The first time I tried to visit the Great Falls of the Passaic was in 2009 when smart phones didn’t exist (at least not commonly). I was using a GPS system, and let’s just say it wasn’t as easy to identify the best place to head to and park. I ended up getting a bit lost and found myself on one of the busiest streets (full of people) that I had ever been on. I decided it wasn’t worth it.
In July 2016, I was visiting family in New Jersey. We headed back to Newark International Airport, and thunderstorms led to the cancellation of our flight. The next easy flight was 24 hours later, so we had another day to explore. I wasn’t sure what to do. We had already been to New York City, so weren’t going to trek back there. I then realized that the Great Falls weren’t that far away.
This time, with a smart phone in hand, Google Maps led us to the correct parking area for Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park. It was a much less stressful time. From the parking area, you can see the falls, but you can also cross the Passaic River and get closer to the falls. It’s hard to get a picture of the full falls, so both viewpoints are interesting as they give you different perspectives.
- From I-80, take xit 57B toward Downtown/Paterson. (If headed west, it will be exit 57A-57B.)
- Merge onto NJ-19 N.
- Take the Grand Street exit. Turn left onto Grand Street.
- Turn right onto Spruce Street.
- Turn right onto McBride Avenue, and the parking area will be on your left.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: roadside
Where in the World is Great Falls of the Passaic?