The Best Hiking Trails with Waterfalls in New Jersey

Posted on: January 29th, 2021 by

When you and your family have been in the house just too long and you are in need of a fun family experience, searching for hiking trails in NJ with waterfalls makes for an excellent adventure that everyone will enjoy!

Cascading from various heights and usually set-in calm, tranquil settings, seeking waterfalls out can be fun but can also be a welcome mental health retreat.

New Jersey offers a wide variety of waterfalls to explore. While most waterfall hikes in NJ can be found in Northern New Jersey, there are others scattered around the state as well. Some are found in majestic scenery while others can be found in the middle of a town.

Check out our list of some of our favorites and pick a few to find. Sit back and just listen to the lovely sounds of the water breaking over the rocks or take a swim where it is allowed and when it’s warm enough, but most importantly, enjoy some fun with your family!

A special note of thanks to GMC. During President’s Day weekend in 2020 GMC arranged for us to have a vehicle loan of a 2021 GMC Yukon Denali and a stay at the Home2 Suites by Hilton in Wayne NJ. This partnership allowed us to have an amazing New Jersey staycation hiking trails in NJ with waterfalls. You can see our pictures and details from those waterfall hikes below. Chikahoki Falls, Boonton Falls, and Paterson Falls were all visited during that NJ waterfalls tour.

The 2021 GMC Yukon Denali parked and overlooking Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park.
The 2021 GMC Yukon Denali parked and overlooking Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park.

The Top Waterfall Hikes In New Jersey

Here are some of the top waterfall hikes in NJ that tend to come up over and over when hikers talk about where to hike in New Jersey.

Buttermilk Falls – Sussex County

The trail to Buttermilk Falls begins with a hike to the top. At 85 feet tall, it’s one of the tallest waterfalls in New Jersey. You can see the waterfall from the parking lot, but it’s just not the same thing as hiking the trail. The 1.4-mile trail is a moderate to difficult one and continues up a steep climb to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. It is a one-way trail.

At the top you will be rewarded with a glorious view of the valley below. Swimming is not permitted within 50 feet upstream of the waterfall or in the waterfall itself but there is a swimming area near the parking lot.

Buttermilk Falls is part of the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area and located in Northern New Jersey. Learn more here. The trailhead is in Walpack Township, New Jersey.

Buttermilk Falls hiking trail with waterfalls in nj
Photo Credit National Park Service

Paterson Great Falls – Passaic County

It’s hard to miss the Paterson Great Falls as it lies under a bridge in a largely urban setting and is massive in volume. The Paterson Great Falls are the second largest waterfall east of the Mississippi. At 260 feet wide and 77 feet tall, it’s such a magnificent and beautiful setting.

National Historical Park Paterson Great Falls Junior Ranger Badges
National Historical Park Paterson Great Falls

Paterson Falls Park Trail is an easy 0.8-mile loop and good for all skill levels. It’s not your traditional hike the path, it is all paved. It takes you around the park and provides breathtaking views of the waterfalls from different viewpoints and angles. It is located in the Northern New Jersey city of Paterson at 72 McBride Avenue.

In February 2020, we revisited the Paterson Great Falls. We were so close by visiting other waterfall hiking trails, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see Paterson Great Falls again. I’ve always loved these waterfalls. You can’t get as close in the winter as you can in warmer months, but it is still something to see how they compare to when the falls are in full force. On our visit they were partially frozen over but still producing powerful falls.

family picture near the top of the Paterson great falls waterfall hiking trail in New Jersey.JPG

Learn more about Paterson Great Falls:

waterfalls at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in New Jersey, National Parks in New Jersey
Look at this amazing view at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. Photo Credit Jersey Family Fun

Hemlock Falls – Essex County

Located in the Southern Mountain Reservation, Hemlock Falls is a 25-foot waterfall that is exciting to see no matter the season. The park has over 2000 acres and over 50 miles of trails to explore.

