11 Awesome Things to do in Delaware Water Gap

There are many things to do in Delaware Water Gap and that is mainly because the most interesting attractions are all along the river which make it easy to access but if you are unsure of where to go or what to see, this post is going to help you explore the 11 most awesome places there.

Here is a summary of the 11 things to do in Delaware Water Gap:

things to do in delaware water gap new 01

  1. Camping.
  2. Kayaking the Delaware River.
  3. Hiking Mt. Tammany trail.
  4. Do the Delaware Water Gap scenic drive.
  5. Staying at the Pocono Mountain Villas.
  6. Exploring Bushkill Falls.
  7. Exploring Silverthread Falls.
  8. Also exploring Dingman’s Falls.
  9. Raymondskill Falls.
  10. Explore Milford, PA.
  11. Check out High Point State Park.

Let’s begin with the location of Delaware Water Gap:

delaware water gap map location new 01

Now as you can see from the map, there is a whole green area (outlined in red) which stretches north for about 30 miles, but the official location of the “gap” is in Pennsylvania (not Delaware state!).

I also know a few people who think that NY state is connected to it (it’s not).

I recommend starting your trip to this spot in the southern end (where you see it says Mt. Tammany Trail) as shown on the map above, and working your way up like we did.

This region crosses through the Appalachian Mountains too so if you enjoy long hikes, you’ll find one of the longest ones in the world here.

But the reason I recommend starting here is because the things I recommend doing are best to be done in order from south to north.

Some of the best hikes are in the south, but some of the best places to see and explore (sight seeing basically) are in the north part of the Delaware Water Gap region.

What to do in Delaware Water Gap: Details on the 11 activities.

The following are the things I did when there (throughout the years):

1) Camping out in the regions close to the gap:

Since it’s the most scenic area, you will find plenty of camping areas there and the last time I was in a camping area there was years ago, but many of the spots are close to the river so you can enjoy great views. I also assume if you’re going to camp there, that you need to reserve in advance, since this spot is pretty popular, just like North South Lake in the Catskills.

Here is info on camping in the Delaware Water Gap region.

Warning: Just a heads up, when I was there as a kid, I found more than a few snakes there. Be careful there and watch out for ticks too just in case.

2) Kayaking through the Delaware River:

Since the Delaware River literally crosses through this area, you can enjoy water activities there. Kayaking is certainly one of them, but you can also try tubing and canoeing, especially during the summer. Going through the actual “gap” area is very scenic! 

3) Try the Mount Tammany trail (one of the best hikes in Delaware Water Gap):

best hikes delaware water gap new 02

While there’s many great hikes across Delaware Water Gap, the most popular is the Mount Tammany hike (it’s also one of the hardest).

The first time I tried it, prior to going to this spot, my friends and I brainstormed which hiking trail we wanted to do.

We found 2 parking lots leading to this trail and overall, there are 2 trails which cover this hike:

A red one, which is considered medium to hard and that’s what we started with. It’s a little over a mile and short if you’re in shape.

The red trail leads to the Delaware Water Gap scenic overlook you saw above.

Then there’s a blue trail connected to it which is easier but less scenic which people use to make a loop trail when they explore Mount Tammany.

I do recommend doing the blue trail because it leads to an amazing swimming hole when you reach the bottom:

dunnfield creek blue trail delaware water gap

Here’s how we were advised to hike the Mt. Tammany trail:

  1. Start with the red one and work your way up to the summit where you’ll see the views I did at the top of this post.
  2. Then right at the summit, as long you continue on the red trail, it’ll interconnect with the blue trail.
  3. Take the blue trail down and you’ll hit that swimming hole we found a few miles down. 
  4. This approach gave us a great hiking experience and being able to explore a lot of nice places in the Delaware Water Gap.

Mount Tammany is one of the best day hikes near NYC in my opinion.

4) Do the Delaware Water Gap scenic drive (3 options):

delaware water gap scenic drive 02

There is a scenic drive in Delaware Water Gap you can check out, but the bad news about it is that few parts of that drive are actually scenic, at least in my opinion. Let me explain:

In my experience there are several parts of the Delaware Water Gap drive where it’s very scenic and worth exploring and here is a list:

1) First is the Interstate 80 drive when you actually reach the Delaware Water Gap (southern end). It’s also where the Mount Tammany Trailhead is. This is where you’ll get the best views from the southern end of the gap.

