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Delaware Water Gap, New Jersey & Pennsylvania

A peaceful rest stop in the shadow of the nation's largest city.

by: Dennis Scholl

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Little-Known Fact: The Kittatinny Ridge area in the center of the Delaware Water Gap was once an exclusive health resort in the 1800s.

Mount Tammany rises above the Delaware River in northwestern New Jersey, just a stone's throw from the Appalachian Trail. This portion of the upper Delaware seems caught in a time warp. Once you're paddling down the river or hiking above it in a cool forest, you're alone. You may hear a jet pass overhead, but you're just as likely to detect the shrill cry of a bald eagle or osprey.

It's a land of natural and cultural history, a 70,000-acre, 40-mile-long park that extends from Delaware Water Gap (where Mount Tammany rises) upstream to Milford, Pennsylvania. It teems with fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, lush growth and clean water.

The upper Delaware (114 miles from Delaware Water Gap north to Hancock, New York) is part of the nation's Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and it attracts a lot of canoeists and kayakers. But the river isn't the only source of recreation. The Appalachian Trail winds along the park's eastern boundary in New Jersey for 25 miles, and shorter day hikes (up to 4 miles) lead to natural attractions such as Dingman's Falls in Pennsylvania or Sunfish Pond in New Jersey, a natural lake formed during the last ice age.

Delaware Water Gap is best viewed from atop Mount Tammany, and one of the best months to hike there is April, before summer foliage veils the vistas. The Red Dot Trail, one of five paths in the southern end of the park that intersect the Appalachian Trail, leads to Mount Tammany's summit.

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