Best of Cliff Park and Raymondskill Falls
ElevationAscent: 1,095' 334 m
Descent: -1,081' -329 m
High: 995' 303 m
Low: 483' 147 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 48% (26°)
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“A sheer cliff and two great waterfalls highlight this relatively easy run in the Delaware Water Gap NRA.”— Lou Poulas
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.
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.
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.
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Land Manager: NPS - Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area