2) Then if you continue on Interstate 80, you’ll cross a bridge and enter Pennsylvania where it’s also pretty scenic, but for a short bit.

3) Another option is to take the main scenic drive through road 209. That connects with Interstate 80 if you’re coming from the bottom and takes you through the Delaware Water Gap.

The bad news is that most of the time, this road is not scenic, but the good news is that this same road is what will take you through the best stops in Delaware Water Gap, meaning waterfall hikes, trails, and towns. So I would do this drive if you intend to fully explore the gap.

5) Consider staying at the Pocono Mountain Villas if you plan a multi day trip:

When I was younger, this is where my father would take me. We would go with his friends, and their kids, and this area is right off the 209 route and allows you to enjoy most of the beautiful spots located within the Delaware Water Gap. 

There were many hiking trails near this spot, horseback riding stables and more activities to do, including the 10 on this list. Now you’ll find other villas and areas to stay at there too, but this is where I used to be when I visited. It gets mixed reviews today so keep that in mind.

6) Check out Bushkill Falls:

bushkill falls area at delaware water gap

As far as I know, Bushkill Falls is one of the most popular waterfall spots in this region and I did check it out years ago when I was staying at the Pocono Mountain Villas.

This area is a scenic walk across a nature trail which is easy to go through and there’s steps and walkways made for people to enjoy the falls.

I don’t have a picture of Bushkill falls to share on this post yet (but I will show you others), because we decided not to visit this spot due to us being tired from the Mt. Tammany trail and we decided to stick to waterfalls that had short hikes to reach them.

One thing to note is that the hikes here are pretty much for beginners so if you’re looking for challenging stuff, this might not be the best place for that, but it is very scenic.

7) Visit Silverthread Falls:

Here is what it looks like (it’s over 100 feet tall):silverthread falls at delaware water gap hike

If you’re not into long nature walks and just want to see scenic spots VERY quickly, this is where I’d stop at.

This waterfall is literally about 200 feet away from the parking lot and the path to it is a wooden walkway.

I assume it’s called silver thread because of how skinny it is, and because from a distance, it looks like a skinny string thread. 

But it is closed off so you can’t really hike to it, but you can see it from a distance and while it’s skinny, I have to say it’s very beautiful.

The picture I took could have been better, but if you do visit and see this waterfall, you’ll probably get a much better view of it in real life!

And fortunately, this isn’t the only waterfall you’ll see on this trail. There’s another, which is even large and probably even better looking.

It is called:

8) Dingman’s Falls (one of the best Delaware Water Gap waterfalls you’ll see):

delaware water gap waterfalls new 08

Dingmans Falls is about 1,000 feet away from Silverthread Falls and on the same wooden trail that is easy to walk on.

Sadly, like Silverthread Falls, this falls is so inaccessible. 

It is only viewable from the viewing area near it and here’s how it looks:

Unfortunately access to get very close to this waterfall is blocked and that picture I took was about 30 feet away from it.

But it’s still quite a sight as you can see:

Now I want to make a suggestion and that is, if you enjoy going up waterfalls and getting close to these types of spots, then you can explore places like the Catskills in New York, which offer a lot of awesome adventures.

As much as I liked the things I saw in the Delaware Water Gap, the limits on what I could see and get close to was a deal breaker in some cases.

But anyway, despite the limits, I still enjoyed seeing Dingman Falls, as well as the other areas on this list.

So let’s continue:

9) Check out Raymondskill Falls:

As we continued north along the 209 route, the last waterfall we were able to see before heading back home was Raymondskill Falls, whichraymondskill falls at delaware water gap hike is over 100 feet tall as well:

There is a very short hiking trail to this spot as well and it loops for about half a mile, but there’s 2 overlooks to this trail, one which takes you to the top of the falls, which wasn’t very scenic, and a bottom one which is the area where I took this following picture.

As with the other waterfalls, access was blocked off and you could only see it from a scenic overlook, obviously because it’s dangerous to get close to it.

