I visited my cousin in northern New Jersey for a graduation party, and I figured I might go in search of more waterfalls in the area. There are a number in the region…the last time I visited, I tried to visit Clinton Falls, but found it to be marked with no trespassing signs (and there wasn’t much water flowing anyway).
Hewitt Falls was only three miles or so from my cousin’s house, though they weren’t sure whether water would be flowing. It has been pretty dry. So my sister and I set out to find Hewitt (Mine Hole) Falls.
So after getting to Long Pond Ironworks State Park and parking at the visitor’s center (I think), it took me a moment to figure out which direction to head. After heading to my left (the west), it ended up it was easy to find the falls.
Here’s where the complication comes in…There are these red signs that say Mine Hole is closed, and it goes as far to say that activities such as swimming are not allowed. I’m not one to try and break any rules, but I thought to myself, “Oh, well hiking must still be OK…I’m not going swimming or doing anything except trying to find the waterfall and take a few photos…” I even mentioned this to my sister. So we arrive so that I can see the falls, as you can hopefully tell in the picture above, and that’s when the New Jersey State Park rangers appear and say that this area is off limits. He mentions the red signs, and my sister said we’re from out of state and we honestly interpreted the signs to mean hiking was still OK. Luckily, he seemed to get that we weren’t trying to break any rules, and even said we could take a few more pictures. I didn’t have my fancy camera with me anyway, so my cell phone had to suffice.
If the signs are up (and they’re obvious), obviously heed the warning presented. My cousin mentioned that someone died at the falls while jumping off of them, and that may have to do with the closure. That may change at some point. There was some yellow closure tape that had been pulled down by a previous visitor (which would have been a much clearer sign to not go any further), so leave that up if you find it! As of 2019, the New Jersey state park website doesn’t mention anything about not being able to hike along the Sterling Ridge Trail, which should lead to Hewitt Falls.
- From West Milford, we headed east on Marshall Hill Road, which may also be called the Greenwood Lake Turnpike (or merge with the turnpike).
- Follow this to the Long Ponds Ironwork building on your left before you cross the lake/reservoir. Even if you don’t visit the waterfall, the buildings are interesting (but I’m not even sure if they’re also off limits?) (If you don’t know what constitutes the Mine Hole, how do you know what to do or not do?)
- Head left/west toward the buildings and then after a while you’d veer north following the Wanaque River.
Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Hike: 1 mile round-trip
Where in the World is Hewitt Falls?