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Contact: Kathleen Sandt, (570) 234-9144
Park Prepares for Summer Visitors
BUSHKILL, PA: Employees at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area have been busy gearing up and getting facilities ready for a busy summer season. The 70,000-acre national park unit in PA and NJ and was the 10th most-visited national park unit in the country in 2020 with 4.1 million visits recorded.
“This summer, our visitors will see our staff stationed at busy sites throughout the park where we can best serve the public’s needs. We’re going to put our focus where our visitors are and where we can be of most assistance.” said Superintendent Sula Jacobs of the park’s summer plans. “We’ve been planning ahead and getting the park ready to welcome our visitors,” she added. “But for the best trips, we recommend that visitors plan ahead too.”
Get information online or by phone:
-Call the information desk at (570) 426-2452.
-Follow us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS.
-Visit the park website at www.nps.gov/dewa.
The health and safety of our visitors and our employees is our top priority. Prior to visiting the park, visit the Current Conditions section of our website for up-to-date information on important public health and safety measures that are in effect related to stopping the spread of Covid-19. Some services remain limited or unavailable.
Accessibility: For information on accessible facilities in the park visit the park’s website or call (570) 426-2434. Audio files of wayside exhibits located throughout the park can be downloaded from the website before visiting: Wayside Audio - Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).
Cool Off In, or On, the River: All beaches and boat/canoe launches are open for the season. A $10/car fee is charged 7 days a week; annual passes are available for $45. The hand-launch access at Cadoo Recreation Site in NJ is open Monday morning through Friday evening and is closed on weekends; there is no charge to use the access.
-Lifeguards will be on duty at Milford Beach from 10 am to 6 pm, Thursday through Monday, beginning June 20 and ending August 28.
-Inflatable pool toys are not permitted within designated swimming areas and lifejackets are recommended when lifeguards are not on duty.
-Visit the park website for a list of businesses in the area that rent canoes, kayaks, tubes, and rafts and provide transportation; or B.Y.O.B- bring your own boat.
Always wear a properly fitted and fastened US Coast Guard-approved lifejacket when on or near the water. Lifejackets must be worn by children 12 and under while aboard any vessel.
Go for a Ride…or a Drive:
-The McDade Trail in PA is a great place to ride your bike (and it’s the only trail in the park where bikes are permitted). Visit our website for information on bicycle rentals in the area.
-Take a scenic drive and enjoy the views.
-Freeman Tract Road off River Road in Middle Smithfield Township will be closed weekends, closing on Friday evenings and re-opening on Monday mornings, beginning May 10.
-The upper section of Blue Mountain Lakes Road and Skyline Drive will be open to vehicles on weekdays beginning May 10. They will remain closed to vehicles on weekends, from Friday at dusk until noon on Monday. These roads will be closed to all users later in the summer for road work including re-grading, resurfacing, and drainage improvements. Updates will be posted on our website and on our Facebook page as construction schedules are finalized.
Planned Construction/Road Work: Additional information is available on the park's website and project updates will be posted to the park’s Facebook page. Scheduled road repair and construction projects include:
-Mountain Road in NJ will remain closed to vehicles due to construction on a historic culvert. The road is open to pedestrians wishing to visit Buttermilk Falls.
-Old Mine Road near Watergate in NJ will be open, but motorists may experience single-lane closures with traffic control due to ongoing construction in the area through July.
-The dirt section of National Park Drive in the Slateford Farm area is closed to vehicles due to construction.
-Route 209 near Adams Creek will be closed evenings from 9 pm to 5 am from June through July due to construction work on the bridge over the creek. A detour to and from the Milford area will be in place via Route 739 and Milford Road.
Visit one of our partner-operated sites:The park works in partnership with several not-for-profit and volunteer organizations who offer a variety of programs and services for the pubic. Thanks to these Park Partners, visitors can visit and tour historic homes and villages, learn about nature, practice outdoor adventure skills, or learn a fine craft.Check their websites for hours and program offerings:
-Mohican Outdoor Center (Mohican Outdoor Center )
-Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC)
-Peters Valley School of Craft (Peters Valley)
-Foster-Armstrong House and Nelden-Roberts Stonehouse (Montague History)
-Walpack Center and Van Campen Inn (Walpack Historical Society)
-Montague Grange (Montague Grange)
Pitch a Tent:
-Alosa River Campsites are available to river users by reservation. There are 6 individual campsites at this location. Go to recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777 to reserve your riverside campsite before you visit. There is no vehicle access to these campsites.
-Dingmans Campground offers tent and RV sites. For more information or to make a reservation visit their website at Dingmans Campground or call (570) 828-1551.
-River camping is available to those on extended river trips in accordance with park regulations. Designated river campsites can be found on the park website.
-Backpacking on the Appalachian Trail is permitted in accordance with park regulations.
-A complete list of campgrounds, river campsites, and regulations is available on the park’s website. Make reservations well in advance as campsites and campgrounds are in high demand during the summer months.
