes or recreational spaces in between but just a trail along the hillsides. Ensure that you have proper hiking shoes and an outfit to help you. 

Hidden Lake Trail

  • Features: Lake, woodlands, wildlife
  • Trail surface: Smooth-treaded trail 
  • Difficulty: Easy  
  • Length: 2.1 mile 
  • Route type: Loop 
  • Parking: Available  
Traveling along the Hidden Lake Trail has a lot to offer – solitude alongside pristine waters, dense hills, and lush forests. The trail is an easy route near East Stroudsburg. It is considered an easy route, but the difficulty is when the path is moist and has the path can be a little steep in certain places. 

What to expect: 

As you go down the dirty trail of rocks and roots, you will most likely come across white-tailed deer, turtles and frogs near the river banks. Along the way, you will also discover some abandoned homes and buildings. The Hidden Lake formed because of the natural spring water. You are most likely to find wet areas around – boards, logs, and rocks on the trail’s edges and gaps to help the hikers cross the trail. 

Hike Map 

  1. The trail starts from the Hidden Lake Parking Area. The trail loops around the Hidden Lake. It might take around 43 minutes to complete the trail. 
  2. As you start, you will find yourself walking in the colorful woodlands. As you trail around the lake, you can take the time to sit by the water and relax. 
  3. In the end, you can go around the lake, towards the parking area. 

Mount Tammany Trail 

  • Features: Short in length, forest area, wildlife, river
  • Trail surface: Steep, very rocky 
  • Difficulty: Moderate to difficult   
  • Length: 1.2 miles  
  • Route type: One-way 
  • Parking: Available  
Also known as the Red Dot trail, Mt. Tammany Trail is one of the two trails that offers a picturesque view of the Delaware Water Gap. This hike is one of the most challenging trails in the park. The Mt. Tammany Trail and the Pahaquarry trail make up to be a three-mile trail. 

What to expect: 

You can expect a short and intensive climb, high enough to offer a good view. It is like a classic loop hike with a strenuous climb. The hikers are expected to follow the rules and regulations of the National Forest Service. Dogs are allowed to hike but need to be on a leash. The best time to explore this hiking trail is late spring, summer, and early fall. 

Hike Map

  1. The trail starts from stairs leading to a fork. The trail ascends to the first vista that looks over the Delaware River and around Mount Minsi. 
  2. Further down, the trail takes you over the shoulder of Mount Tammany, offering many viewpoints along the way. 
  3. Reach to the crest of the Gap and go left to view New Jersey from atop. This is where the trail ends, and the Blue Dot trail starts. You can take a break and enjoy the view of the river and Mt. Minsi from the top. 

Places to stay 

For a comfortable yet rustic stay near Delaware Water Gap, you can rest in the cabins around the area. HolidayKeepers provide cabin rentals in Delaware Water Gap and around Poconos for a holiday that feels like home! 

FAQ

It’s located between Pennsylvania and New Jersey borders, which attracts Pocono mountain visitors.

Toms Creek Trail is pet-friendly in the Delaware Water gap

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