Delaware Water Gap is one of the best places in America to see the power of water at work. Millions of years ago this area was a level plain. Erosion and gradual uplift of the land formed today's ridges. The process is not unusual, but what distinguishes this gap is the landscape's beauty. The river twists in a tight "S" curve through the ridge at Kittatinny Mountain. The result is so breathtaking that this became a renowned resort area in the 1800s. Large hotels catered to a clientele who enjoyed the quality of the air and coolness of the breezes, while cities simmered in the summer heat. Some people even arrived by train at Port Jervis, N.Y., and bicycled downhill to the Water Gap.
Most of the large hotels are gone now, and people usually come here for a day or two, not a month or more. But the natural wonders and the views are still spectacular. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, established by Congress in 1965, preserves this unspoiled natural and historic area. The National Park Service will help make your time in the park as enjoyable as possible.
Visiting the Park
Finding Information Park headquarters provides information weekdays year-round; closed federal holidays. • Dingmans Falls Visitor Center is open weekends and selected weekdays from late spring until early fall. The boardwalk trail to the falls is open daily in summer. • Kittatinny Point is open weekends and selected weekdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. • For details visit: www.nps.gov/dewa
Fees There are no entrance fees to the park or its waterfalls. Fees are collected at boat launches and beaches in Pennsylvania and at Watergate Recreation Site in New Jersey.
Sightseeing and Touring Over 200 miles of roads wind through scenic valleys, over ridges, and past historic buildings. Along the way you can view waterfalls, picnic, or walk along a trail or old road. McDade Trail in Pennsylvania and paved roads in New Jersey provide scenic bicycling; bicycling is not permitted on gated roadways or trails. Rhododendron blooms around the first of July. A colorful foliage display accompanies Millbrook Days in early October.
Camping Tent and RV sites are available nearby at private campgrounds. Primitive campsites are available for through-hikers on the Appalachian Trail and canoeists on extended river trips. No campfires are permitted on the Appalachian Trail.
Swimming The Delaware River is one of the cleanest and most scenic rivers in the East. Bathhouses, picnic areas, parking, and lifeguarded areas are available at Smithfield and Milford beaches in Pennsylvania.
Boating The 40 miles of the Delaware River within the recreation area attract people who enjoy canoeing, tubing, and rafting. River access points located every eight to 10 miles allow for easy day trips. River maps are available at visitor centers and park headquarters. For those on overnight trips, camping is allowed at designated sites along the river. A dozen canoe liveries are licensed to rent equipment and provide transportation between access points; most also rent kayaks, tubes, and rafts. Do not be misled by the river's calm appearance; use proper safety precautions at all times. Avoid the river in times of high water. Hypothermia, the lowering of body temperature to a dangerous level, can occur whenever water temperature is below 70°F. Always wear a life preserver when boating or canoeing.
Hiking The park has nearly 100 miles of hiking trails, ranging from flat boardwalks to challenging 1,000-foot climbs that offer spectacular views of the Water Gap. The Appalachian Trail, which runs from Maine to Georgia, traverses the park for over 27 miles along Kittatinny Ridge; backpacking is permitted, subject to regulations. Smaller trails lead through hemlock ravines past waterfalls, ponds, lakes, or down abandoned forest roads.
Fishing Many lakes and ponds provide excellent fishing for panfish, bass, and pickerel. Rainbow, brook, or brown trout are in most streams. The river has American shad, smallmouth bass, walleye, eel, catfish, and muskellunge. If you are 16 years or older, a valid license is required from the state in which you are fishing. A fishing license from either New Jersey or Pennsylvania is valid on the river within the park if you are fishing from a boat or either shore.
Hunting Hunting is permitted in some sections of the park in accordance with the game regulations of Pennsylvania or New Jersey. Park hunting regulations apply. Get details at visitor centers, ranger stations, or headquarters.
Wildlife and Birdwatching This landscape has a diversity of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, beaver, black bear, and river otter. The park is one of the best places in the East to watch for hawks and other raptors during their semi-annual migrations. Bald eagles spend the winter here. Watch for them in mid-morning or late-afternoon during January or February.
