Things To Do

A park ranger writes information on an a-frame whiteboard about a National Public Lands day art in the park event at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park

VIP Terry McKenna

A rainbow forms over a roaring waterfall pouring into a deep chasm framed by trees, buildings, & an observation overlook with visitors

VIP Terry McKenna

Perusing Paterson: An Urban National Park

Paterson Great Falls is a newer unit of the National Park Service, open to visitors for self-guided outdoor activities and tours. Here you will find the Great Falls of the Passaic River, a National Natural Landmark. The centerpiece of the park, their beauty and power are central to Paterson's story and the Historic District. 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.

19th century brick mill buildings connected by metal walkways stand with green vegetation around them, tall factory structures & a chimney in the background

VIP Terry McKenna

As the first planned industrial city in the nation, Paterson boasts a notable National Engineering Landmark: the raceway system. The raceways, built and modified between 1791 and 1848, took advantage of the drop in elevation around the falls to power an astonishing array of industries. 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.

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

A park ranger leading a tour stands beside a statue of Alexander Hamilton, pointing behind her to a tall waterfall framed by dark basalt cliffs and an arched metal bridge. An American flag flies on a pole on the cliff above


Walking Tours

Want to learn more about the Falls and Paterson's role as the first planned industrial city in the nation? Join one of our free Guided Walking Tours!

Can't make a public tour or wish to explore at your own pace? Check out our Self-Guided Mill Mile Walking Tour, downloadable as a free walking tour app!Interested in art & culture?

Take the self guided Federici Walking Tour to explore the work & legacy of Gaetano Federici, the “sculptor laureate of Paterson.”

Park rangers stand & kneel beside a group of young school children standing at a waterfall overlook


Park Programs

Interested in a program at the Park, having a ranger visit your location, or a virtual program? We offer a wide variety of in-Park and off-site programming, from tours to teaching activities.

Information on school, scout, or youth activity can be found on our Education Program page - for all other programs visit our Public Programs & Special Events page.

Children play in the grass surrounding park rangers at an outdoor activity table


Youth Activities

Whether young in years or young at heart, explore a wide range of activities for even more fun!

Check out our Kids & Youth page for Jr. Ranger and Scout Ranger information, coloring activities, and more!

Youth-friendly activities and events are often held at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park - check our Public Programs & Special Events webpage and Social Media for the latest information.

Aerial view of the tall brick 19th century Roger's Locomotive Building with its tall chimney, now the Paterson Museum. Cars in the foreground parking lot sit at right of two steam locomotives

The Paterson Museum

Nearby Attractions

In addition to our Park, there are several historical sites, public parks, museums, and a stadium surrounding the Falls.

Paterson Great Falls is also located within the vicinity of several other National Parks, museums, and recreational areas.

To learn more, visit our Nearby Attractions webpage.

Last updated: January 12, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

72 McBride Avenue Extension
Paterson, NJ 07501



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