We had a great taste of nature about 1.5 hours from NYC in Bushkill Falls, PA this week. Bushkill Falls, in the Pocono Mountains, is a series of eight privately owned waterfalls. They all range in size and intensity but the tallest is an impressive 100 feet. What makes these falls so special to me is the intricate network of trails, many of which are made up of boardwalks, stairs, bridges and over looks to take in views of the falls. I felt like I was touring Swiss Family Robinson’s tree house as we climbed and explored the forest and falls on our 45 minute hike. I took this adventure with my boyfriend Monte, our four year old daughter Brooklyn, our friend Corey and his four year old daughter Sabine. There are several hike options, but the 45 minute one seemed the best for us.
We took the Yellow Trail, but there are other available trails:
- Green Trail – View the Main Falls from the green trail, which takes about 15 minutes to walk. No climbing is involved, however there are steps.
- Yellow Trail – View the Main Falls, as well as Lower Gorge Falls, Laurel Glen and Upper Canyon which takes 45 minutes to walk.
- Blue Trail – View Pennell Falls from the blue trail, which takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to walk.
- Red Trail – View Bridal Veil Falls from the Red trail. This trail is for the avid hiker in that it spans almost 2 miles, includes all eight falls, and takes over 2 hours to hike.
Our first spectacular view was just about 10 minutes into our walk, so we immediately knew we were in for a good time, and that the girls would remain enthusiastic.
We really took our time on this hike, allowing the girls to explore, take lots of snack breaks and inspect bugs. About half way through they decided their best mode of transportation was their dad’s backs. Fortunately Monte had his Piggyback Rider which he uses to tote Brooklyn around when we spend long hours outdoors. This is a great child carrier for 45 pounders like our daughter. We also found an area where we could briefly go off trail and dangle our toes in the water. It was refreshing and pretty gorgeous. Brooklyn dropped her shoe in the water and Monte went in to rescue it, this was perhaps the highlight of the day based on the squeals and giggles from the girls.
Once back from the hike we visited Bushkill Falls Mining Co. We bought each of the girls a sack of dirt which they poured into their wooden boxes with screened bottoms. They used the trough with circulating water to sift the dirt out and reveal the gems which were hidden within the dirt. They got to take the gems home along with a card identifying each gem. The kids loved it. Now I have even more rocks in my house. I had no idea kids love rocks so much!
We also took a spin on the 18 hole mini golf course. This was a little worn but the kids didn’t care. They actually loved it and I was surprised they remained engaged all 18 holes. There is a cute playground across the road from the mini golf which we also ran around in. Monte then taught the girls how to skip rocks in the pond. The only thing we didn’t try was the paddle boats. These looked really fun but the sun was blazing in that area while we were there and we didn’t have enough sun protection so opted out of this activity.
Bushkill Falls is a wonderful way to spend a day in nature just a short distance from NYC. There’s even nearby camping options if you want to make a trip out of it. It’s definitely the largest falls I’ve seen in the area and the path is really something unique and special. This trip should definitely make it on your bucket list this summer.
- There is admission to access these falls, but in my opinion, it’s worth it, click here for costs.
- There are clean bathrooms and food options.
- There are many other activities after the hike like mining for gems, paddle boating, mini golf, fishing (you can rent the pole & bait there) and a nice playground.
- This is not stroller friendly.
- Be prepared to carry or piggy back your kids under 5 part of the way. Check out our favorite carrier: piggyback rider
- There are many stairs but they are shallow stairs and easy to navigate. I never broke a sweat on this hike even though it was 88 and humid in NYC that day. This area remains temperate. (keep in mind I didn’t do any of the child carrying)
- Coolers are not allowed on the trail.
- Swimming is not allowed.
- Everything is accessible from the same parking lot, you can pack a cooler and leave it in the car for a picnic after the hike.
- This area wasn’t buggy the day we visited but bring insect repellent just in case. And check for ticks afterwards.
- Bring sunscreen and hats. The hike isn’t super sunny but the activities afterwards are.
Here’s a video of our really special day at Bushkill Falls: