There’s something about a waterfall that is altogether calming and exhilarating. Pennsylvania’s waterfalls range from gentle streams that cascade into calm pools to powerful, roaring whitewater that reshapes the land as it flows. Of the various waterfalls in Pennsylvania, which one is the tallest?
The 3-tiered Raymondskill Falls is the tallest waterfall in Pennsylvania. In total, the three tiers drop 165 feet. Located on the eastern border of the state, Raymondskill Falls is accessible only by trail. In addition, this natural wonder has an upper and lower viewing area for visitors to enjoy.
The Pennsylvania wilderness is filled with dense forests covering mountains and hills, and tucked into the woods are many majestic waterfalls. Find out more about Raymondskill and other noteworthy falls throughout Pennsylvania as you read on.
Pennsylvania’s Tallest Waterfall
Delaware Water Gap is a National Recreation Area that spans 66,741 acres of eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey. Within its boundaries, there are many waterfalls. These falls were created by ancient glaciers that left paths that included cliffs. As the glaciers melted, water began flowing over the cliffs to make waterfalls. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is home to the 165-foot Raymondskill Falls, Pennsylvania’s tallest waterfall.
Raymondskill Falls is located at the north end of the recreation area. Around the falls there are white oak, red maple, and shagbark hickory trees. These trees lose their leaves each year, so the recreation area is a thick forest of shades of green in the spring and summer.
In the fall, the area comes alive with vibrant fall colors. The Delaware Water Gap is more barren during wintertime, but evergreen trees and frequent snow provide unique beauty in the year’s coldest months.
Raymondskill Falls is close to a few small towns, some in Pennsylvania and others in New Jersey.
On the Pennsylvania side, the falls are closest to Milford, a Pike County town of just over 1,000 people. Just 4 miles from the waterfall, this small town offers many services like bakeries, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, auto shop parts stores, and even a museum.
The closest town in New Jersey is Montague, and it is just under 5 miles away from the falls. Montague has a golf course/country club, a veterinary hospital, an equestrian center, various eateries, and more. Those who visit this towering waterfall have access to many amenities in the two closest towns.
Scranton, PA, Pennsylvania’s sixth largest city, is 57 miles, or about a 1 hour 15-minute drive, away from the falls. Those visiting the city made famous by The Office might be interested in a day trip to escape the city and appreciate the raw power of Raymondskill.
Once visitors arrive at the trail, the waterfall is just a few short minutes away. The hike is a quick, moderately steep .5-mile loop. The ideal time to visit this trail is between May and October—the area is in full bloom, and the weather is typically pleasant. The trail can be reached from the upper and lower lots.
The parking lot frequently fills up, especially during the summer months, but there is a Raymondskill Falls Hiker Shuttle that runs May-September, from 165 Rt 209, Milford, PA, to the falls and back.
The upper viewing area is just about 170 yards from the beginning of the trail. From here, guests can see the powerful upper tier of the falls. After that, the trail goes to the middle tier of the falls.
The trail is maintained with about 90 built-in rock stairs to and from the middle tier, which makes for a relatively steep hike down to the lower observation area. Hikers should use caution while navigating the rock steps as they frequently get wet and slick.
The lower observation area is the most photogenic part of the falls. That wooden platform is surrounded by a wooden fence, so it is an excellent place for families. Once on the lower observation deck, make sure to walk to the far left to get a view over the last tier of the falls.
There is no official approved trail to the bottom of the falls, but visitors can at least get a look from the observation area. The trail and observation points are well maintained by the National Park Service, and they are popular places for visitors.
Hiking here, you can expect to see other adventurers as they appreciate the beauty of the falls. Hikers should refrain from bringing their four-legged friends on this hike, as dogs are not allowed on the trail or observation areas.
Additionally, a spur off the main trail leads to Raymondskill Creek and adds a quarter mile to the trail; however, this trail does not lead to the bottom of the falls.
