Overhead view of the surrounding countryside

The Best Waterfalls in New Jersey

May 9, 2017

The Best Waterfalls in New Jersey

New Jersey is home to hundreds of miles of beautiful forests, beaches, and some of the most beautiful waterfalls on the East Coast. While many remain hidden gems, use this list of to find the 12 prettiest waterfalls in the state. While some of the waterfalls listed here require a bit of effort to get to, many others are easily accessible. So, if you’re looking for a peaceful day trip destination perfect for the whole family or a just a nice place to relax for the afternoon and enjoy some beautiful scenery, then take a trip out to any of these beautiful waterfalls in New Jersey!

Buttermilk Falls, Stokes State Forest

At roughly 200 feet Buttermilk Falls is the highest waterfall in New Jersey, and is located only steps away from the parking lot, meaning that there is no hiking required! As the waterfall can be seen from only moments away from the parking lot, it means that quite a crowd can build up. For those interested in hiking, there are several different routes of varying difficulties that can be taken which provide better views of Buttermilk. Buttermilk Falls is also a short hike on the Appalachian Trail away from Crater Lake and Hemlock pond.

Tillman Ravine

Photo Credit Nicholas A Tonelli

Right down the trail from Buttermilk Falls is the Tillman Ravine, and for the adventurous, Van Campens Glen can also be accessed from this same hike. Tillman Ravine is found in a shady hemlock old growth forest and tucked among the beautiful cascades along the trail, is a cemetery dating back to the 1800’s. Located in the Stokes State Forest, the Tillman Ravine can seem very isolated and provides a tranquil escape from the city. This easily accessible waterfall is very well worth the journey, though it’s recommended to take the whole day to be sure to also see the much larger Buttermilk Falls.

Coppermines Trail

The falls as Coppermines are found right at the beginning of a much longer hike along the Coppermines Trail. For the most part, this hike follows a stream and gradually heads up hill. This pretty day hike is a beautiful loop with streams, (closed) mines, and ridges that provide stunning views of rural New Jersey. Among other things, visitors will also find several break spots along the Appalachian Trail, that provide plenty of views. The Rattlesnake Swamp trail also skirts the swamp, and it may cause the path to get soft, though probably not wet.

Hemlock Falls

Photo Credit Andy Coan

Inside the South Mountain Reservation in Essex County, you’ll find these gorgeous 25 foot waterfalls. After a brief hike filled with lots of scenic streams, the trail will opens up to a nice clearing with areas to rest and watch the falls. Hemlock Falls creates an impressive cascade shortly after heavy rains. Hemlock Falls also offers scenic overlooks with plenty of nature and wildlife to enjoy.

Paterson Great Falls

Inside the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, established in 2009, lies one of the nation’s largest waterfalls. Standing at 77 feet high, the Paterson Great Falls is the second largest waterfall in the nation, behind only Niagara Falls. Due to the size and accessibility of the falls, it has played a significant part in the early industrial growth of New Jersey, and now that is maintained by the National Park Services, guided tours are offered. Groups may can follow a paved, wheelchair accessible route through the Great Falls Historic District, but be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing for this hour long tour.

Chikahoki Falls

Located just west of the Wanaque Reservoir, the Norvin Green forest has a variety of hikes, ranging from short treks with incredible views to challenging loops perfect for a hiker with experience. Tucked away deep in the forest, the Chikahoki Falls is just one of the several destinations in the area. You’ll also find Otter Hole, and an exceptional lookout point at Wyanokie High Point which provides a full 360° view of the falls.

Apshawa Preserve

While these falls aren’t particularly massive, they are a feature on a beautiful hike through the Apshawa Preserve in West Milford. Along the way you’ll also find a number of scenic viewpoints, as well as an old water supply reservoir tucked in a ring of mountains. Along the way you’ll also stumble upon the remains of an old water purification system and a dam. With some luck, visitors will also be granted brief glimpses of the NYC skyline. This 576 acre preserve was also established as part of a cooperative project with the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the County of Passiac, and is an excellent location for bird watching in New Jersey

Van Campens Glen

The trip to Van Campens Glen is a low effort, high reward, 1.6 mile loop hike on a trail that provides stunning views of cascades and waterfalls from the comfort of a shady trail. Visitors will find that the trail can be very rocky, and slippery in wet conditions, but gorgeous year-round and particularly stunning in fall. The one downside to Van Campens Glen is that it tends to be a very popular destination.

Photo Credit William Doyle

Tinton Falls, Tinton Falls

Tinton Falls, the namesake for the Monmouth County town where it’s found, is a gem of a waterfall. Visitors will find that the falls can be easily viewed from a wooden overlook platform just off of Tinton Avenue. Tinton Falls is also home to the highest waterfalls on the New Jersey Coastal plain. Due to its size, the waterfall was also once used as a source of power to the city, which may have led to the gradual diminishing size of the falls.

Duke Farms

Duke Farms, located in Hillsborough New Jersey, was once owned by James Buchanan Duke, the entrepreneur who founded Duke Power and the American Tobacco Company. Now, the estate is open to the public and offers a number of different  casual hikes and easy strolls. With a visitor center, cafe, and plenty of buildings, sculptures, and waterfalls, Duke Farms offers a tremendous amount to see, and is perfect for the full family.

Hacklebarney Falls

Found in the Hacklebarney State Park in between Long Valley and Chester in Morris County, New Jersey. The park is managed by the New Jersey Division of Parks & Forestry, and surrounds the Black River. There are several different paths to hike, but to safely reach the riverbed, follow the red trail up the hill until you see the stone staircase. Be careful in your descent, as the steep steps can be slippery. After several cascades you’ll find the intersection of Trout Brook and Lamington River (which is what the Black River becomes as it flows south). Here you’ll find excellent trout fishing, as the area is stocked by the park service.

Boonton Falls

Many people are surprised to learn of this tranquil waterfall. Found just off of Main Street in downtown Boonton, this amazing waterfall is easy to reach, and easy to spend the day at. With a small park, picnic benches, and hiking trails on both sides of the river, Boonton Falls has a lot to offer to both children and adults. For the more adventurous, Boonton Falls also features spectacular kayaking for experts, and fishing at the rapids just below the stone bridge.

Find the Best Waterfalls in New Jersey

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