One account lists the trail to Hemlock Falls as a moderate one with rocky areas and some stream crossings which can be tricky depending on the water levels. It’s about a 5-6 mile loop. Depending on water levels there may be a small pool to take a dip in to cool off.

South Mountain Conservancy mentions an easier way to hike to Hemlock Falls. They say, “Situated alongside the Lenape Trail and Hemlock Falls Loop Trail the falls are easily accessible. From the Tulip Springs parking lot it is about a ten minute walk and from the small parking lot near the Pine Grove bridge, along South Orange Avenue, is about a five minute walk to the falls. As you walk along the Lenape Trail, just before Hemlock Falls, is the smaller Hobble Falls.” Take this route and get two waterfalls in one hike.

Parking is available at a few different lots (directions here.) Learn more about Hemlock Falls and the Southern Mountain Reservation at the Essex County Park System website.

South Mountain Conservancy's image of Hemlock Falls at Southern Mountain Reservation
Photo Credit South Mountain Conservancy

Hiking with kids? Sign up for the 52 Hike Challenge for New Jersey Kids.

Must-See Hiking Trails In New Jersey With Waterfalls

As you explore the state or work through a hiking challenge with the kids like the 52 Hiking Challenge for New Jersey kids, these are some waterfall hikes you MUST include for the ultimate adventures and views.

Greenbrook Falls – Bergen County

A sanctuary for hikers, the Greenbrook Sanctuary has close to seven miles of marked trails for hiking and is located in Tenafly and Alpine, New Jersey. In order to explore the trails and Greenbrook Falls, you must be a member of the Palisades Nature Association, which is open to anyone. Memberships start at $40 for an individual or $60 for a household.

The 250 foot waterfalls are created by one of three streams that spill dramatically down the cliff face to their final resting spot, the Hudson River. The 250 foot drop is a spectacular sight!

The entrance is off U.S. Route 9W in Alpine. Learn more at the Greenbrook Sanctuary website.

Watchung Reservation – Union County

There are trails for every level of hiker and fun for adults and kids alike at this 2000 acre protected forest in Union County, New Jersey. Take the Sierra Trail (about a 9-11-mile loop) to the gorge for a fantastic view of the Watchung Reservation waterfalls coming over the cliffs.

Hike the Watchung Reservation near the Trailside Nature Center.
Watchung Reservation Photo Credit Jersey Family Fun

Looking at photos online this trail looks fascinating with all kinds of structures along the path in addition to the waterfalls. I’m also kicking myself because we hiked part of this trail when we visited the Trailside Nature & Science Center back in the summer of 2017. Had I known there was a waterfall we definitely would have finished the loop.

Watchung Reservation also has the Trailside Nature & Science Center, stables, and more to explore. It’s recommended to park at the Trailside Nature Center at (452 New Providence Rd, Mountainside) and start and end your hike there.

Learn more

Watchung Reservation waterfall in Union County
Watchung Reservation Photo Credit Alltrails.com

Dunnfield Creek Falls – Warren County

A 3.5-mile (one way) trail is a gorgeous NJ hiking trail with waterfalls that winds across the Dunnfield Creek and multiple small water cascades. These falls cascade through the calm, relaxing Worthington State Forest, rushing from a ravine and ending in a lovely wading pool.

Dunnfield Creek is also a designated Wild Trout Stream and supports a healthy population of native brook trout. Perhaps you’ll see some on your waterfall hike.

The Dunnfield Creek Falls trail marker is at 0.5 mile via the Dunnfield Creek Natural Area trailhead in Hardwick Township. Learn more at the National Park Service website or the Worthington State Forest website.

Dunnfield Creek Falls in Worthington State Forest in New Jersey
Photo Credit National Park Service

Worthington State Forest Waterfall – Laurel Falls – Warren County

With over 26 miles of trails, seven miles which are a part of the Appalachian trail, chasing waterfalls here should keep you and your family busy!

