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

  • The Loft at Jack's Barn
  • At once simply elegant and elegantly simple, this rare venue incorporates an exceptional event space with old world charm, making your event unforgettable!. Whether large, small, or somewhere in between, we guarantee your experience with us will be remarkable! Personal tours by convenience of appointment only.

    1487 Route 31, Oxford 07863, 908/857-2054

  • Brook Hollow Winery
  • Hand-crafted wines fermented, aged, and bottled at our family farm in the heart of the scenic Delaware Water Gap. In addition to wine tasting and sales, we offer indoor and outdoor rentals as well a full catering services for up to 250 guests.

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  • Wild Ridge Plants
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  • Blairstown Museum
  • View original artifacts, postcards, and correspondence that illustrate the history of the township and its inhabitants, including former resident and namesake John Insley Blair. Museum collections are on display on a rotating basis throughout the year, and lovely gift shop items are supplied and crafted by local companies and artists.

    26 Main Street, Blairstown 07825, 908/362-1371

  • The RoseMary Inn
  • A luxurious Bed & Breakfast with one-of-a-kind accommodations, picturesque scenery, 3 course European Style breakfasts, all while blending old world charm with modern conveniences. Minutes away from a variety of naturalist activities including hiking, biking, canoeing, riding, skiing and bird watching.

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