If coming from the New Jersey side, be sure to bring a couple of singles with you as there is a $1 toll each way (no EZ Pass) over the historic 100-year-old Dingmans Ferry Bridge, one of the last privately owned toll bridges in the United States. Also bring some cash for optional trail guides, which provide great information corresponding to the color coded numbers you will see on trees...
If coming from the New Jersey side, be sure to bring a couple of singles with you as there is a $1 toll each way (no EZ Pass) over the historic 100-year-old Dingmans Ferry Bridge, one of the last privately owned toll bridges in the United States. Also bring some cash for optional trail guides, which provide great information corresponding to the color coded numbers you will see on trees throughout the hike. For this hike you would need the yellow, orange and blue guides. The Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) asks for 50 cents each and has a self-pay option outside the front door if the office is closed. Maps are also available at the office or on the PEEC website.
From the parking lot, facing the office building, proceed left towards yellow cabin #1. To the left of cabin #1 is the trailhead for the combined yellow/red trail. As the trail goes through oak hickory forests, the red trail will leave to the right at .45 mile, join back in from the right briefly at 1 mile before leaving to the right again in a hemlock forest. Stay on the yellow trail as it follows along and ascends the ridgeline looming above to the left. At 1.3 miles an outcrop to the right overlooks wetlands below. After another .2 mile, a very steep descent begins off of the ridge. A rope has been installed to assist although it is probably more useful for ascending if coming from the opposite direction.
At 2.05 miles stands a lonely chimney, the remnants of a former homestead. Bridge crossings at 2.85 and 2.9 miles bring you to a sharp left turn on the once again combined red/yellow trail. The trail now follows the creek through a lovely hemlock ravine. Note the forest service sign indicating 30% of the hemlocks have succumbed to woolly adelgid infestations and work is in progress in an attempt to save the rest of the hemlocks, most already in decline.
The trail veers to the right heading away from the creek at 3.15 miles, soon crossing over four consecutive bridges. When the red/yellow trail ends at the paved road, turn left and follow the road briefly, then turn left between any two of the brown cabins. Cross straight through the field towards a fire pit. At the far left side of the fire pit/seating area, turn left on the blue-blazed Fossil Trail.
An information sign on the left at 3.95 miles denotes the fossil quarry. The PEEC asks that you please leave any fossils found for others to enjoy. In compliance, a fallen tree is lined with fossils found previously. In another quarter of a mile arrive at views of the Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey through the tree branches when leaves are down. At 4.65 miles turn left on the orange-blazed Tumbling Waters Trail when the blue/orange combined trail goes right.
At 4.9 miles cross over a paved road, rock hop over a creek, turn left, then right as the orange trail joins a woods road. A clearing and old phone pole a short distance ahead on the right is the site of a former landowner's home. At a fork, keep left and the trail will ascend steadily before it goes up and down over a few gently rolling hills through mixed oak forest. At 5.5 miles an old stone fireplace, what remains of an old cabin, makes a great break spot with a scenic view of the Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey. More sweeping views of the Kittatinnies and the Delaware River Valley await you at a rock outcropping .3 mile farther along the trail. After the trail descends steadily it arrives at an intersection where a side trail to the left switchbacks down into a gorgeous hemlock ravine with cascading waterfalls. Even in the winter there is a noticeable temperature drop about half way down into the ravine.
After enjoying the waterfalls, retrace your steps back up the switchback to continue left on the orange trail. At 6.85 miles, as the trail travels a woods road, you will notice pine trees lined up in straight rows. These trees were planted 50-60 years ago after logging with the intention of harvesting once grown. Now that the land is protected, the trees remain.
At 6.95 miles the white-blazed trail joins in from the left. Continue on the white/orange trail as it skirts along Pickerel Pond. At 7.3 miles the trail goes through a red pine plantation before crossing a paved road. At 7.55 miles rock hop over a creek, cross a clearing, then turn right at the intersection on to a boardwalk, which will bring you to a wildlife observation blind. Leaving the blind, follow the boardwalk to the paved road, cross over and arrive back at the parking lot at 7.7 miles.
Turn By Turn Description:
[ 0.00] Start at red/yellow trailhead to the left of yellow cabin #1
[ 0.45] Turn left on yellow as red goes right
[ 1.00] At #13 red trail joins briefly, cross creek on log bridge through hemlock forest
[ 1.20] Cross log bridge at #5 and ascend ridgeline
[ 1.30] Wetland overlook at ledge on right at #6
[ 1.50] Steep descent from ridge
[ 2.05] Chimney from old homestead at #10
[ 2.85] Cross bridge to right over creek
[ 2.95] Cross bridge over small waterfalls then immediate left on red/yellow along creek
[ 3.15] Trail veers to the right away from the creek
[ 3.20] Cross over 4 consecutive bridges
[ 3.55] End of red/yellow trail at #18; left on paved road; left between brown cabins; walk straight through field towards fire pit
[ 3.65] Left on blue Fossil Trail at far end of fire pit
[ 3.95] Fossil outcrop
[ 4.25] View of Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey through trees if no foliage
[ 4.65] Left on orange where blue/orange goes right
[ 4.75] #4 Cedar Knolls with red cedars
[ 4.90] Cross over paved road; rock hop over creek; turn left then right on woods road
[ 5.10] Clearing at site of former landowner house
[ 5.25] Left at fork; trail ascends
[ 5.35] Mixed oak forest
[ 5.50] Stone fireplace with view of Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey
[ 5.80] View of Delaware Valley and Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey
[ 5.95] Turn left on side trail at #9 down steps and switchbacks to falls
[ 6.10] Arrive at falls; retrace steps up switchbacks
[ 6.25] Left on orange trail
[ 6.40] Left at intersection at #3
[ 6.85] Woods road through pine plantation
[ 6.95] Keep straight on orange as white joins in from the left
[ 7.10] Trail turns right and crosses two bridges
[ 7.20] Arrive at Pickerel Pond as trail turns left following along the pond
[ 7.30] Red pine plantation
[ 7.45] Cross road diagonally at curve in road to continuation of orange/white trail
[ 7.55] Rock hop over creek
[ 7.60] Cross clearing, turn right at intersection on boardwalk to wildlife blind
[ 7.70] Cross paved road arriving back at parking lot
Travel along gurgling creeks through tranquil hemlock ravines, down to roaring waterfalls and up to views of the Delaware River Valley and the Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.