These falls can be accessed by a short walk (about 5 minutes) from Old Mine Road in Worthington State Forest or done as part of a loop up to Sunfish Pond where there are a series of three waterfalls. It looks like the Douglas Trail is the best option. It’s 3-5 miles depending on the route you take.

The flow of the water depends on recent rainfall (usually best in the spring). The Lower Falls are closest to the road and accessed on an unmarked path near the Douglas Trail signs and if you keep climbing up you can access the Upper Falls. There is a third section but it is a pretty steep climb and that section is not as impressive.

Learn more at the Worthington State Forest website.

Waterfalls You Must Visit In North Jersey

Some may say New Jersey is pretty flat, but with an abundance of hiking trails with waterfalls New Jersey is anything but flat. Check out these mountainous and glorious waterfalls with your kids.

Boonton Falls – Morris County

You will hear these falls from Main Street in the lovely town of Boonton because the waterfalls are just a short stroll from town. The Boonton Falls are located in the north part of Grace Lord Park which offers paths on both the east and west side of the water. It just might be one of the easiest hiking trails in NJ with waterfalls.

These falls are magnificent! While test driving the GMC Yukon we planned a NJ Waterfall Staycation to North Jersey to see a few of New Jersey’s waterfall hikes, Boonton Falls was one of them.

Boonton Falls signage details the history of the Morris Canal

The path to Boonton Falls starts just beyond the playground and gazebo at Grace Lord Park. There is large signage that speaks to the falls’ history. You can’t miss it.

I believe the trail is a loop that goes around the waterfall. We followed a path through the snow. There is a stone bridge that crosses over the stream. During our winter visit we were only able to take the trail about 3/4 of the way around the trail. (I think in warmer weather the last portion of the trail would be clearer to see and may have some incline to it.) The views were gorgeous.

Boy with boulders on Boonton falls a NJ hiking trail with waterfalls.

A bonus for hikers with kids around Boonton Falls is the large structure of boulders. They make for some great pictures and can be a fun spot for a picnic in warmer weather.

The loop we hiked around Boonton Falls was pretty easy and was between 1/2 to 1 mile. We took the loop across the stone bridge, over the stream, but it looked like the trail may go further down and around the stream. Due to the cold and our ambitious agenda to get to three of these waterfall hikes in New Jersey in one day we didn’t fully explore the trail.

family picture in front of boulders on bridge at Boonton Falls at Grade Lord Park.JPG

For most of the trail, there is a fencing that serves as a barrier between the trail and the Boonton Falls. The stone bridge itself also has large wire fencing. You can see through the fencing. As you cross the bridge and head back towards the falls the fencing does not go the full length to the falls. If you are hiking with young children or more carefree children take care in this area.

Both sides of the waterfall did have emergency 911 call boxes.

I did not see trail markers, but honestly it would be very hard to get lost. The trail is pretty open and wide and it’s easy to see through to the other side.

Boonton Falls a NJ hiking trail with waterfalls in Morris County NJ

The best spot for an unobstructed family picture in front of the falls is going to be towards the end of the loop, the area between the falls and the roadway. There was a flat area and I was able to have my boys pose for a picture with the falls along side of them. Above at street level there is also an observation platform.

Hiking Boonton Falls with kids? There is a wonderful playground structure. Give yourself extra time to play because it’s likely your kids are going to want to climb all over it.

Grace Lord Park is located in Morris County at West Main and Essex Avenue. We did not see a parking lot and took advantage of street parking, near the funeral home, to park the GMC Yukon. Learn more at the Boonton town website.

2021 GMC Yukon parked on the street at Grace Lord Park in Boonton, New Jersey.
Some street parking is available at Grace Lord Park. Pictured is the 2021 GMC Yukon we took to Boonton Falls during our vehicle loan.

Hacklebarney State Park – Morris County

At one of the best New Jersey State Parks enjoy Mother Nature while exploring the various waterfalls that Hacklebarney State Park offers. Tiny trickles to large gushers are on display here and can be found with an easy 0.7 mile walk or a little farther with a near 2-3 mile hike.

