A wide view of a waterfall pouring into a chasm spanned by a bridge at right, an American flag high on a pole. The area around the falls & closest side of the bridge are covered in thick coatings of heavy white ice
Areas of the park can be dramatically affected by weather & temperatures - take proper precautions for a safe, enjoyable visit

VIP Terry McKenna

Ensure your visit to Paterson Great Falls is memorable for the right reasons! Take the time to plan your visit and follow these guidelines and regulations:

A park ranger with a fluorescent safety vest directs cars past traffic cones on a street line with trees, brick buildings visible in the park behind
Observe all instructions given by rangers for safety & ease of access

VIP Terry McKenna

General Guidelines:

In case of emergency, call 911 immediately. Alert a ranger if possible

Always check local conditions before visiting.

Park programs are outdoors, given rain or shine, dangerous conditions excepting. Wear appropriate clothing - during the summertime, wear loose-fitting garments, sunscreen, and bring plenty of water and snacks. In the wintertime, wear layers and avoid cold and wet exposure.

Wear comfortable, weather-appropriate shoes. The park and it's environs have paved and unpaved paths with uneven footing. Guided tours led by the National Park Service, or its designees, can follow paved, wheelchair-accessible routes (assistance may be required, especially along narrow city sidewalks). If you have any concerns or questions, review our accessibility resources or contact the park.

Be aware: in winter the river water above and below the Falls may freeze over; water will continue to flow underneath the ice, which is thin and dangerous. Snow covered ice may look like solid land - watch out for icy surfaces and stay on designated walking paths. If the weather worsens, the park may need to close quickly without advanced notice - alerts will be posted as soon as possible.

Stay on designated paths and trails and do not climb or cross barriers. Walls and railings are often slippery with water or ice - in winter, areas of the park may be closed for safety. No photo is worth falling!

Parts of the park are located in woodland areas. Carefully check for ticks; wear long pants and use insect repellant to prevent them. In the spring/summer bees and wasps may be present - If allergic, please bring your epinephrine auto injector.

Watch out for poisonous plants such as poison ivy, and know how to identify them.

Pets must be kept on a six-foot "hard" (non-retractable) leash at all times. Observe all pet guidelines and regulations.

The park is located in a busy urban area. Drive safely, wear your seatbelt at all times, and watch for pedestrians. Lock vehicles when parked, and avoid leaving valuables visible or unattended.

Please be aware of traffic, use crosswalks, and pay attention as you cross.

Male park ranger smiling because he is a proper distance away from a groundhog who is grazing on green grass.
Be safe and respect wildlife - keep a safe distance and don't feed the animals


Keep Wildlife Wild

Though it may seem like our "cute and cuddly" wildlife could use a handout, don't be fooled. There is plenty of natural food for them at the park, and they know where to find it. While it may seem as though feeding them will make their lives easier, it usually does the opposite.

There are many reasons the quote, "A fed animal is a dead animal" is true. When animals are taught that humans can be trusted, they tend to approach people and rely more on their food. This is akin to eating junk food, and fed wildlife will gnaw through backpacks, purses, jackets, and will rifle through garbage pails looking for the junk food they crave. Not only is this a nuisance for humans, it hurts the animals. Human food does not provide them with the nutrients they need.

"Tame" animals may act as if they want to be pet so they will be fed. Don't be fooled. Some of these animals - notably mice, chipmunks, squirrels, and groundhogs - can be carriers of disease such as bubonic plague. These animals often lose their fear of people and have been known to bite humans in order to get at snacks. Finally, animals will approach vehicles and are more likely to be run over than their truly wild relatives.

Feeding often encourages species of animals or waterfowl not normally found in the area to concentrate. Without human feeding, these increased populations can be unsustainable, increase stress for animals fighting for this food, eases the spread of disease, and in some cases lead to concentrated breeding which increases hybridization which can eventually weaken the gene pool in certain species.

It may seem like sharing your left over potato chips with a local groundhog, goose, or squirrel could help curb their hunger, but feeding wildlife hurts them and possibly you. Please respect all wildlife - leaving them alone and wild. If the presence of you or your pet changes the behavior of any wild animal, you are too close.

Last updated: May 31, 2024

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72 McBride Avenue Extension
Paterson, NJ 07501



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