You’ll find hundreds of breathtaking waterfalls in Pennsylvania, and the Poconos is the epicenter of the action. From the towering "Niagara of Pennsylvania" to the Keystone State’s tallest waterfall, you’ll find many impressive cascades in this scenic region of the state. These seven spectacular falls will be the highlight of a trip to the Pocono Mountains.
1. Bushkill Falls
Nicknamed the "The Niagara of Pennsylvania," Bushkill Falls is a group of eight natural waterfalls inside a 300-acre, privately owned park neighboring the DWGNRA. Pay an entrance fee to explore the park’s two scenic miles of trails, boardwalks, and bridges. Follow the trails to the Main Falls, which cascade down 100 feet into a gorge below surrounded by ferns, moss, and wildflowers. Bushkill Falls' trails are welcoming to families, but the walks require some stair climbs due to the 300-foot drop from the first falls to the lower gorge.
2. Buttermilk Falls
See two waterfalls on this easy walk along the Lehigh Gorge Trail in the Lehigh Gorge State Park—just upstream from the Rockport Access Area in Jim Thorpe. First up is Buttermilk Falls, a 50-footer that cascades down a rocky ledge surrounded by lush vegetation. Park in the small lot and follow a .3-mile path across a bridge to get a wide-open view of the falls.
3. Luke’s Falls
After checking out Buttermilk Falls, continue back downstream past the parking area for .3 miles to Luke's Falls. Stop on the bridge for a great view of this 50-foot fall descending a series of drops. Because of the thick vegetation, this cascade can be tougher to see in the summer, but you’ll find excellent views in winter and early spring. For those averse to long hikes, Buttermilk Falls and Luke's Falls offer quick access from easy-to-navigate trails.
4. Shohola Falls
Thundering down the State Game Lands off Route 6 you’ll find this stunning, roaring waterfall along Shohola Creek below Shohola Lake. To get there, follow a lesser-visited 0.8-mile loop trail through the marshlands to one of the Poconos’ most impressive and underrated waterfalls. The sheer volume of water flowing from this lake-fed fall is impressive year-round, and the dam above it seems to play little role in how fast and fierce it’s flowing. The best views are found from a ledge in front of the falls, but you can also see it safely from both sides of the creek and at stone observation areas on the west side.
5. Hawk Falls
The western Poconos’ Hickory Run State Park is home to the rushing waters of 25-foot Hawk Falls. To get there, park in the lot on Route 534 and take the 0.6-mile Hawk Falls Trail. This forested route was once used by wagons traveling from the town of Jim Thorpe and is thick with rhododendrons in summer. As you near the falls, cross a wooden bridge over Hickory Run. Continue downhill to a rocky area off the trail to see Hawk Falls. Hike to the bottom for another view, or to take a dip in the cool, refreshing water.
6. Tumbling Waters
Find Tumbling Waters Trail in Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) in the DWGNRA. This was designated Pennsylvania’s best trail in 2019 by Outside Magazine. Tumbling Waters is a moderately difficult, three-mile trail; a series of switchbacks leads to the impressive waterfall. The Delaware Valley/Kittatinny Mountains overlook, hemlock ravine, pine plantation and pond are other points of interest on this trail.
7. Paupack Falls
An architectural gem in the Pocono Mountains, the Ledges Hotel overlooks a series of natural waterfalls; Paupack Falls. Its multiple decks provide superior vantage points, but it's important to note they're for guests only. Why not book a room with a view, or check out the onsite restaurant?
Written by Jenny Willden for Matcha.
For safety reasons, the Glen Onoko Falls Trail in the Lehigh Gorge State Park is closed to hikers as of May 1, 2019.