This park also offers stunning bird watching and fishing opportunities.

One thing to keep in mind, this is a popular state park. While capacity limits are in place plan to visit either first thing in the morning or during off peak times. Learn more about Hacklebarney State Park in Long Valley.

a stream along the Nj waterfall trail at Hacklebarney State Park
Hacklebarney State Park

Schooley’s Mountain – Morris County

If you don’t mind a rocky waterfall hike in New Jersey then consider hiking Schooley’s Mountain in Morris County. Hiking paths range from .8 miles to 2.4 miles depending on the route you take. NJhiking.com has different hiking directions at their site.

The waterfalls at Schooley’s Mountain at Schooley’s Mountain County Park are located at 91 East Springtown Road, Washington Township. Learn more about Schooley’s Mountain waterfalls.

waterfall at Schooley’s Mountain - Morris County
Photo Credit NJhiking.com

Chikahoki Falls – Passaic County

The Chikahoki Falls lie deep inside the Norvin Green Forest in the Northern part of New Jersey. While the falls are not very high, they do provide greatness in their beauty. Enjoy a picnic or some rest while taking in the calming sounds of the water rushing over the huge rocks.

Boys looking over the stream from Chikahoki Falls at Norvin Green State Forest

Hikes in this area can be better for experienced hikers but there are some trails that are shorter/easier so make sure to check your trails before you head out. Definitely check out the trail map before starting your hike as not all Norvin Green Forest hiking trails lead to Chikahoki Falls and the trail with the falls does not pass a parking lot.

Boys with sign for Chikahoki Falls at Norvin Green State Forest

This was the other waterfall hike in New Jersey we hiked on our New Jersey waterfall staycation with the GMC Yukon. We put together a few shorter trails to get to the Chikahoki Falls and used a route on AllTrails that started at the Otter Parking Lot.

While the hike was on the shorter side 2.6 miles it took us over 2 hours to complete. I attribute that to a few factors: there are a lot of steep inclines and descents, there was several inches of snow, and there are boulders and logs to walk across.

Chikahoki Falls partially frozen over at Norvin Green State Forest

The different types of terrain make for an interesting waterfall hike that most hikers, young and old will enjoy. It’s one that I strongly urge you to bring hiking sticks for. They will help you steady yourself on those tricky inclines. I’d almost even say bring an extra hiking stick. One of ours completely snapped in the snow, so I was thankful we each had one so I could borrow one from the kids.

Teen sits on log at Chikahoki Falls at Norvin Green State Forest.

I’d also say if you’re not local to this hiking trail with waterfalls, save it for the spring when the water is flowing freely. The frozen waterfall was beautiful, but I imagine most of it was hidden under the frozen ice. We also did not see a lot of water flow in the streams leading to the falls.

Chikahoki Falls Norvin Green State Forest hiking to the waterfall in the snow

The layered snow was also a mixed blessing. While it made it easy to see the trail by following the path carved in the snow, when it came time to cross streams it was difficult to tell the difference between packed snow over water and snow packed over boulders. I’d love to go back and see how Chikahoki Falls compares by hiking it in the spring.

Norvin Green Forest has 6 areas with traditional parking lots and 3 areas with parking pull offs. Learn more at these links:

Horizontal picture of NJ hiking trail that leads to Chikahoki Falls at Norvin Green State Forest

Apshawa Waterfall – Passaic County

As if the Apshawa Waterfall at the Apshawa Preserve was not enough to hold your kids’ attention, the trails here also offer views of water tank ruins and a dam.

You can enjoy these NJ hiking trails with waterfalls with hikes from just over 3 miles to just over 5 miles. One thing to note though, in drought conditions this particular waterfall in New Jersey may be dry. Plan your visit accordingly.