But this was also a very scenic falls and the hiking trail to this spot is very short, but a bit steep.

I was the only person who hiked down to this falls since my friends were too tired from the other things we were doing but the trail to this area is very beautiful and worth exploring. 

In my case, I just wanted to see the waterfall, the picture and head back to the car.

And the trail walk, and taking the photo of this waterfall was accomplished in under 15 minutes! Of course I was dashing through the trail.

Had I walked, it would probably take me about 20-30 minutes to reach this waterfall.

10) Check out Milford, PA:

This is a very nice town that I’ve passed through numerous times and it has nice restaurants. It’s a good place to end a day trip or visit it if you’re hungry. This town is very scenic, and is probably the most beautiful on the route 209 path.

And that concludes the day trip I had in Delaware Water Gap and the 10 things you should consider doing if you visit too!

11) Explore High Point State Park:

high point state park delaware water gap

I recently learned about this amazing park and had the chance to visit it and I highly recommend seeing it! There’s literally a day’s worth of activities to do in High Point State Park, and I’ve included an article to a post showing that, but here’s what you need to know:

High Point State Park is at the northern most tip of the Delaware Water Gap area and has the highest point in the area you can explore, which has some of the best hiking trails in NJ, a beach, and the most notable feature which is a giant tower at it’s highest point.

High Point State Park is actually in the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap and I highly recommend exploring this park if you get the chance! In my opinion, it’s a great way to finish your exploration of this region.

Most common questions about Delaware Water Gap (and answers):

What is the Delaware Water Gap known for?

Delaware Water Gap is mainly known for being a very scenic place for boating, hiking, camping and exploring beautiful parts of NJ and PA.

Can you swim in the Delaware Water Gap?

Yes, there are numerous spots in Delaware Water Gap where you can swim. Avoid the main river areas though as the currents are very dangerous there.

Is the Delaware Water Gap a hard hike?

There are many hikes in Delaware Water Gap and Mount Tammany is the most popular. That hike is considered difficult.

Do you have to pay to get into Delaware Water Gap?

No, but there are places within Delaware Water Gap where paying to enter is require like camping spots or Bushkill Falls.

8 things to do near Delaware Water Gap:

things to do near delaware water gap new 01

If you are a NYC resident of it like me or live close by to the Delaware Water Gap, and want to know of more places to visit nearby, I have several suggestions:

1) Once again, the Catskills are awesome, but the drive is 3 hours away from the city.

2) Then there are these other nature spots outside the NYC.

3) South west of the Delaware Water Gap is where you’ll find the Blue Ridge Mountains.

4) Harriman State Park. It’s directly east of Delaware Water Gap (about 1-2 hours). It’s an incredibly beautiful park.

5) Hudson Highlands State Park. If you’re going to visit Harriman State Park, this one is it’s next door neighbor.

6) Stairway to Heaven. A cool hiking area (it’s on the Appalachian Trail) with many things to see.

7) Finger Lakes. It’s about 3 hours north but if you want to see some truly amazing nature spots, this is where you’ll find them. In my opinion nothing in the Delaware Water Gap matches the beauty of what you’ll see in Finger Lakes.

8) Sourland Mountain Preserve. It’s south east of this place and I would only go here if there are no other choices (the hikes here aren’t as fun).

One last thing: You will also find a lot of additional ideas on what to see in Delaware Water Gap via Tripadvisor here. Enjoy!

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2 thoughts on “11 Awesome Things to do in Delaware Water Gap”

  1. There are more beautiful places in Upstate NY than the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania. The “Gap” and the rest of the Poconos are pretty much gone now except for the few things stated in the article. Too much has been changed to suit people coming for a day trip or weekend. The old quant shops have turned into strip malls and overpriced malls. I’ve lived in the Poconos all my life and have been in Upstate NY. I’ll take the upstate to enjoy.

    • Hi Wayne, without a doubt I agree with you that upstate NY and the greater NY state area have much better places to explore than the Delaware Water Gap, but if people are visiting the area, this list will help them get more out of their visit. However, if I had to choose a day hike near NYC and I had to choose between upstate NY hikes and the Delaware Water Gap, I’d easily choose the former too.


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