Wednesday, October 5, 2016

New Jersey Waterfalls

I wrote about water trails earlier on this blog, but a post back in September on the njconservation.org blog reminded me to revisit our states waterfalls.

This summer was pretty dry and our waterfalls were low on water. The Great Falls at Paterson were actually "turned off" for a few hours in September to check the dam and clear away debris. The Passaic River was diverted to the hydroelectric plant there on a day where the water level was low.

A day or two after a big rainfall is a great time to visit. By then the runoff has hit the falls and the paths and trails are less soggy.

Great Falls

The big one in NJ is the Paterson Great Falls. It's a distant second to Niagara Falls but it is the east coast's second largest (not the highest) waterfall. The addition of the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park has made visiting more worthwhile. Check out the 77-foot Great Falls after a big rainstorm for a rainbow-spray view.

The falls that I have visited the most is a small one - Hemlock Falls in South Mountain Reservation - which was a place I often rode my bike when I was growing up nearby. The Reservation is the largest park in Essex County and an escape in a very urban area, so even an easy "hike" to a 25-foot waterfall was treat. And it still is a nice escape.

Buttermilk Falls via www.njhiking.com


There are 7 other waterfalls you can visit in our state
  1. Buttermilk Falls is your stop if you want to see the state's highest waterfall. At 200 feet, this rocky cascade in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a short walk from a parking lot and you can also climb steps to the top for a reverse view. If you're more ambitious, try this hike from njhiking.com
  2. Chikahoki Falls and Otter Hole is in Norvin Green State Forest in Passaic County.
  3. The small Apshawa Falls would be a good stop on a hike through the Apshawa Preserve in West Milford.
  4. Greenbrook Falls has a unique location in the Greenbrook Sanctuary atop the Palisades in Tenafly and Alpine, Bergen County.
  5. The Rockaway River, like the Passaic River in Paterson, once powered industry. Boonton Falls is outside Boonton's downtown in Grace Lord Park.
  6. The prettily named Bridal Veil Falls is on the grounds of William Paterson University in North Haledon. There is a trail behind the falls that lets you stand in a cave behind the falling water.
  7. Tinton Falls is a town and the falls from which it got its name. This Monmouth County waterfall was also one a source of power, and can be easily seen from an overlook off Tinton Avenue.

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