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Cliff Park Loop

 3.7 (6)

2.7 Miles 4.4 Kilometers


90%

Runnable

340' 104 m

Ascent

-350' -107 m

Descent

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

17%

Max Grade (10°)

963' 293 m

High

759' 231 m

Low

Shared By Kristen Arendt

Conditions


Minor Issues 15 days ago

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A scenic tour of the Cliff Park area trails highlighted by Hackers Falls and Minisink Overlook.

Kristen Arendt

Dogs Unknown

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views

Overview

The Cliff Park area trails are some of the most scenic in the park, and this loop gives runners a taste of beautiful and varied landscape of the park.
Swimming or wading is not permitted in the water within 50 feet upstream of Hackers Falls.

Need to Know

Restrooms located at the trailhead.

Description

This picturesque loop starts from the Hackers Falls parking area. Head out on the Buchanan Trail to start your run - the trail will certainly not disappoint! The trail climbs moderately through a dense hemlock canopy lush with ferns and moisture-loving undergrowth. Named for the family that owned the land from 1803 to 2002, the trail is actually an old road trace.

At the first junction, take a right onto the Hackers Trail. At this point, you'll begin a gradual, but steady, descent for the next 3/4 of mile, heading through hemlock and mixed hardwood forests until you come to the short connecting trail that leads to Hackers Falls.

Take a right on the Hackers Falls Overlook to run to the falls themselves. Hackers Falls is a fan shape waterfall that has a short but dramatic drop. While wading and swimming is not allowed within 50 ft upstream of the waterfall, it is still a great place to take a short break to enjoy the scenery.

Continue on the Hackers Falls Overlook to connect back to the Hackers Trail where the trail flattens out briefly before turning back northeast and starting to climb slightly. At just under 1.5 miles, the Hackers Trail turns back to the southwest - at this point look for the junction with the Logger Path which you'll take to connect to the Cliff Trail.

The Cliff Trail offers some of the most impressive viewpoints in the park as it climbs along Raymondskill Ridge. Keep an eye open for breaks in the trees where you can spot views of the winding Delaware River to the east. You'll continue climbing until reaching Minisink Overlook, the high point of the run. From here, enjoy the view before starting a gradual descent back to the junction with the Buchanan Trail.

Take a left onto the Buchanan Trail for a short, slightly steeper downhill to connect to the Pond Loop. Running to the right on the Pond Loop will give you a nice cool down on this flatter trail through dense hardwood forests and around a small pond, which is home to abundant wildlife of both the four-legged and flying varieties. The run ends at the northwest corner of the pond at the parking lot where you started.

Flora & Fauna

Eastern hemlock, as well as multiple species of fern can be seen along the trail. Visitors should keep their ears perked for the call of the vibrant orange Blackburnian warbler that loves to perch in the hemlock's tall canopy. Keep your eyes peeled for chestnut, white oak, and northern red oak along the trail. During the summer, blueberry, huckleberry, and mountain laurel have been known to grow amidst the underbrush.

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Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 6 votes

#3071

Overall
  3.7 from 6 votes
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Rankings

#52

in New Jersey

#3,071

Overall
184 Views Last Month
1,286 Since Jul 7, 2016
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