Cliff Park and Hackers Falls

Overview

Hike from scenic waterfalls to the eastern fringe of the Pocono Plateau along cliffs overlooking the Delaware River Valley.

Details
Time:
4 hours
Difficulty:
Easy to Moderate
Length:
6.8 miles
Route Type:
Lollipop
Dogs:
Allowed on leash
Features:
Views, Waterfall, Historic feature, Cliffs
Maps/Books
Web Map:

Publication
First Published:
10/20/2010
Submitter:
Daniela Wagstaff

Photo

Tri State Overlook

Parking


View Cliff Park and Hackers Falls in a larger map

Trailhead GPS Coordinates
41.290300 -74.840100
Driving Directions

I-80 to exit 34B (Jefferson/Sparta); follow Route 15 North for 18 miles then continue on Route 206 North for 16 miles. After crossing the toll bridge over the Delaware River, turn left on Route 209 (Federal Road). Drive 2.4 miles then turn right on Raymondskill Road at mile marker 18 and proceed for 0.4 mile to the Hackers Trailhead parking lot on the left.

Description

This is a fairly easy hike, mostly on old woods roads. With an elevation gain of only around 300 feet, you will be rewarded with outstanding views of the Delaware River, New Jersey and New York.

Begin the hike by crossing over Raymondskill Road to the Hackers Trailhead opposite the parking lot. Follow this trail with yellow circular markers on posts for a short distance to a split where the white Cliff Trail leaves to the right towards a bridge. This will be your return route. Stay left on the yellow Hackers Trail.

After half a mile the yellow/white Logger's Path veers to the right; continue left on the yellow trail. Soon the yellow trail leaves the woods road to the right as a footpath, which will eventually widen back into a woods road as you start to hear waterfalls in the distance.

At 1.0 mile, arrive at Hackers Falls, a picturesque waterfall and pool on Raymondskill Creek. After visiting the waterfalls, continue along the woods road in the direction you were heading. There are no markers at the next two intersections. Stay to the right at each. Come to a T-intersection where there is a marker and turn right on the yellow trail.

Where the woods roads have taken you through pretty forests up to this point that will change temporarily as you turn left on the less attractive orange Buchanan Trail at 1.3 miles. This gravel road brings you to a dilapidated old barn and trailer on the right at 1.6 miles. Just beyond is the Cliff Park Trailhead parking lot where you will find restroom facilities. The scenery will improve greatly from this point forward.

Continue through the parking lot towards the blue Pond Loop Trail. You have a choice of taking either the south side of the pond loop to the right or the north side of the pond loop straight ahead. For this hike, we'll take the north side. Walk straight on to the grassy road through the break in the fence surrounding the parking lot. You will not see blue markers until you are a little farther along the trail and the pond comes into view on the right. To the left you will skirt along the back of the Cliff Park Golf Course, which opened in 1913. From this point out to the cliffs you will be following in the footsteps of famous silent film stars such as Tom Mix, Walter Miller and Mary Pickford who walked this path to the rugged cliffs for filming almost 100 years ago.

At 2.0 miles turn left on the orange Buchanan Trail and proceed uphill. After a short distance, turn left on the white Cliff Trail. As you hike along the white Cliff Trail glimpses of views will appear to the right. At 2.8 miles a very short unmarked side trail on the right ends at a fence marking the Riverview Overlook. It does not appear that the intention of the fence is to keep people from getting closer, rather to keep people from continuing on over the cliff if they are not paying attention. There are gaps that provide easy access to the other side where you can still safely get a better view of the Delaware River snaking through the valley with the New Jersey Kittatinny mountains in the distance. Slightly to the left search out the highest peak where you may be able to see High Point monument in New Jersey on a clear day.

To continue, either return to the white Cliff Trail or take a much more scenic, unmarked but well-defined foot path which begins at the north end of the fence and runs along the cliffs, meeting back up with the white Cliff Trail in 0.3 mile. When you arrive at the white Cliff Trail, turn right on the white/green Quarry Path that also converges at this intersection. At 3.6 miles turn left on the green Milford Knob Trail, which is a grassy woods road. At the next unmarked intersection, keep left. At 3.8 miles the green trail becomes a gravel road that ascends steeply. Watch your footing on the loose gravel. (If you prefer to avoid this section, which descends steeply through pretty forests but also ascending steeply to meet up with the white trail again, simply continue on white trail instead of turning right on the green/white Quarry Path.)

At 4.0 miles meet back up with the white Cliff Trail, turn right and continue to the clearing ahead at Milford Knob with views of historic Milford, PA down below. This is the end of the white Cliff Trail so from this point, turn around and head back on the white trail. Stay on the white trail when the green trail you arrived on comes in on the left.