Getting to the Park Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is easily reached from the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas and from Allentown, Bethlehem, and Scranton, Pennsylvania. Food, lodging, gasoline, and medical services are available in the towns near the park.
Safety and Laws • Always wear a life preserver when boating or canoeing. Pennsylvania law requires children age 12 and under to wear life preservers while in a canoe, kayak, or a boat less than 20 feet long. • Hunting is permitted in some parts of the park; check the areas and dates of hunting seasons with the park staff. • Rock and ice climbers should always let a friend know when and where they plan to climb. Never climb alone. • Use of metal detectors in the park is prohibited.
Things To See and Do
Delaware Water Gap is not just a place for river activities but for exploring and learning, too. You can learn about nature in a residential campus, see artisans at work, and visit historic sites. Junior ranger and junior naturalist programs are offered at park visitor centers.
Peters Valley Craft Education Center Skilled artists live here, working on their specialties. They teach beginning and advanced courses, show techniques, and sell their wares. One-day workshops and short courses are offered in summer. Write: Peters Valley Craft Education Center, 19 Kuhn Road, Layton, NJ 07851-9702.
Millbrook Village In 1832 Abram Garris built a mill here that became the nucleus of a village. Millbrook flourished in the mid-1800s but by 1900 it was in decline. Today Millbrook is the stage for recreating a late-1800s rural community rather than restoring the original. Take the self-guiding village walking tour to learn about the buildings and life here over 100 years ago.
Pocono Environmental Education Center Located in a former Pocono honeymoon resort, the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) offers study programs in a residential environment. PEEC is ideal for youth groups, schools, and churches, offering weekend workshops, including family vacation camps. Elderhostel sessions are held throughout the year. The center has 12 miles of hiking trails through the park and has access to 20,000 acres of public lands nearby. Contact: PEEC, R.D. 2, Box 1010, Dingmans Ferry, PA 18328-9614.
Mohican Outdoor Center This Appalachian Mountain Club facility offers recreational programs and educational workshops for members and non-members. Set along the Appalachian Trail on the banks of Catfish Pond in New Jersey, the center is t he base of operations for trail work projects in the recreation area. Contact: Mohican Outdoor Center, 50 Camp Road, Blairstown, NJ 07825-9655.
Source: NPS Brochure (2008)
Brochures ◆ Site Bulletins ◆ Trading Cards
A Comprehensive Trail Inventory and Recommendations for Development and Maintenance of a Trail System in Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area (Peter Williams, Jeffrey Marion and Reuben Rajala, June 1992)
A Concept Plan for the Delaware Water Park (Candeub, Fleissig and Associates, April 1974)
A Research Plan to Study Appropriate River Recreation Use on the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, New River Gorge National River and Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Mid-Atlantic Region Research/Resources Management Report(David W. Lime, Dorothy H. Anderson, Richard C. Knopf, John H. Schomaker and Richard Schreyer, July 1985)
A Social Science Research Plan for Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (Gary E. Machlis and Patti Sullivan, c1990)
Acidic Atmospheric Deposition in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Proceedings of a Workshop, January 18, 1985 and Management Recommendations (Jill Baron, John Karish and Elizabeth Johnson, eds., February 1985)
An Historical Report for Furnishing the Millbrook School, Millbrook, New Jersey (Page Talbott, April 1993)
Analysis of Legislative and Legal Foundations for Establishing Carrying Capacity: Summary Report for Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Middle Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Mid-Atlantic Region Research/Resources Management ReportMAR-42 (Steve Simpson and Leo McAvoy, September 1989)
Assessment of Natural Resources and Watershed Conditions for Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NER/NRR-2011/429 (Carolyn G. Mahan, Bruce J. Miller, Michael C. Saunders and John A. Young, July 2011)
Acidic Atmospheric Deposition in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Proceedings of a Workshop, January 18, 1985 and Management Recommendations (February 1985)
Cultural Landscape Report: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Final, Vol. 1 (Steve R. Burns Chavez and A. Berle Clemensen, August 1995)
