Leaf Peepers Paradise II

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In the previous post we shared some of the best “drive-to” leaf peeping spots in the NY/NY/PA tri-state area.  Now, we’re going to show spots that require a little, and sometimes a lot, more effort.

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View of the Delaware River from Mount Tammany
© Dawn J. Benko

Two mountains provide breathtaking views of the Delaware Water Gap.  One is Mount Tammany on the New Jersey side, just off of Rt. 80.  The best views are along the red dot trail.  It is, however, the more difficult of the two trails.

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A little rock scrambling along the red dot trail
© Dawn J. Benko

There are a couple of spots to take in the views, and if you continue to the top, you will find large areas on fire with blueberry bushes sporting their fall colors.  MAP

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Blueberry bushes on the top of Mount Tammany
© Dawn J. Benko

On the opposite side of the Delaware, in Pennsylvania, is Mount Minsi.  You can get to the trail via Lake Rd. in the town of Delaware Water Gap.  The white-blazed Appalachian Trail is the most scenic route but can be difficult in spots.  There is a much easier route to the summit via a woods road, but it does not have the views along the way.  MAP

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View from Mt. Minsi with the Mt. Tammany and the Delaware Water Gap in the distance
© Dawn J. Benko

Farther north on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware is the Cliff Trail along the Raymondskill Ridge.  There are a number of overlooks that afford the opportunity to take in the beauty of the Delaware Valley.  Filmmakers were so taken by the awe inspiring views that some of the scenery were used as stand-ins in a number of early Westerns.  MAP

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View of the Delaware Valley from the Raymondskill Ridge
© Dawn J. Benko

If you look down from the cliff and across Rt. 209, you will see meadows and farm fields that are intersected by a trail.  This is called McDade Trail.  Spanning 31 miles along the Delaware River, it runs the gamut from easy to challenging and offers scenic river views, shady forested areas, wide open farm fields and bustling wetlands. It even throws in some history for good measure.  MAP

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A soybean field awaits harvesting along McDade Trail.
© Dawn J. Benko

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Leaf Peepers Paradise

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High Point Monument as seen from Lake Marcia

Fall is here, and soon the leaf peepers will be out in force–myself included.  Here in the NJ, NY, and PA tri-state area there is no shortage of leaf peeping opportunities.  Some venues you can drive to, some require moderate hiking, and some require a little more effort.  Today I am going to concentrate on the drive-tos.

One of the best places to take in the autumn colors is at the High Point Monument in High Point State Park, Montague, NJ, where you have panoramic views of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.  You can even climb to the top of the monument for a better view.  Check with the park hours.  Map

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View from High Point Monument. In the distance is the Mid-Delaware bridge which connects Port Jervis, NY to Matamoras, PA
© Dawn J. Benko

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View of New Jersey farmland from the High Point Monument
© Dawn J. Benko

In New York, there are a couple of great spots where you can drive and park to take in the views.  One is Elks-Brox Memorial Park, which overlooks historic Port Jervis, NY.  Local lore has it that Point Peter, which is in the park, was the inspiration for Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle.

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Point Peter
© Dawn J. Benko

In August 2008, Port Jervis was named one of the “Ten Coolest Small Towns” by Budget Travel magazine.  Map

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View of Port Jervis, NY from Elks-Brox Memorial Park
© Dawn J. Benko

Just outside of Port Jervis is the “Hawks Nest”, which is a section of State Route 97 that winds along the Delaware River.  Frequently seen in automobile commercials, this portion of highway was originally a one-way dirt road dating back to 1859.

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A section of NYS Route 97 knowns as the “Hawks Nest”
© Dawn J. Benko

At the foot of the Hawk’s Nest stand sturdy stone walls which are remnants of the Delaware and Hudson canal that ran parallel to the river here.

There are a number of pull-offs, where you can park and take in the great views of the Delaware River.  Map

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In New Jersey, National Park Service Rt. 615 traverses parts of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.  There are an abundance of places along this route to take in views of the Kittatinny Ridge.  Map

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Autumn colors pop below the Kittatinny Ridge in Walpack, NJ.
© Dawn J. Benko

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