Keystone Answers Fun Fact: Transylvania County in North Carolina is called the “Land of Waterfalls.” The county has 250 waterfalls, and the highest waterfall east of the Rockies, Whitewater Falls, at 411 feet.
Is Raymondskill Falls Free?
There is no fee associated with parking, using the restrooms, or hiking to view Raymondskill Falls. Since it’s the highest waterfall in PA and free, it is one of the better-known falls for people to visit.
However, for those not using the hiker shuttle, parking can sometimes be tricky to find during the peak summer travel months.
Can You Swim in Raymondskill Falls?
Due to safety reasons, swimming in and close to the falls is prohibited.
There is no swimming or wading within 50 feet upstream of a waterfall throughout Delaware Water Gap. This rule is to keep swimmers and environments safe. The pools at the top of waterfalls can seem calm, but they often have powerful currents due to the amount of water moving down the waterfall.
Another rule regarding waterfalls in the Delaware Water Gap is no climbing on waterfalls or the surrounding pools and cliffs. The National Park Service has established these rules for the safety of all visitors to the area. The rules also help keep the environment safe since repelling, climbing, and jumping impact the environment around the falls.
While some activities are prohibited, there are many other things to enjoy around the waterfalls, like established hiking trails and scenic overlooks.
Other Waterfalls Nearby
There are many other waterfalls around Raymondskill Falls. Even though they are smaller, they are great places to appreciate nature by seeing, hearing, and in some cases feeling the waterfall as it rushes over the rocks.
Dingmans Falls – 7.1 miles south of Raymondskill Falls is the towering Dingmans Falls. A .4-mile (one-way) trail leads to the falls. The first .3 of the trail is relatively flat, but the last .1 mile gains over 100 feet in elevation. At around 130 feet tall, this waterfall almost rivals Raymondskill in height. It almost seems higher than Raymondskill because it isn’t separated into three tiers. The waterfall ends in a serene pool, partially surrounded by dark rock walls. This waterfall has steep and shallow sections, which gives a beautiful dimension to the falls. A boardwalk trail leads to the base of the waterfall. The trailhead of this trail has a visitor center and restrooms available.
Silverthread Falls – a .4-mile (one-way) trail leads to these waterfalls. This trail is the same trail that leads to Dingmans Falls. The first .3-mile section of the boardwalk trail is wheelchair and stroller accessible. Silverthread Falls, the first waterfall visitors come to, is a narrow (thread-like) 80-foot waterfall surrounded by mossy rocks. This waterfall is one of the most accessible waterfalls in the Delaware Water Gap, making it perfect for bringing wheelchairs and strollers.
Bushkill Falls – 18 miles, or about a 30-minute drive south of Raymondskill Falls, lies another 100-foot-tall waterfall with many other smaller waterfalls around it. This waterfall is unique because visitors can take different trails to get there and see different waterfalls along the way. The Green Trail is about a 15-minute walk to see the main falls. The Yellow Trail takes around 45 minutes, and hikers can see Bushkill and Lower Gorge Falls. The Blue Trail is where adventurers can see Pennell Falls, a smaller, calm waterfall. Lastly, the Red Trail is for advanced hikers—it covers 2 miles and passes by eight different waterfalls—and usually takes over 2 hours to complete.
The Delaware Water Gap is filled with breathtaking waterfalls. This lush, green area contains many of Pennsylvania’s most impressive waterfalls, including the tallest one in the state.
Explore the Secret Gems of Pennsylvania
The best way to experience Pennsylvania’s tallest waterfall is firsthand—to feel the mist on your face and hear the crash of the water. With so many places to visit in Pennsylvania, sometimes the trails leading to waterfalls hidden within the mountains and trees are less traveled.
However, the beautiful mountains of Pennsylvania offer serene scenes of picturesque waterfalls and powerful displays of nature’s power. For people looking to stop by some of PA’s waterfalls, Raymondskill Falls is the perfect place to start.