Hikers can park in a dirt lot at 4 Northwood Drive West Milford. Bring the binoculars because bird watching is also recommended for these trails. Learn more about hiking the Apshawa Waterfall.

Ramapo Falls – Bergen County

Located in Ramapo Valley Reservation in Mahwah, this park features a network of five loop trails, all beginning within a two-mile radius of the parking lot. The Vista Loop Trail (yellow blaze) includes a pond, a reservoir, Ramapo Falls and three panoramic views.

  • Hawk Rock
  • Cactus Ledge
  • Ridge Overlook

The Vista Loop Trail that will take you to the Ramapo Falls is considered a more difficult waterfall hike due to the steep ascents at some point. It’s also a nearly 4 mile loop trail that starts and ends at a parking lot. You could hike the short 1.4 mile roundtrip waterfall hike just to the waterfall and then retrace your steps back but you’ll miss out on some magnificent views.

It is best to visit Ramapo Falls in the spring as by summer time the falls have slowed to a trickle. Learn more about this NJ waterfall hike located in ocated in Mahwah at 608 Ramapo Valley Road below.

Silver Spray Falls also known as Hidden Falls – Sussex County

Located deep in the woods of Walpack township (and only about 5 miles away from Buttermilk Falls), you will find the Hidden Falls Trail. Be aware, this trail can be difficult to find and follow, hence why it’s considered the Hidden Falls Trails.

Hikers have reported the trail head as being unmarked. It’s a half a mile along Mountain Road. Keep your eyes open while hiking and make sure to cross the stream to see the falls. If you start heading uphill you may be headed the wrong way. This is an easy hike of only about half a mile round trip.

Silver Spray Falls also known as Hidden Falls - Sussex County
Photo Credit NJhiking.com

Tillman Falls – Sussex County

Located in Sussex County in Northern New Jersey inside Stokes State Forest, Tillman Falls isn’t as impressive as its neighbor Buttermilk Falls, but is still a lovely waterfall to see.

Follow the hiking path through Tillman Ravine and across wooden bridges for an easy 1- 2 mile hike to discover the Tillman waterfalls and if you continue on the Appalachian Trail you will eventually end up at Buttermilk Falls. It’s described as an easy hike, but keep in mind there are steep areas.

The New Jersey State Park describes the Tillman Ravine Trail, “as a short 1 mile looped trail that goes between ridge and ravine and along Tillman Brook, which flows from a spring in the Kittatinny Mountains to the east. The ravine is a narrow red shale and sandstone gorge set among tall hemlock trees. The forested hillsides are thick with hemlock and tulip
poplar, with rhododendron and ferns blanketing the ground.”

To get to the trailhead NJ State parks says it’s at the west side of the park along Dimon Road, just before reaching seasonal gate and Walpack Cemetery. Take Struble Road from Route 206 and continue to Dimon Road. Signs direct you to the upper and lower parking areas for Tillman Ravine.

Learn more about hiking to the Tillman Falls in the Stokes State Forest.

Van Campens Glen Falls – Sussex County

The trail is not a long one (about 1.6-miles round trip) but is rocky and located right at the waters edge which may cause it to be slippery when wet. Use caution when hiking this NJ waterfall hike.

Van Campens Glen Falls is a popular NJ hiking trail with waterfalls so get there early for some quiet to enjoy the cascades over the rocks. Located near Old Mine Road in Layton/ Walpack Township of New Jersey.

Find hiking directions at NJhiking.com.

Hiking trail reveals Van Campens Glen Falls - Sussex County
Photo Credit NJhiking.com

Stony Brook Falls – Sussex County

Stony Brook Falls offers hikers their choice of two NJ hiking trails with waterfalls. Take your pick from a shorter 1 mile hike or a little longer 3.4 waterfall hike.

The shorter hike, called Stepping Stone Falls, presents hikers with the waterfall flowing down over stones like steps.

