Whether framed by lush summer foliage or the flaming colors of fall, waterfalls in the Pocono Mountains are an inspiring sight at any time of year. You'll find some of Pennsylvania's most beautiful and storied cascades in our region, including the famed "Niagara of Pennsylvania" as well as the state's tallest and second tallest waterfalls.
Misty falls hidden in our forests make the region's already-stunning hiking trails even more magical. Keep reading to discover seven waterfall spots you've got to visit during your stay in the Poconos.
Why settle for one waterfall when you could can visit eight all in one area? Bushkill Falls is known as "The Niagara of Pennsylvania" thanks to the magnificent size and impressive number of natural waterfalls inside these privately-owned 300 acres.
Located just outside Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, visitors pay a fee to gain access to the park, which first opened in 1904 and is home to exhibits and fun activities for kids and families as well as two miles of sprawling hiking trails. A fifteen-minute walk along the picturesque Green Trail (involving some steps) leads to the 100-foot drop of the Main Falls. For a longer adventure and to see more of the falls, plan a trek along the Yellow, Blue or Red Trails.
Lehigh Gorge State Park Waterfalls
You'll find two beautiful waterfalls that are quick and easy to access along the D&L Trail running through Lehigh Gorge State Park. Start from the Rockport Access Area outside Jim Thorpe and head .3 miles upstream to find Buttermilk Falls, which drops 50 feet over several levels of rocky ledges. Head back to the parking lot and continue another .3 miles downstream to discover tranquil Luke's Falls. Because of the dense summer greenery surrounding it, this cascade is easier to see in spring and fall.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Waterfalls
Topping the list of Pennsylvania waterfall heights are Raymondskill Falls at number one and Dingmans Falls at number two. Both can be found within Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DWGNRA). Spanning three impressive drops, Raymondskill Falls just outside of Milford can be accessed via a steep, .3-mile trail with two viewing areas, one in the middle of the falls and one at the top.
Dingmans Falls also has two visitor viewpoints offering different perspectives of the 130-foot falls. A boardwalk trail leads to the handicap-accessible viewing platform, while a staircase winds up .1 mile for a bird’s-eye view. As you make your way to Dingmans Falls, be sure to stop to admire 80-foot Silverthread Falls at the park’s entrance.
Magnificently draped over the stair stepping rocks just below Shohola Lake, the lovely Shohola Falls is located within State Game Lands along Route 6 between Hawley and Milford. A .6 mile loop trail leads to the sprawling series of cascades, which offer a different vignette from every angle, so take the time to explore and soak in the serenity. "Shohola" is a Lenni Lenape word meaning "place of peace."
Inside Hickory Run State Park, follow a winding, .6-mile forest path downhill, across a scenic footbridge and through a tunnel of rhododendron to reach beautiful Hawk Falls. The water descends 25 feet as it cascades over the rocks from Hawk Run down to Mud Run. Trail parking is available along Route 534 for this out-and-back route. Be sure to take the time to visit the newly-renovated Hickory Run State Park Visitors Center just down the road and explore more of the park's wonders, including Boulder Field, during your visit.
The Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) located within DWGNRA offers six trail loops free of charge to visitors, including the Tumbling Waters Trail, which was designated Pennsylvania’s best trail in 2019 by Outside Magazine. The hike is moderate in difficulty, but the three miles are worth the trek to reach the beautiful waterfall draping down into a peaceful woodland pool. You'll also find an overlook of the Kittatinny Mountains and old stone farm structures as well as an abundance of local flora and fauna.
Want to enjoy a private waterfall view right outside your hotel room window or just beyond your dining table?One-of-a-kind Ledges Hotel in Hawley is perched at the base of beautiful Paupack Falls. The historic building was originally built in 1890 to house the John S. O’Connor Glass Factory, which was powered by the stunning natural cascade. Today, the waterfall and hotel are a stylish river gorge retreat, offering accommodations as well as fine dining on the deck and indoors at Glass - Wine.Bar. Kitchen.
There are dozens of waterfalls to discover throughout the Pocono Mountains! Watch the video below to get a glimpse of a few of our falls, and see how many you can check off your list as you explore the national, state and local parks in our area.
Remember to help us Pick Up the Poconos and leave no trace so that local waterfalls remain a source of pristine natural beauty for generations of visitors to come.