Dunnfield Creek Natural Area
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Old Mine Road, Hardwick Township, NJ
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free

nps.gov/dewa; 603-466-2721

Bathrooms: Portable toilets at the trailhead
Water/Snacks: None

In a forest of chestnut, oak, and hemlock, you’ll find an easy hike or snowshoe trek, 1.5 miles round-trip on a smooth trail, along with camping and paddling opportunities.

This easy wooded hike leads to a beautiful waterfall and perfect picnic spots.
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

Within Worthington State Forest, the Dunnfield Creek Natural Area is a beautiful, forested ravine along Dunnfield Creek, a designated Wild Trout Stream (meaning it is home to native, wild trout, New Jersey’s state fish). Worthington State Forest campground features 69 tent and trailer sites with picnic tables and fire rings, as well as showers and restrooms. The quiet setting and river access is ideal for families. You can also launch canoes and kayaks here.

The area also contains a gorgeous waterfall, and the trek to it is a great way to get kids started on hiking. The trail is relatively flat, well trod, and easy to follow, and reaching the falls is a nice reward for the effort. It’s also great for snowshoeing in winter.

To start the hike, cross a wooden footbridge at the edge of the parking lot over to the east side of Dunnfield Creek. Follow the white-blazed Appalachian Trail, which, after about a half-mile, will intersect with the green-blazed Dunnfield Hollow Trail on the right. You will be deep in the hemlock ravine, a signature feature of the Delaware Water Gap. Take Dunnfield Hollow Trail another quarter-mile to Dunnfield Creek Falls, which you will find at the end of a short trail on your left. If you reach the Blue Dot trail you have gone too far. The rocks around the fall attract many young climbers and are relatively easy to navigate. You can explore a number of good outcroppings to view the falls from different angles.

For a different view of the falls, continue along the trail another quartermile. You can then retrace your route by following the Appalachian Trail back to the parking lot. Remember: The waterfall area makes an excellent spot for a picnic.

Plan B:

Rattlesnake Swamp Trail (Trip 94) is a much more challenging hike that is still suitable for kids. Van Campens Glen (Trip 92) is also a good hike that is only a bit more challenging than Dunnfield Creek Falls.

Where to Eat Nearby:

It's best to pack a picnic.


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