Cultural Landscape Report: Pahaquarry Copper Mine, Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area, New Jersey Volume 1 (Stevel R. Burns Chavez and A. Berle Clemensen, August 1995)
Delaware River Basin Wild and Scenic River Values (September 2012)
Endangered, Threatened, Vulnerable and Rare Vascular Plants of the Pennsylvania Portion of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area NPS Mid-Atlantic Research/Resources Management Report MAR-9 (Ann F. Rhoads, Roger E. Latham and Ann Newbold, December 1983)
Final Cultural Landscape Report: Pahaquarry Copper Mine, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, New Jersey, Vol. 1 (Steve R. Burns Chavez and A. Berle Clemensen, August 1995)
Final Cultural Landscape Report: Pahaquarry Copper Mine, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, New Jersey, Vol. 2 (Steve R. Burns Chavez and A. Berle Clemensen, August 1986)
Geologic Resources Inventory Report, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NRPC/GRD/NRR-2013/717 (T.L. Thornberry-Ehrlich, October 2013)
Guidebook for the 32nd Annual Field Conference of Pennsylvania Geologists: Geology in the Region of the Delaware to Lehigh Water Gaps (Jack B. Epstein and Anita G. Epstein, September 29-30, 1967)
Historic Resource Study: Millbrook Village, Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area, New Jersey-Pennsylvania (James Sheire, November 1972)
Historic Resource Study: Slateford Farm, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Pennsylvania (Sharon A. Brown, September 1985)
Historic Structure Report Addendum: Administrative, Historical and Architectural Data Sections: Slateford Farm Complex, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Pennsylvania (Kenneth W. Bennett and Sharon A. Brown, 1988)
Historic Structure Report: De Remer House, Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area (Ford Farewell Mills and Gatsch, March 1994)
Historic Structure Report: Delaware View House, Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area (Ford Farewell Mills and Gatsch, March 1994)
Historic Structure Report: The Roberts Farmhouse, Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area (Ford Farewell Mills and Gatsch, March 1994)
Historic Structure Report: The Rundle Farmhouse, Walpack Township, Sussex County, New Jersey (John Bruce Dodd and Cynthia Hinson, 1994)
Historic Structures Report, Historical Data: Van Campen Inn, Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area (Myra Snook, October 1974)
Historical Base Map, Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area, New Jersey (Lenard E. Brown, March 1973)
Historical Documentation for the Crane-Goldhardt Property, Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area, Delaware Township, Pike County, County, Pennsylvania (John Milner Associates, Inc. and Land and Community Associates, March 2, 1994)
Historical Documentation for the Shoemaker Property, Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area, Middle Smithfield Township, Monroe County, Pennsylvania (Land and Community Associates and John Milner Associates, Inc., March 2, 1994)
Junior Ranger River Safety Activity Book, Delaware River (Date Unknown)
Management of River Resources at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River A Survey of Visitor Opinion Mid-Atlantic Region Research/Resources Management ReportMAR-33 (Richard C. Knopf, Alan R. Graefe and Richard Schreyer, August 1988)
National Register of Historic Places Nomination Forms
Andrew Snable House (Wayne K. Bodle, April 22, 1977)
Chilton-Williams Farm Complex (Milton F. Perry and Jill M. York, November 23, 1976, revised June 30, 1980)
Cornelius Gunn House (Wayne K. Bodle, April 22, 1977)
Foster-Armstrong House (Wayne K. Bodle, April 22, 1977)
Nichols Farm District (Cathie Masters, James Price and Stephen Knight, May 24, 1989)
Old Mine Road Historic District (Wayne K. Bodle, April 22, 1977)
Richard Layton House (Wayne K. Bodle, April 22, 1977)
Showmaker-Houck Farm Complex (Wayne K. Bodle, April 22, 1977)
Wallpack Center Historic District (Wayne K. Bodle, April 22, 1977)
Newsletter (Spanning the Gap) (1983-2007)
Reconnaissance Report: Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania and New Jersey (W.T. Ammerman, Wilbur L. Savage and Frank Barnes, January 1954)
Study of Furnishings Alternatives - Slateford Farm, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (Sharon A. Brown, October 1985)
Summary of Research Objectives, Accomplishments, and Future Needs for the Study of Appropriate River Recreation Use on the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, New River Gorge National River and Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Mid-Atlantic Region Research/Resources Management Report(David W. Lime, January 18, 1989)
Handbooks ◆ Books
Last Updated: 15-Jun-2022