Continue on that same path to take the longer waterfall hike. This becomes the Silver Mine trail. Hikers will encounter rocky areas as they make their way to a steeper waterfall. It’s almost as if a large rock had a side shaved off and the water just slides down over it.

Learn more about hiking to the Stony Brook Falls in the Stokes State Forest.

Stony Brook Falls in Sussex County offers two more waterfall hikes in nj
Photo Credit NJHiking.com

Waterfalls You Must Visit In Central New Jersey

While not as many as hiking trails with waterfalls as North Jersey, Central New Jersey is home to three waterfall hikes.

Musconetcong Gorge Preserve – Hunterdon County

At Musconetcong Gorge Preserve follow the Waterfall Trail (orange) up the ravine to a scenic waterfall at Scout Run and if you want to challenge yourself keep going to Gas Line Road, a steep, rocky trail that will make you work.

You can take paths of 1.5 miles to over 5.5 miles to see the waterfalls at Musconetcong Gorge. Bring a trail map, link below. We have read several reviews that this waterfall trail is not marked well.

While exploring this New Jersey waterfall hike make sure to take in all the wildlife including turkeys, deer, salamander, and songbirds. But be on the look out for poison ivy we have read reports of it along the trail.

The Musconetcong Gorge Preserve is located in Holland & Bethlehem Townships. Parking is available at 182 Dennis Road, Bloomsbury, and 5 Cyphers Road, Milford. Learn more about the waterfall at Musconetcong Gorge Preserve.

Photo Credit NJhiking.com

Tumble Falls – Hunterdon County

If you are looking for a short, easy walk to see waterfalls, Tumble Falls is your answer. These waterfalls are located near Tumble Falls Road and NJ Route 29 between Stockton and Frenchtown. They won’t take a lot of time to get there. These falls are really a series of small falls and are best to see after a good rainfall.

Tinton Falls – Monmouth County

Tinton Falls is the tallest waterfall on the coastal shore of New Jersey. While it used to be 30 feet tall, erosion has cut the height a bit, but it is still a lovely sight to see.

The best view of the Tinton Falls is on the wooden platform on Tinton Avenue. Called Overlook by the Falls, it’s located at the town’s waterfalls. It features a wildlife area where trails have been added to allow visitors to view the falls and the local fauna.

Tinton Falls is also home to another waterfall in New Jersey.

We visited Tinton Falls during the winter after the area had experienced a few snow storms. The ground was covered in snow so the trails were not visible, but you could still get great views of the waterfall. This New Jersey waterfall was not frozen over. You could also still access the platform with a picnic table.

The area is rich with history such as the burial ground that exists for enslaved African-Americans who worked at the Lewis Morris Ironworks. Look for the placard marking the burial ground, near the Crawford House on Tinton Avenue.

Overlook by the Falls at Tinton Falls waterfall at wintertime in NJ.

The observation point/Overlook by the Falls for the Tinton Falls waterfall is located at 741 Tinton Avenue in Tinton Falls. There is a small parking lot with a slightly steep slope. It’s very close to the intersection. If you blink you might miss it. There are also two restaurants at the intersection. On a sunny day, stop for lunch and enjoy a meal with beautiful views.

In Monmouth County NJ, Tinton Falls waterfall downstream horizontal picture

Waterfalls You Must Visit In South Jersey

Sadly, there are no ‘real’ waterfall hikes in South Jersey. We recommend you pick waterfall hikes to explore in North or Central New Jersey and then visit our guide to Cabin Getaways in New Jersey to find a cabin local to where you want to hike.

That being said there are some state parks in South Jersey that have lakes with dam like structures that create picturesque settings of rushing water similar to a waterfall.

  • Parvin State Park
  • Historic Batsto Village at Wharton State Forest
waterfall in south Jersey at Historic Batsto Village
A picture of the Batsto Village dam or waterfall, South Jersey’s own waterfall. It’s so beautiful!

When is the best time to take a waterfall hike?

