Spring showers bring more than just beautiful flowers. A few good rainstorms help to turn trickling waterfalls into thunderous ones, and New Jersey has more than 20 waterfalls for you to discover.
The largest, and perhaps the most well known, is the Great Falls of the Passaic in Paterson (shown in photo). It is the second largest waterfall east of the Mississippi River (after Niagara), plunging 70 feet over a rocky ledge into the trap rock and sandstone below. Currently, the park around the Great Falls is under construction, but the waterfalls and the bridge over the falls are still open to the public.
Also best seen after a wet winter is Silver Spray Falls in the Delaware Water Gap, in Walpack Township, Sussex County. “Silver Spray Falls is surely among the prettiest in New Jersey—free-falling over the red rocks of the Kittatinny Ridge through a glen of hemlock and mountain laurel,” writes Gary Letcher in Waterfalls of the Mid-Atlantic States (Countryman Press, 2004). Out of the way and “difficult to find” along the Hidden Falls Trail, Letcher insists it’s worth the effort to hike there, calling Silver Spray Falls the most “photogenic falls” in New Jersey.
Letcher also recommends the Shore Trail leading to Greenbrook Falls in Tenafly as a “truly remarkable hike.” The Hudson River and the skyscrapers of New York are on one side, and the cliffs of the Palisades are on the other.
Boonton Falls in the Morris County village of Boonton was once the strength behind the New Jersey Iron Company, built in the early 1800s. According to Letcher, the falls provided a popular, yet dangerous, swimming hole for local youth, with a number of swimmers losing their lives on the rocks or in the pool below. In the 1950s, “the city dynamited the rocks around the falls, shortening its height and filling the channel with rocks” to make it safer, says Letcher.
Called one of the best-kept secrets in Waterfalls of the Mid-Atlantic, Bridal Veil Falls in North Haledon (Passaic County) is said to be dazzling after a good rain, and easy to reach. In winter, the falls freezes into a stack of huge icicles.A trail leads behind the waterfall, and your children are sure to enjoy this water “cave” of falling water.
So are you ready for a great hike? Don your water-resistant hiking boots and your sense of adventure as you search out these spectacular examples of New Jersey’s lesser-known natural resources.
Tumble Falls, Frenchtown
Tinton Falls, Tinton Falls (the overlook by the falls is located at 741 Tinton Ave.)
Great Falls of the Passaic, Paterson
Hewitt (Mine Hole) Falls, Hewitt, West Milford Township
Clinton Falls, Newfoundland, West Milford Township
Wynochie Falls, Bloomingdale, in Norvin Green State Forest
Chickahokie Falls, Bloomingdale, in Norvin Green State Forest
Bridal Veil Falls, North Haledon (near William Paterson University)
Sussex County/Delaware Water Gap region
Rutherford Falls, Montague Township
Coopers Glen Falls, Colesville, Wantage Township
Tillman Ravine, Walpack Township, Stokes State Forest
Stony Brook, Sandyston Township, Stokes State Forest
Silver Spray Falls, Walpack Township
Buttermilk Falls, Walpack Township
Warren County/Delware Water Gap region
Van Campens Glen, Hardwick, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (Warren Co. section)
Big Tocks Creek Falls, Hardwick
Laurel Falls, Hardwick, Worthington State Forest