Delaware Water Gap Travel Guide
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area covers 70,000 acres along the Delaware River in Sussex and Warren Counties, New Jersey, and in three counties of Pennsylvania on the other side of the river. Thus, the park lies in northwestern New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania. The Delaware Water Gap is an area about midway along the Delaware River’s course, where it goes through rocky ravines, narrows, and waterfalls. Many thousands visit the park every year to enjoy its natural beauty and to see historic sites located on park grounds.
Originally, much of what is now Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area was going to be dammed up to form a large reservoir on the upper Delaware River. However, opposition to this plan both by environmentalists and residents angry over losing their property to the project, defeated it. The lack of funds for such a project after the Vietnam War put the nail in the coffin, and the land was turned into a public recreational zone instead in 1978.
Things to see and do in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Hike through the park’s wooded hills, along its cliffs and small streams, and up against bluffs overlooking the Delaware River. The trails will also take you to waterfalls: Silver Thread Falls and Raymondskill Falls. You can camp, picnic, bike, horseback ride, canoe, swim, fish, hunt, and in the winter, ski in the park as well.
Investigate the park’s many historical sites. You may want to see Minisink Archaeological Site, where Native American burial mounds are located, the remains of an early Dutch colonial settlement, and various old farm houses, churches, and other buildings. The Delaware Water Gap region is as rich in history as it is in natural beauty.
Just over in Pennsylvania, hike through and enjoy the Pocono Mountains. There are over 260 miles of trails to walk or bike on, and on the Delaware, you can fish, boat, or go whitewater rafting. There are also many resorts in the area and over 30 golf courses to choose from. Finally, the Pocono Mountains are a favorite spot for skiing enthusiasts. There are over 150 skiing trails, and you can also go snowboarding, snow tubing, or snowshoeing. The abundance of snow in this region makes it perfect for winter sports of all descriptions.
The upland counties of New Jersey in which Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area lie have a significantly cooler climate than the rest of the state. Summer are still hot, however, with July highs averaging 82 degrees. Winters are not only cold, with average January highs of 34 degrees, but snowy. The “Sussex County Snow Belt” gets hit with 40 to 50 inches of snow each year.
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