Spring is generally recommended as the best time to take a waterfall hike in New Jersey. Water levels may be high presenting full streams and the weather is generally better for hiking.

Of course, winter can present some stunning of frozen NJ waterfalls. If you go out to explore, you’ll want to be careful as rocks may be extra icy and slippery.

Summer is definitely a warmer time to visit and some New Jersey waterfalls do allow swimming. However, water levels may also be lower due to evaporation. So keep in mind the waterfall may not be in its ideal state.

The days after a heavy rainfall can also be a wonderful time for a NJ hike with waterfalls. Make sure to wear good hiking boots a light rain jacket and bring a hiking stick as some trees may still be dripping rain and paths may be muddy or there may be some small streams to cross through on your way to the waterfall.

How long do NJ waterfall hikes take to hike?

To help you plan for the ultimate waterfall hiking adventure we’ve sorted New Jersey hikes with waterfalls by distance. With our list you’ll be able to determine what you can fit into an hour or so or which waterfall hikes you’ll need to save for a full morning, afternoon, or day.

If you’re concerned about you or your child needing to go and restrooms not being available take a look at our guide to Portable Potties Help Kids Pee & Poop Outside. It’s packed with solutions for when your kids just have to go.

Rectangular-image-for-Portable-Potties-Help-Kids-Pee-and-Poop-Outside

Short hiking trails in NJ with waterfalls

These waterfall hikes in NJ range from 1 – 3 miles in length. Depending on your pace they may be doable in less than 1 hour.

  • Paterson Falls Park Trail is an easy 0.8-mile loop and good for all skill levels.
  • Buttermilk Falls is about 2.8 miles to the falls and back and is considered a moderate to difficult trail.
  • The Boonton Falls are located in the north part of Grace Lord Park. It’s a short walk from the town. The path length is about a mile or less.
  • To get to the Chikahoki Falls, you will need to take at least one or more moderately difficult hiking trails to get to the Post Brooks Trail where the falls are located. You can get to the waterfalls and back in less than 3 miles from one of the nearby 3 parking lots. Click to view the Norvin Green State Forest trail map.
  • You can hike the entire main loop of Hacklebarney State Park trail with views of the waterfall in less than 3 miles. You could also start at the red trial, accessible from the parking lot, and make it to the waterfall in less than a mile.
  • You can take paths of 1.5 miles to over 5.5 miles to see the waterfalls at Musconetcong Gorge Preserve. Again, bring the trail map to help avoid getting lost.
  • Silver Spray Falls in Walpack township is only half a mile round trip.
  • Discover the Tillman waterfalls with a 1 mile hike through Tillman Ravine in the Stokes State Forest.
  • Hike the Van Campens Glen Falls to see it’s beauty with a round trip hike of 1.6 miles.
  • Hiking paths range from .8 miles to 2.4 miles to see the waterfalls at Schooley’s Mountain.

Medium length hiking trails in NJ with waterfalls

These waterfall hikes in NJ range from 3-6 miles in length. Depending on your pace you may be able to complete this waterfall hike in 2 hours or less.

  • Hemlock Falls is about a 5-mile loop and considered moderately difficult.
  • There are about 7 miles of trails at Greenbrook Falls, but looking at their trail map, I think you can make a round trip hike to the waterfalls in 6 miles or less.
  • The Douglas Trail at Worthington State Forest Waterfall that takes you to Laurel Falls is 1.7 miles one way so about 3.4 miles out and back. It’s considerate a moderately difficult trail.
  • Ramapo Valley Reservation’s Vista Loop Trail will take you the waterfalls and several viewpoints as part of a 3.75 mile loop trail.
  • Tumble Falls in Hunterdon County can be reached with a short, but potentially steep hike from nearby roadways.

Long hiking trails in NJ with waterfalls

These waterfall hikes in NJ range are more than 6 miles in length. These hikes to the waterfall will take you a little more time. Plan for a few hours and bring snacks or a picnic lunch.

