5 Best Waterfall Hikes in Harriman State Park

Image of autumn foliage overlooking lake

New Jersey is known for its charming beaches, bustling boardwalks, and proximity to historical landmarks. Beyond these tourist attractions, the state boasts easy access to countless waterfalls in nearby states.

Incredible waterfalls outside New Jersey at Harriman State Park

Harriman State Park, the second largest state park in neighboring New York, offers plenty of adventures for those seeking New Jersey waterfalls. With 11 unique waterfalls to choose from within 44,000 acres, there is no shortage of adventure to be found at any time of year.

Look no further if you’re in the New Jersey area searching for waterfall hikes near me! We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 trails near Harriman State Park, so you don’t have to. Read on to discover the most thrilling waterfalls for beginners and experts alike.  

Suggested Reading: New Jersey Border Hikes: New York Edition

Reeves Brook Loop Trail 

The Reeves Brook Loop Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Harriman State Park. This beginner-friendly hike is a must-see when visiting the area. The parking lot is conveniently located at the trailhead for easy access. 

The scenery along the trail features rocks, streams, and, of course, waterfalls. Hikers can experience breathtaking views of nature during their travels on a moderately challenging path. The entire journey takes an average of 2 hours to complete. However, remember that this famous trail will likely be crowded any time of year. 

Length: 3.8 miles

Difficulty: 3/5

Elevation: 872 feet

Learn How To Take Photos of Waterfalls

Conklin Mountain Loop 

Conklin Mountain Loop is a peaceful and secluded trail near Lake Sebago. It is less crowded than many other trails in the area. It’s slightly more challenging to access, but the hike is relatively easy, requiring only 1.5 hours to complete. 

There is no dedicated entrance or parking near the trailhead for this hike. Visitors must access the loop through the Seven Hills Trail. The mostly flat trail presents the opportunity to hike or run. Pets are also welcome as long as they are on a leash. While this trail offers limited views of the rest of the park, you can expect to encounter plenty of small waterfalls along the way.

Length: 3.4 mi

Difficulty: 2/5

Elevation: 442 feet 

Hiking around wet areas? Don’t forget your Microspikes!

Elk Pen Loop Trail

The Elk Pen Loop Trail is a challenging 3-hour excursion for experienced hikers. Visitors should pay careful attention to the trail markers on this hike, as it’s very easy to get lost. One mistake can be costly, extending the time significantly to get back on track. 

This challenging route offers scenic views toward the middle of the trail, and up-close waterfall views make up for the vigorous exercise. Those who visit this trail should prepare to run into plenty of other eager hikers along the way. 

Length: 7.5 miles 

Difficulty: 5/5

Elevation: 1,525 feet

Tips for Choosing Your Hiking Camera

Claudius Smith Den

This trail is best known for its caverns that were once a hiding place during the Revolutionary War. There is no parking at the beginning of the trailhead for hikers. When visiting, you must walk from the nearby train station.

You will notice beautiful scenic rocks and streams from beginning to end when you get to the trail. The caverns are open for careful exploration, and dogs are welcome on a leash. This hike is expected to take more than 3 hours, and a GPS is recommended to navigate this complex route.

Length: 5.7 mi

Difficulty: 5/5

Elevation: 1,358 feet 

Big Hill and Jackie Jones Mountain Loop

This 2-hour paved loop is popular at all times of the year. Visitors enjoy hiking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. If you’re hunting for New Jersey waterfalls, the best time to visit is between the early spring and fall.

The trail is moderately complex and suitable for all experience levels. It’s located near a reservation-only campground that hikers cannot access. Overall, the trail markers provide easy navigation but beware of black bears when they’re most active in the spring and summer.

Length: 4 miles

Difficulty: 4/5

Elevation: 823 feet

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