At 4.7 miles arrive back at the intersection of the white, white/green and unmarked footpath. Either stay on the white Cliff Trail or take the scenic unmarked footpath just to the left of the white trail, arriving back at the Riverview Overlook at 4.9 miles. Continue south on the white Cliff Trail. At 5.6 miles stay left on the white trail as the orange trail comes in from the right. Watch for a short unmarked side trail on the left .2 miles ahead which leads to a fence along the cliff at the Minisink Overlook with views of the McDade Recreational Trail below and the old Snyder farm silo that survived a fire in 1950. To the left is the Route 206 bridge over the Delaware River.

Return to the white Cliff Trail and continue south. At 6.2 miles keep left as the yellow/white Logger Path leaves to the right. A short distance ahead a brief unmarked trail to the left brings you to a fence at the Tri State Overlook where canoes and kayaks might be visible in the Delaware River. Continue south on the white Cliff Trail, which now proceeds steadily downhill to a bridge at 6.7 miles. About 100 feet after crossing the bridge, turn left at the T-intersection. This brings you back to the Hackers Trailhead where the hike started. Arrive at Raymondskill Road and cross the road to the parking lot.

NOTE: The very short Raymondskill Fall trails are accessed directly from the parking lot. Dogs are not permitted on the Raymondskill Fall trails where you can expect to find many visitors. For additional hiking, the 32-mile McDade Recreational Trail is accessible by car, only one-half mile away: From Pitman Orchard Trailhead, going north, going south.

Click for trail map.

Date of hike: September 18, 2010

Turn by turn description

[ 0.0] Hackers Trailhead; take yellow Hackers Trail; pass white Cliff Trail on the right.
[ 0.5] Keep left on yellow Hackers Trail as yellow/white Logger's Path comes in from the right.
[ 0.6] Yellow trail turns right off of woods road as foot trail.
[ 0.8] Yellow trail becomes woods road again, starts uphill and waterfalls become audible.
[ 1.0] Hackers Falls on the left. Right at next two forks; turn right on yellow trail at T-intersection
[ 1.3] Left on orange trail.
[ 1.6] Clearing with a dilapidated barn and trailer straight ahead.
[ 1.7] Cliff Trail parking lot to blue Pond Loop trail.
[ 2.0] Left on orange trail
[ 2.1] Left on white Cliff Trail
[ 2.8] Riverview Overlook; north on unmarked trail along the cliff.
[ 3.1] Right on green/white Quarry Path.
[ 3.6] Left on green Milford Knob Trail.
[ 3.7] Left at an unmarked intersection.
[ 4.0] Right on white Cliff Trail to Milford Knob; retrace steps back staying on white Cliff Trail.
[ 4.1] Right on white trail when green trail leaves to the left.
[ 4.7] Intersection of white trail, green/white trail and unmarked cliff trail; take unmarked trail
[ 4.9] Riverview Overlook
[ 5.6] Straight on the white Cliff Trail; orange trail goes to the right.
[ 5.8] Minisink Overlook.
[ 6.2] Tri State Overlook; yellow/white Logger Path goes to the right; stay on white trail.
[ 6.7] Cross over bridge; 100 ft after bridge turn left at T-intersection.
[ 6.8] Cross Raymondskill Road and arrive back at parking lot.

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

really great hike

Took this hike yesterday (8/29/16), and it was great.  There's a bit more up and down than is indicated in the writeup, but that was OK with me.  Once you pass Hacker's Falls, there seems to have been a bit of re-routing of the official trail, so that part of the description is out-dated.  At the parking lot at the pond, it really wasn't clear from the description (and there are definitely no obvious trail signs there to help you) which of the multiple choices of road/path to take.  Be sure to stay right in the parking lot, otherwise you'll end up in the neighboring golf course.  If you (like I did) end up there, just stay right and there's another path (obviously beaten by others who took the wrong turn) which brings you back to the east side of the pond.  Once you get to the Riverview Overlook, definitely take the un-blazed path further east rather than the official Cliff Path (although I took that on the way back), as you'll get a series of additional valley views.  As far as the Quarry Path goes, it's mentioned in the writeup that it descends, which means you have to do a quite steep re-ascent on the Milford Knob Path.  Frankly, unless you're looking for a little more exercise, you might as well skip this section, as there's really not much to see.  Better to just take the Cliff Path to its end at the overlook point down to Milford.

Storm damage closes portion of Rt. 209

A one-mile stretch of Rt. 209 in Pennsylvania between Dingmans Ferry and Milford has major damage that won't be repaired and reopened until late summer/fall 2012.  Currently, 7.5 miles of road are closed, preventing access to a number of trails, but it appears they will be allowing access to the trails that are along sections of road not impacted.