  • The trail for Dunnfield Creek Falls is 3.5 miles one way making it about 7 miles if you hike in and back.
  • The Sierra Trail at the Watchung Reservation is 9-11 miles depending on where you start in the loop and how you travel it. Most sources suggest beginning at the Trailside Nature and Science Center. We agree because even if the nature center is closed outside there are some musical instruments, a sensory garden, a sensory trail, and other fun areas to explore with kids.
  • Several trails above are close enough to each other that you could create a whole day out of chasing waterfalls across New Jersey.
Child plays Xylophone in the central gazebo of the sensory trail at Trailside Nature Center
Playing the Xylophone at Trailside Nature Center

Hiking with kids? Sign up for the 52 Hike Challenge for New Jersey Kids.

Which NJ waterfalls can you swim at?

  • Swimming is not allowed at Buttermilk Falls waterfall, but there is a swimming area near the parking lot.
  • Swimming is allowed at Hemlock Falls if the water levels are high enough.

Which hiking trails in NJ with waterfalls do not allow swimming?

  • We do not believe swimming is allowed at Paterson Great Falls.
  • You can go wading through the base of Dunnfield Creek Falls, but you can not go swimming.
  • There are no details about swimming being allowed at Greenbrook Falls on the Greenbrook Sanctuary website.
  • Swimming is not listed as an activity at Schooley’s Mountain County Park.
  • We have been unable to find out information about swimming at Watchung Reservation.
  • Swimming is not allowed at Worthington State Forest Waterfall – Laurel Falls.
  • We do not believe swimming is allowed at Boonton Falls.
  • Swimming does not seem to be allowed at Chikahoki Falls.
  • Swimming is not permitted at Hacklebarney State Park.
  • Swimming does not appear to be permitted at Musconetcong Gorge Preserve.
  • There is no swimming at Ramapo Falls.
  • Silver Spray Falls does not appear to allow swimming.
  • Swimming is not permitted in any of the lakes or waterfalls in Stokes State Forest such as Tillman Falls and Stony Brook Falls.
  • No swimming is permitted at the Van Campens Glen Falls.
  • Swimming is not allowed at Tinton Falls.
  • You can not swim at Tumble Falls.
  • Swimming is not permitted at Apshawa Preserve.

Picking your New Jersey waterfall hike

Whether you want hiking trails in NJ with waterfalls close to your home or further away, whether you’re looking for short waterfall hikes in NJ or ones to fill an afternoon, ones you can swim in or just admire from a nearby rock we hope this guide to the best hiking trails in New Jersey with waterfalls helps you have some fun adventures with your kids.

tall picture of hiking trails in NJ with waterfalls

No matter your skill level or the type of waterfall you are looking for you WILL be able to find hiking trails in NJ with waterfalls for you and your family. From small, tumbling cascades to the second largest waterfall by volume East of the Mississippi, New Jersey is home to beautiful waterfall hikes. Whichever waterfall is right for you, it is only a short (or long) hike away, so gather up a picnic or your backpack full of supplies or book a cabin getaways in New Jersey and get out and enjoy what Mother Nature has provided!

Here are a few other sources to turn to for great local hiking trails

Posted in: All, Things to do in Central Jersey, Things to do in New Jersey, Things to do in North Jersey

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Jennifer Auer is the hyperlocal mom blogger who runs Jersey Family Fun. From New Jersey, this mom of 3 boys just can’t sit still! Her husband likes to say she’s a work-at-home mom who never stays home. Jennifer started traveling as a child and hasn’t stopped since. Instead of letting her husband and boys slow her down, she brings them along! As her boys transition from tweens to teens there’s still so many places she wants to discover with them both across the U.S. and internationally. She has been a Jersey Girl for 35+ years, and a Jersey Mom for 15+ years and a New Jersey mom blogger for 10 years, although she'd much rather be referred to as an influencer or just by name. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus on Entrepreneurship from Bryant University in Rhode Island.

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