Waterfall Hunting

By Mike Helbing

There are waterfalls scattered throughout the Skylands region, but nowhere so plentiful than in the Kittatinny Mountains, where streams find their way down steep slopes to the Delaware River. Within the Kittatinny range, which parallels a forty-mile stretch of the river in Warren and Sussex Counties, are Worthington and Stokes State Forests, High Point State Park, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and State Wildlife Management areas. Several waterfalls are only a short walk away from parking areas.

Buttermilk Falls
Buttermilk Falls

At Dunnfield Creek Natural Area, part of Worthington State Forest, there is a quaint little waterfall less than a mile’s walk along the Appalachian Trail and Dunnfield Creek Trail from the parking area off of Interstate Route 80 west of exit 4. Follow the White Blazed Appalachian Trail to a fork where the green blazed Dunnfield Creek trail bears right. Continue a short distance to these falls.

Continue west on I-80 to the last exit in New Jersey at Old Mine Road and bear right to a stoplight. Travel along Old Mine Road for almost exactly four miles to a parking area on the left; the trailheads for Douglas Trail and Garvey Springs Trails. There is a waterfall on the creek here barely within sight of the road. Take a quick walk up the hill for a closer look.

Resume along the Old Mine Road for another 3.5 miles to another parking lot on the left, Copper Mines parking area. While the old mine holes are the main attraction of this area, the often overlooked little waterfalls along Coppermines Brook are worth the trip. There are two particularly nice ones at the confluence of two streams about a mile along the upper Coppermines Trail. This and the Garvey Springs Trail can also be accessed by way of the Appalachian Trail.

Van Campen Falls
Van Campen's Glen

The Van Campen’s Glen parking area is located about 2.2 miles from the Coppermines Parking lot, on the right side of the road. The smaller of the two falls along the trail is located a very short walk from the parking area, the larger one is a bit further, still under a mile. Van Campen’s Brook carves it’s way through overhanging rocks, and just above the falls the rocks have eroded to form a natural shelf, the most beautiful example of water erosion in the state. Van Campen’s Glen Trail can also be accessed from Watergate nearer to Millbrook Village.

A right hand turn off County Rt. 615 in Sussex County onto the unmarked, unpaved Mountain Road will lead about 1.5 mile to Buttermilk Falls, the highest waterfall in New Jersey. Wooden stairs and viewing platforms on the beginning of Buttermilk Falls Trail afford excellent views of the falls from different angles. The trail continues 1.6 miles to the Appalachian Trail.

After viewing the falls, continue on Mountain Road north for under another half mile to the next bridge over a small stream. An unmarked trail along the stream leads a short distance to Hidden Falls, an aptly named narrow waterfall, also known as “Silver Sprays Falls”. Next, continue along Mountain Road for another mile, to Tillman Creek, where another unmarked trail will lead to the rocky Tillman Ravine with some small falls. There is good parking along Brink Road, the next right hand turn off Mountain Road less than a mile up.

Stokes State Forest has a nice seasonal waterfall just south of Stony Lake. From the Stokes entrance, take Coursen Road to Stony Lake, and follow the brook south to a nice little waterfall.

These modest waterfalls are beautiful sights, sculpted by the hands of nature, and nestled in an unspoiled piece of the planet. One cannot help but feel humbled in the presence of the kinetic display of the waterfall.

Visit Mike's website for hikes of all kinds.

Nearby accommodations and attractions

  • Jenny Jump Observatory
  • The UACNJ facilities in Jenny Jump State Forest, near Hope in Warren County, are 1,100 feet above sea level, one of the few dark sky locations left in the state.

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  • 4 Track
  • Bike Sales, Service and Rentals - Hiking Gear and Supplies - Model Trains and Hobby Supply. Located on historic Main Street in Blairstown, 4 Track is only 1/8 mile from the Paulinskill Valley Rail Trail, a beautiful 26 mile cinder bed flat rail-trail, perfect for cycling or hiking! 4 Track is also a great starting point for a short hike on the Appalachian Trail with a full supply of gear and maps.

    15 Main St , Blairstown 07825, 908-362-5699

  • Delaware River Railroad Excursions
  • An adventure every season on scenic steam train excursions along the Delaware River staffed by enthusiastic volunteers! Catch the Warren County Winery Train, River and Steam Train Ride, Mine Train, Day Out With Thomas and many more!

    100 Elizabeth St., Phillipsburg, 1-877/872-4674

  • Ellias Food and Drink
  • Owner and Chef Elias Lahoud invites you to enjoy creative cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. Dine inside or enjoy a peaceful afternoon or evening on the patio, minutes from the magnificent Delaware Water Gap. Wed - Fri., 4 - 9:30pm; Sat. & Sun. , 2 - 9:30pm.

    411 Route 94, Columbia 07832, 908/496-8444

  • The Farm In Harmony
  • 7-acre military themed Corn Maze, with mini maze for little ones, open Wed.-Sun. through November 10.Fresh produceat farmstand or schedule pick-on-demand. Homemade soaps available online.Always a discount for Veterans with proper ID.

    231 Brainards Road, Harmony 08865, 908/283-0721

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