November’s Trail of the Month is the Cliff Trail at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Log your miles with Get Your Tail on the Trail at the location “Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area – Cliff Trail” from November 1 through November 30 to be entered into a drawing to win a $50 REI gift card. Each entry counts as an additional chance to win!
Discover the Breathtaking Views of the Delaware Water Gap
National Take a Hike Day is November 17th. Why not celebrate with a hike on the scenic Cliff Trail? The Cliff Trail is an exhilarating trek along the Mashipacong Cliffs that overlooks the Delaware River. This adventure is 2.8 miles one way. It offers an “onward and upward” start if you begin at the northern trailhead and will quickly have your heart pumping as you steadily climb to the beloved landmark known as the Milford Knob.
Rather avoid the strenuous beginning and ease into your wander? Park at the Cliff Park Trailhead (which offers primitive bathrooms) and begin your slow and steady incline to the Cliff Trail, where you will be almost immediately met with breathtaking views and stunning vistas. Head north to check out Milford Knob, admiring the great views along the way, or wander south to find rushing waters at Hackers Falls and Raymondskill Falls, where the Cliff Trail ends.
From the Cliff Park Trailhead (located off of SR 2001), either the orange blazed loop or the blue blazed Pond Loop Trail will guide you up to the white blazed Cliff Trail. Considered a D2/T2 trail (Difficulty 2, Terrain 2) for its elevation gain and cautious footwork needed around rocks and roots, the Cliff Trail invigorates the senses for a four-season adventure.
Beginners or those with limited mobility will love the blue blazed Pond Loop Trail (D1/T1), as it encompasses the perimeter of the pond and offers lots of access points to stand along the water’s edge and listen to the frogs croaking.
Whatever your approach, this well-marked earthen trail is a “must” hike for any nature lover. Geography buffs can admire the Middle Delaware River, separating Pennsylvania from New Jersey, which can also be seen in the distance. On a clear day, you might also be able to see High Point Monument, the highest elevation in New Jersey. A downward glance over the cliffs, and you will notice the McDade Trail as it meanders through the riverlands between US Route 209 and the river.
Birding enthusiasts also visit the Cliff Trail to watch birds soaring over the river valley, migrating above the wooded valley and pastoral cornfields or just playing on the thermals.
The Cliff Trail is just one of the many adventures you’ll find in the 70,000-acre Delaware Water Gap. For the thrill seeker, book a fishing charter with Pike County Outfitters, or visit Action Bikes & Outdoor to rent bikes, watersports equipment and snow equipment. Certain areas throughout the National Recreation Area allow biking, paddling, hunting, fishing, horseback riding and more, so don’t miss out! You can even step foot on the Appalachian Trail and meet trekkers with fascinating stories about their journey.
After your hike, drive over to Milford, Pennsylvania, to fuel up at a neighborhood favorite—Waterwheel Cafe. Dine in or grab a coffee to go while you stroll the cozy neighborhood. Visit local thrift stores and boutique shops, or grab more outdoor gear at Alice’s Wonderland. There is something for everyone in town.
Nature isn’t the only thing to enjoy in this region of the Delaware Water Gap. There’s plenty of fascinating history too! Grey Towers National Historic Site is a ten-minute drive from the Cliff Park Trailhead. This beautiful mansion was home to Pennsylvania’s own Gifford Pinchot, the 28th Governor of Pennsylvania, Founder of the USDA Forest Service and First Forester. Schedule a tour of the house, or walk the grounds during visiting hours. When you are done at Grey Towers, make sure to visit the Columns Museum back in downtown Milford. The Columns is a 22-room mansion that has housed Pike County’s artifacts and archives since 1930. Admission is only $5 for adults and is free for children and members.
At the end of your adventure-packed day, stop at the Log Tavern Brewing Co. for fantastic, locally brewed beer and live music. Enjoy a fresh-baked personal pizza in their bier garden, and bring your furry friend along, as their outdoor area is open to friendly pets on a leash.
Before you visit, make sure to check out the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area website for ranger-led programs, safety information and trail closures. You can also make reservations for camping and other activities through this site. If you plan to stay several nights, visit this Scenic Wild Delaware River site to find lodging and activities for your visit.