This featured run has three great highlights, Raymondskill Falls
, Hackers Fall and Cliff Park Trail
. Raymondskill Falls
is one of the more popular waterfalls in Eastern Pennsylvania and with good reason. At about 150 feet in height, it is the tallest waterfall in the state, and the rushing sound of water during high flow season is truly special.
Upstream on the Raymondskill River is Hackers Falls which may not be as majestic, but it is arguably more picturesque. The area around the waterfall is wide open with long views of river to the south; also the plunge pool is nestled at the base of a rock ledge which affords it's own natural beauty. Plus, runners can go down to the river and take the scene in without standing on an observation deck.
To take nothing away from these two waterfalls, the main highlight of the run is likely Cliff Park Trail
. This 2.3 mile singletrack mostly follows, within a few short feet at times, the ledges that overlook the Delaware River Valley a few hundred feet below. It can be majestic on a cool summer morning when the valley is socked in with fog.
Overall, this is an easy to moderate run with only one section of extended elevation gain. As a result, the effort to reward ratio is among the best in the area.
Cliff Park Trail
has no blazes and in several sections crosses onto the doubletrack trail called Cliff Trail
. Having the Trail Run Project mobile app
on your phone helps tremendously to ensure you stay on the correct trail. They parallel each other, but Cliff Park Trail
is much closer to the ledge and has non-stop views while Cliff Trail
only gives the runner access to a few observation points.
Keep small children and dogs at a close distance when running Cliff Park Trail
Trailhead parking is best at this GPS location: 41.290330, -74.840084. Searching map services for Raymondskill Falls
will take you to a lot a few hundred feet away from Cliff Park Trail
Start in the lower Raymondskill Falls
parking area (GPS coordinates below) and take the loop to the two observation areas off Raymondskill Creek Trail
. This can be done in either direction—counterclockwise takes you to the upper observation platform first. In all, this is a quick 0.4 mile stretch that takes you back to the parking area.
Next, head across Raymondskill Road towards Cliff Park Trail
. This trail is not blazed at all and can be difficult to spot from the road. Standing with your back to the falls, there is a blazed trail on your left—Cliff Trail
—do not proceed here. Instead, to your right, there is a open area to the forest where the Cliff Park Trail
entrance is. Proceed in this direction, and the trail quickly gains elevation, about 300 feet in 0.65 miles. The small effort to gain the hilltop is worth it though, as the next two miles are almost all along the cliff edge.
This is a great section of trail, take your time and enjoy the views! The trail intersects with Cliff Trail
in a few locations, be sure to find your way back to the unblazed Cliff Park Trail
. Note, the section of trail after Riverview Overlook
(around mile 2.43) is not as well maintained as the previous sections of Cliff Park Trail
, but still easily navigable with a little patience.
At the 2.7 mile mark, Cliff Park Trail
ends and Cliff Trail
begins. Bear left to continue with this featured run, but if you are interested in additional mileage you can tack 1.25 miles by bearing right and heading towards Milford Knob Overlook and returning to this location via Milford Knob Trail
and Quarry Path
Continue on Cliff Trail
(headed southwest) for 0.95 miles. This section of trail is a little mundane, but is the means to a great end. At the overall 3.7 mile mark, bear right (north) onto Buchanan Trail
for only a tenth of a mile before bearing right again onto Pond Loop
. This is a scenic section that skirts around a pond on your left and the sixth hole of Cliff Park Golf Course on your right. There are a few short unmarked access trails to the pond itself as well.
After passing the pond, Pond Loop
intersects with Buchanan Trail
again at the Hackers Falls Parking area. Proceed across the parking lot and past the restrooms to access Buchanan Trail
. Stay on Buchanan Trail
for just 0.25 miles before bearing right onto Hackers Trail
This lovely trail is mostly singletrack and takes you to Hackers Falls Overlook
, the Raymondskill River, and through some lovely sections of evergreen trees through winding trail with a deep woods feel. It has one steep section (9% grade) at the 5.33 mile mark but is otherwise relatively flat. Hackers Trail
terminates across the street from the original parking lot.
Plenty of animals to see—deer, rabbit, and even an occasional porcupine. The forest is typical hardwood for the area but there are also hemlock and pine. If you are lucky, you can also see the spring blooms of prickly-pear cacti along crevices in the ledges aside Cliff Park Trail
The view from atop Raymond Ridge is incredibly inspiring, such that early film makers used this scenery was used in several westerns as stand-ins for the western landscapes. Many early 1900s actors including Tom Mix, Walter Miller and Mary Pickford performed scenes on these cliffs.