Things To Do

The Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson

The Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson.

V. Scott - NPS PHOTO

Paterson Great Falls is a new unit of the National Park Service that is open to visitors for self-guided outdoor activities and tours. Here you will find a National Natural Landmark, the Great Falls of the Passaic River. They are the centerpiece of the park; their beauty and power are central to Paterson's story. Whether viewing them at a distance from Overlook Park, or feeling their spray in Mary Ellen Kramer Park, the Falls are a "must-see" for anyone visiting the area.

We offer an introductory guided tour for visitors to learn about Paterson's early history in-depth.

If you are interested in a self-guided walking tour, consider downloading the free walking tour app or dialing in to the cell phone tour.

Bring along the free Junior Ranger Booklet for even more fun.

 
Visitors walking along the Upper Raceway behind some of the the Rogers Locomotive Works buildings.

Visitors walk along the Upper Raceway behind some of the Rogers Locomotive Works buildings.

V. Scott - NPS PHOTO

Paterson also boasts a National Engineering Landmark. The raceways that were built in the late 18th- and early 19th-centuries, to take advantage of the nearby water power, were engineering marvels. A walk through Upper Raceway Park takes visitors along the beginning of the raceway system and past just a few of the many mills that benefitted from it.

 
Two of Paterson's mills along Spruce Street

Two of Paterson's mills along Spruce Street. The one on the right was part of the Rogers Locomotive Works complex and now houses the Paterson Musem.

V. Scott - NPS PHOTO

The Great Falls National Historic Landmark District still contains many of the mills that symbolize Paterson and the city's contributions to America's development and growth. As you walk through the District, you can take in the buildings' architecture, and imagine the entire area teeming with activity as the mills turned out their wide variety of products.

 

In addition to these outdoor activities, we encourage you to visit the Paterson Museum. The Paterson Museum (within walking distance of the park) is a partner site of the National Park Service and is operated by the City of Paterson.The museum exhibits highlight the numerous contributions the people of Paterson has made to the nation, and the world, since 1792. These include textile machines, Colt revolvers, steam locomotives, and the prototype of the first modern submarine, which was tested in the Passaic River.

The Paterson Museum is open Monday-Friday, 10:00a.m.-4:00p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 12:30p.m.-4:30p.m. The museum is closed on Federal and City holidays. The museum does not have admission fee, however there is a suggested donation of $2.00 per adult. For more information, you can contact the museum at (973) 321-1260.

Also consider a visit to these other locally (and related) historic venues:

Art Factory; 70 Spruce Street, Paterson, NJ (within walking distance of the park).

Lambert Castle; 3 Valley Road, Paterson, NJ (ten minute drive)

American Labor Museum (Botto House); 83 Norwood Street, Haledon, NJ (ten minute drive)

 

After your visit to Paterson, you can visit many other National Park Service sites throughout New Jersey!

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