Middle Delaware National Scenic River

Quick Facts

Middle Delaware National Scenic River

Pennsylvania

(302) 739-3436

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Middle Delaware National Scenic River is a 40-mile stretch of calm water within Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area forming the boundary between Pennsylvania and New Jersey between Milford, PA in the north and the village of Delaware Water Gap in the south.

The Middle Delaware River passes between low forested mountains with barely a house in sight. Then the river cuts through the mountain ridge to form the famed "Water Gap." Exiting the park, the river will run 200 miles more to Delaware Bay at Wilmington, Delaware, and then to the Atlantic Ocean. The Delaware Water Gap is bounded by Mt. Minsi in Pennsylvania and Mt. Tammany in New Jersey. Once touted as a scenic Wonder of the World, it is an impressive site when motoring through on Interstate 80 or viewed from the overlooks along Rt. 611 on the Pennsylvania side.

With 100 miles of trails along streams, ridges, and mountains and 27 miles of the Appalachian Trail, hiking through this area is an exceptional experience. There is bountiful wildlife, waterfalls, and hemlock and rhododendron ravines to be seen along the way. If hiking doesn't sound appealing, there are also 200 miles of scenic roadways, historic villages, and 200 structures from the valley's colonial and recent past. In addition to these activities, the park boasts exceptional canoeing and kayaking along the river, rock-climbing, biking and fishing.

The northern 35 miles of these 40 miles are designated a national scenic river of the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System; the remaining miles of the river within the recreation area (near the Water Gap) are designated a recreational river. The Middle Delaware River is part of the Delaware River Water Trail, a unit of the National Recreation Trails Program.

Map of Delaware River

Latitude, Longitude: 41.097723, -74.967270

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Activities

  • Boating

    Canoes, kayaks, rafts, and tubes are allowed on the river.

  • Bird Watching

    Birding and eagle watching are popular activities at the river.

  • Bicycling

    McDade Recreational Trail PA is a designated bike trail, as well as a trail for hiking and cross country skiing.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Route 209 from Milford to Bushkill PA is a straight and level ride past farm fields on the east side and the Pocono Plateau on the west. Several side roads turn west to go to the sites of waterfalls. There are glimpses of the river near Bushkill. Along PA Route 611, south of Interstate 80, three scenic overlooks provide the best places to view the Delaware River as it passes through the Water Gap, a view enjoyed by the 19th century vacationers as well. River Road from Bushkill to Shawnee-on-Delaware PA is a twisting, hilly and scenic ride past farmlands. It once led to a ferry crossing to New Jersey.

  • Camping

    Primitive camping sites on the river are available ONLY to boaters and canoeists travelling from one access point to another when the distance is too great to be covered in one day. Campsites are limited to a one-night stay, and are on a first-come, first-served basis. Canoe campsites are open all year unless the river is closed due to an emergency. At present there are no fees and no reservation system. Dingmans Campground is a unique 133-site rustic campground located in the scenic Pocono Mountains in Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania. The campground property is in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DWGNRA). Dingmans Campground offers a variety of camping settings, with prime campsites along the banks of the Delaware River, spacious forest campsites and picturesque meadow campsites.

  • Climbing

    Rock climbing is permitted the park. Climbers do not need to register, but climbers should let someone know where they are going and when they intend to return, and provide this person with the park's phone number: (570) 426-2435. Point of Gap along Route 611 in Pennsylvania, right in the Water Gap is one of the most popular places.

  • Fishing

    The Delaware River and its tributaries provide a variety of fishing. The "shad run" up the Delaware passes through this park in May and June. A state fishing license is required from Pennsylvania.

  • Hiking

    For 2-6 hour hikes: Mt Minsi at the Gap (loop hike: Hikes 1 and 3), McDade Trail: Hialeah to Turn Farm (5 miles each way but climbs slowly and steadily northbound), Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) PA (a variety of trails open to all park visitors). For history hikes and strolls: McDade Trail I - Hialeah to Turn Farm, Lime Kilns near McDade Trail and Zion Church, and McDade Trail II - Milford Beach to Pitman Orchard. The Appalachian Trail also has sections through this area that provide a great experience for all hikers.

  • Historic Sites

    The park encompasses significant Native American archeological sites and several sites have been investigated. A number of structures also remain from early Dutch settlement and the colonial contact period. The entire region was a frontier of the French & Indian War. Historic rural villages from the 18th and 19th centuries remain intact on the New Jersey side, and landscapes of past settlements are scattered throughout the park.

  • Horseback Riding

    Conashaugh View Trail offers 9 miles of trail for hikers and for horseback riders with their own horses.

  • Picnicking

    Childs Park, Loch Lomond, Toms Creek Picnic Area, and Hialeah Picnic Area all are amazing picnicking locations.

  • Water Sports

    The recreation area staffs Milford Beach PA and Smithfield Beach PA with lifeguards in summer for swimmers. Snorkeling is permitted in the park. Snorkelers who are drifting down the river should remember that it is not permitted to swim within 50 feet of a boat or canoe launch. Scuba diving is permitted in the park. Walpack Bend and Point of Gap are popular locations. Divers should use standard diving flags and remain close to their flags for their own safety.

  • Winter Sports

    Please contact the park for information on winter sports.

Seasonality/Weather

In the spring, climate is variable. Temperature can drop rapidly after sunset on warm days. In the summer, air temperatures average from 75 to 85 degrees F, with some days in the 90s, and with lows to the 50s. There may be some very hot and muggy days in summer and thunderstorms can form quickly and violently along the river. In the fall, fall colors make the Gap especially photogenic, but winds in the Gap can be strong. In late fall, some of the best vistas along the hiking trails will emerge when the leaves are down. In the winter, air temperatures from December to March are frequently below freezing, with numerous snow and ice storms in some years, and little snow in other years. Water temperatures drop from the 50s to the 30s by December, with most of the river usually freezing over each winter.

Directions

Driving

Bushkill Meeting Center is located on the est side of Route 209 just south of the blinking light at the intersection of Route 209 and Bushkill Falls Road in Bushkill PA. Northbound on Route 209, this is 1.5 miles north of the traffic light at the Fernwood Resort, and 1/10 north of Milepost 1 on Route 209 within the park. Route 209 is PA Exit 53 off Interstate 84 near Matamoras PA; Route 209 will enter the park 5 miles farther south at Milford PA. Route 209 is PA Exit 309 off Interstate 80 near East Stoudsburg PA; Route 209 will enter the park 12 miles farther north at Bushkill PA.

Flying

Several major airports serve this area are Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) in Allentown/Bethlehem PA is 65 miles southwest. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP) located in Avoca PA is 65 miles west of the park. The Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) Newark NJ is 70 miles east.

Public Transportation

Martz-Trailways and Greyhound bus lines from Port Authority Terminal in New York City run to Scranton and Wilkes-Barre PA via the "Stroudsburg/DWG" terminal in the town of Delaware Water Gap PA. There are trips mid-day and on weekends and holidays. Both lines accept on-line purchase of tickets. The bus terminal is 1.5 miles from the AT southbound at Mt. Minsi trailhead and 3 miles from the AT northbound at Dunnfield trailhead (Mt. Tammany, Sunfish Pond). ShortLine Bus provides service from the New York City area to Port Jervis NY and Milford PA and Matamoras PA. There is no public transportation or private excursion out of Milford PA into the park, however.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(302) 739-3436

Campground reservations

(570) 828-1551

Links