New Jersey is home to an abundance of lush and beautiful hiking trails. From short and easy to long and strenuous, there are hikes for both the novice and experienced adventurer. But nothing makes a day of climbing rocks and breaking a sweat more worth it than reaching the peak and taking in a gorgeous view. With trails that follow along flowing creeks and rivers, there are plenty of opportunities to take in the beauty of some of the state’s magnificent sites. So why not head outdoors to one of these 12 New Jersey hiking trails with waterfalls?
Buttermilk Falls – Layton, NJ
Getting a view of Buttermilk Falls doesn’t have to be difficult. The easiest way to get an eyeful of these falls is with a 1.4-mile path easily reached via a wooden stairway in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Ambitious trekkers can explore deeper into the Stokes State Forest by continuing onto the Appalachian Trail.
Boonton Falls – Boonton, NJ
Hiking to the Boonton Falls is a short trip but the quick and easy hike leads you to a beautiful (roughly) 20-foot waterfall in the Rockaway River. Three trails bring hikers past the falls. Each is easily accessible through Grace Lord Park and provides breathtaking views of the rushing waters.
Hemlock Falls – West Orange, NJ
Hemlock Falls is located in Essex County’s South Mountain Reservation. The approximately 25-foot waterfall is found along the park’s Lenape Trail and can be a quick, under two-mile roundtrip hike. It can also be extended into a larger loop by continuing on through the reservation’s other pathways.
Chikahoki Falls – Bloomingdale, NJ
Found within Norvin Green State Forest, Chikahoki Falls is one of the harder ones to reach on this list. The trails that pass the falls are extensive, passing along the more moderately reached Wyanokie High Point—with its New York City skyline views. The connecting trails make it easy to take a longer or shorter hike, but be ready for rugged terrain and steep elevation changes.
Tillman Falls – Layton, NJ
Hikers at Tillman Ravine might be surprised to catch a glimpse of Buttermilk Falls upon arrival at the trailhead. But taking the quick hike to Tillman Falls is an easy trip for those in the area or a bonus trail for those headed to Stokes State Forest. The shaded, hemlock forest hiking trails are well worth it for anyone in New Jersey and offer scenic views of its waterfalls.
Ramapo Falls – Mahwah, NJ
Taking the Vista Loop trail at the Ramapo Valley Reservation will lead past Ramapo Valley Falls on a 3.7-mile path. The loop is manageable for most hikers and provides great overlooks of the area. However, there is the option to make this trip even shorter by following along the trail to the falls and cutting back the same way.
Silver Spray Falls – Walpack Township, NJ
Also known as the “Hidden Falls,” the Silver Spray Falls can be difficult to spot. Once again found in Stokes State Forest, the unmarked trail to these falls is just about three-quarters of a mile past Buttermilk Falls. Finding the trail is the hardest part of this adventure, with many unsuccessful on their first tries.
Bridal Veil Falls – North Haledon, NJ
Bridal Veil Falls sits within the grounds of William Paterson University. The waterfall is created by free-flowing water rushing over a ledge and into an old quarry. It flows best after a rainstorm. The trail that passes behind the dropping water creates a cave-like feel for hikers passing through.
Lockatong High Falls – Stockton, NJ
Located in Lockatong Creek, this waterfall is made up of cascading water of a rocky formation within the flowing water. Lockatong High Falls is a bit tucked away but it takes a simple hike to reach them, though it can get pretty muddy. Getting there is just about two miles from the trailhead, and the path is mostly level until you reach the waterfall.
Greenbrook Falls – Tenafly, NJ
The Greenbrook Sanctuary is a 165-acre woodland preserve atop the Palisades, with the 250 foot Greenbrook Falls dropping into the Hudson River. The preservation is maintained by the Palisades Nature Association, so hiking here requires a membership and annual fee. But with plenty of trails, it’s worth it for an avid hiker.
Falling Waters – Long Valley, NJ
Falling Waters is found in Schooley’s Mountain Park. The rocky trail along Electric Brook offers amazing views, and reaching Falling Waters can be done in a one-mile roundtrip. For those wanting to add mileage to their trek, Schooley’s Mountain encompasses plenty of trails that make it easy to do so.
Apshawa Falls – West Milford, NJ
Two different trails will bring you through the Apshawa preserve and past its waterfalls. The shorter trek is a more direct path to the Apshawa Falls. This 3.2-mile hike also passes a dam in the Apshawa Brook that creates a wall of cascading water when the brook is flowing. Another option is taking the full loop around Butler Reservoir for a longer 5.3-mile walk.
Have you ventured to any of these New Jersey hiking trails with waterfalls? Let us know in the comments below.
Main image of Buttermilk Falls by Daniel Vargas