Our Favorite Things To Do at the Delaware Water Gap

The Delaware Water Gap National Forest boasts a large swathe of preserved land on both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the Delaware River, offering endless recreational activities. Plus, exploring past human developments ended by the purchase of the land by the Federal Government, now frozen in time by the protection of the park, can be just as fun.  It is awesome having land preservation on such a large scale less than 2 hours away from Philadelphia. The miles of, at times treacherous, back roads make one feel as though they are in a remote wilderness.   

Crossing Dingman's Ferry Bridge from PA to NJ.

Crossing Dingman's Ferry Bridge from PA to NJ.

A scenic view during a hike in the Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey.
Thunder Mountain Road, NJ

Thunder Mountain Road, NJ

The smoke from a forest fire on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River from New Jersey.

The smoke from a forest fire on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River from New Jersey.

Outdoor hiking in the backwoods of the Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey.

The Delaware Water Gap National Forest came into existence in the 1960s when the federal government began buying up land in the area in order to put a dam on the Delaware River.  The plan fell through and the land was turned over to the National Park Service who continued to buy up land in the area from anyone willing to sell.  In many cases the settlements on that land, farms, inns, houses and even small towns remain and are left untouched.  This scattered abandonment offers a unique natural experience and a glimpse into the areas history.  Plus, it makes for some damn good photo ops.  Here are a few of the best locations for abandoned development in the Delaware Water Gap National Forest…

Looking across Long Pine Pond, New Jersey, once the center of a Boy Scout Camp.

Looking across Long Pine Pond, New Jersey, once the center of a Boy Scout Camp.

Pondering if we should take a dip into Long Pine Pond, New Jersey.
A picnic area, part of which is now in Crater Lake, New Jersey.

A picnic area, part of which is now in Crater Lake, New Jersey.

An overlook close to the Appalachian Trail, New Jersey.

An overlook close to the Appalachian Trail, New Jersey.

An abandoned farm house we passed on the way to Buttermilk Falls, New Jersey.
An abandoned farm off of Mountain Road travelling north toward Buttermilk Falls, New Jersey.

An abandoned farm off of Mountain Road travelling north toward Buttermilk Falls, New Jersey.

Hiking through the Delaware Water Gap on the way to Buttermilk Falls in New Jersey.
An old, abandoned outhouse structure in the Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey side. 
An old abandoned destroyed structure in the Delaware Water Gap forest in New Jersey.
Abandoned farm at the intersection of Old Mine Road and Kuhn Road, New Jersey.

Abandoned farm at the intersection of Old Mine Road and Kuhn Road, New Jersey.

If you walk toward the Delaware River from the farm shown above you come across some older ruins.

If you walk toward the Delaware River from the farm shown above you come across some older ruins.

Remains of the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad Bridge at Karamac.

Remains of the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad Bridge at Karamac.

As far as more traditional recreation activities, we love hiking through the park, specifically in the summer when the destination is a waterfall or some sort of cliff where we can jump into a pristine, or at least refreshing, body of water.  There are opportunities for this on both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey side of the park.  Here are a few locations for swimming, cliff jumping, or at least sight seeing in the Delaware Water Gap National Forest.

Buttermilk Falls is a natural, mossy waterfall in the Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey.
Buttermilk Falls is a majestic, powerful waterfall in the Delaware Water Gap of New Jersey.
Buttermilk Falls and the staircase along-side it.

Buttermilk Falls and the staircase along-side it.

Hiking uphill through the Delaware Water Gap trails in New Jersey.
A hike, using MindShift photo equipment, through the Delaware Water Gap in New Jersey.
Baby tree saplings growing at the forest floor in the Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey.
A hike along tree trunks through the Delaware Water Gap forest in New Jersey.
Walking along Brodhead Creek, Pennsylvania on the way to the remains of the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad Bridge at Karamac.

Walking along Brodhead Creek, Pennsylvania on the way to the remains of the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad Bridge at Karamac.

A summer swim around the remnants of a railroad bridge in Brodhead Creek, in Pennsylvania.
A summer hike along Adams Creek Trail in Pennsylvania.
Adams Creek Trail, Pennsylvania: On our way to a series of waterfalls. See below.

Adams Creek Trail, Pennsylvania: On our way to a series of waterfalls. See below.

Rocky, natural waterfalls along the Adams Creek Trail in the Delaware Water Gap of Pennsylvania.
pennsylvania-wildlife-waterfall-frog
A cool, refreshing swim in a clear waterfall pond along Adams Creek Trail in Pennsylvania.
Cliff jumping off a waterfall along Adams Creek Trail in the forests of Pennsylvania.
A refreshing, green waterfall along the natural Adams Creek Trail in the Delaware Water Gap of Pennsylvania.
A summer waterfall hike along Adams Creek Trail in the forests of Pennsylvania. 
A cool, refreshing cliff dive off of a waterfall in the Delaware Water Gap of Pennsylvania. 
Cliff jumping is a thrilling, popular activity at the Delaware Water Gap of Pennsylvania.

Plus, there's always plenty of wildlife along the way...

This is not a beaver or muskrat, just a ground hog taking a swim on a hot day.

This is not a beaver or muskrat, just a ground hog taking a swim on a hot day.

An unusual sighting, a groundhog swimming cross Brodhead Creek, Pennsylvania.
A groundhog swims across Brodhead Creek during a hot, summer hike.
Colorful newts are abundant in the Delaware Water Gap region.
Common Merganser

Common Merganser

Canada Geese and Mallards on a double date.

Canada Geese and Mallards on a double date.

Abundant in wildlife, the Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey side, has many species of frogs.
A green frog sits in a tidepool by a waterfall in the Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey.
Deer remains, based on the scat (poop) found around it, probably eaten by coyotes.

Deer remains, based on the scat (poop) found around it, probably eaten by coyotes.

Documentation of deer remains and remnants.
Photographed is a deer skull, which was eaten by coyotes.
The Delaware Water Gap has many opportunities to see wildlife and explore nature.
Here, a box turtle hides from its predators at the Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey.
A big black bear dump.

A big black bear dump.

Animals of all sizes can be found in the Delaware Water Gap, such as chipmunks
Many insects to examine at the Delaware Water Gap in New Jersey's forests.