Pick a Place to Picnic: All picnic areas are open except for those at George W. Childs Park which remains closed for construction. Check the park website for group size limits and restrictions. Grills are not provided anywhere in the park, but visitors may bring their own grill to one of the following designated picnic areas:
-In PA: Milford Beach, Smithfield Beach, Toms Creek Picnic Area, Bushkill General Store Picnic Area, Hialeah Picnic Area (open weekdays only)
-In NJ: Turtle Beach and Namanock Recreation Site in NJ
Most areas are “carry in/carry out” so please take all food scraps, trash, and other waste with you when you leave so that wild animals are not attracted to these areas.
To protect park resources, including wildlife, and to reduce trash, picnicking and food preparation and consumption are prohibited at the following areas:
Raymondskill Creek, Trails, and parking areas, from the park boundary to the confluence of the Delaware River, including Hackers Falls and Trail;
Point of Gap overlook parking area and riverbank along Route 611;
Sawkill Creek from park boundary to the confluence with the Delaware River (including the Mott Street Bridge and pool below the bridge);
Riverview Trailhead parking area for the McDade Recreational Trail on River Road; and
Karamac Trail and riverbank.
Watch Water…Fall: Because of the unique geography and geology of the area, the park boasts several stunning waterfalls that are free to visit. From water rushing over a steep cliff to rambling streams with gentle cascades, there is a waterfall for everyone.
Waterfalls are among the most popular, and busiest destinations in the park, especially on summer weekends when visitation swells. For the best experience, visit on a weekday, early in the morning, or at twilight.
To protect park visitors and resources, including wildlife, picnicking is not allowed at any of the waterfall areas and visitors are expected to take everything they brought in back home with them when they leave. “Some of the most beautiful places in the recreation area are our many waterfalls and the streams that feed them. They are also among the most fragile environments in the park and are easily damaged by trash, human waste, overuse, and misuse,” said Kara Deutsch, Chief of Resource Management and Science at the park. “We ask all visitors to follow the rules and regulations when visiting so that these special areas can remain as they are for future generations of visitors to also enjoy.” Swimming is prohibited within 50 feet upstream from the top of all waterfalls.
-Dingmans Falls: Dingmans Falls Visitor Center will remain closed this year however the trail is open daily, and the access roads will be open on weekdays, from noon on Mondays to dusk on Fridays, beginning on May 10. On Saturdays and Sundays, the roads will be closed to vehicles and only open to pedestrians.
-Buttermilk Falls: Mountain Road in NJ will remain closed to vehicles due to construction but is open to pedestrians wishing to access Buttermilk Falls.
-George W. Childs Park remains closed for construction.
Go Take a Hike! From steep, rugged climbs to the top of the Delaware Water Gap to lazy strolls along the river on the McDade Trail, there is a trail in the park to suit every visitor. All trails are open except the following which will remain closed until further notice due to public hazard or ongoing construction work:
-The George W. Childs Park trails and the Conashaugh Equestrian Trail remain closed for construction.
-The Adams Creek drainage area and the White Pines trailhead for the McDade Trail are closed from May 1 to September 30 to maintain public safety; protect environmental and scenic values; protect natural and cultural resources; and avoid public use conflicts.
Where can I park? Parking areas are located throughout the recreation area and directions to them can be found on the park’s website under the listing for each location. On weekends, parking areas at many destinations fill by 9 am. “When a parking area is full, the site you wish to visit is also full,” Chief Ranger Eric Lisnik would like to remind visitors. “Some sites have narrow trails or viewing areas or are in fragile ecosystems and can only fit a limited number of people at one time before the area is damaged or it gets too crowded to enjoy. If the parking area is full when you arrive, choose a different destination or a different time to visit that area.” Park rangers recommend having several backup plans in case the area you want to visit is already full when you arrive.
Take the Shuttle: Use the Pocono Pony’s Hiker Shuttle to get back and forth between the Park and Ride lot in the town of Delaware Water Gap, PA and the Kittatinny Point/Mt. Tammany and Lake Lenape/Mt.Minsi area trails at the south end of the park. The shuttle runs every 30 minutes on summer weekends. Masks are required to be worn aboard the shuttle. Schedules are available at: www.gomcta.com/trip. The River Runner shuttle for boats and bikes will not be operating in 2021.
Tips for Travelers:
Plan ahead! Visit the park website or call ahead to find out what you can and can’t do, where you can go, what you need to bring, and what you should leave at home.
Travel on Tuesday… or Wednesday, or Thursday to beat the crowds. Weekends are the busiest times in the park.
Have a Plan B… and C in case the places you wish to visit are already full when you arrive. If the parking area is full, the site is also full. Many popular destinations reach capacity by 9 am on summer weekends.
Recreate Responsibly. Help take care of the park by following all rules and regulations, taking all trash and waste home with you when you leave, and by practicing Leave No Trace © principles: Plan Ahead and Prepare, Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces, Dispose of Waste Properly, Leave What You Find, Minimize Campfire Impacts, Respect Wildlife, Be Considerate of Other Visitors. To learn more about what you can do visit Leave No Trace Seven Principles (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
-NPS-About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
Last updated: August 9, 2021