Schooleys Falls, New Jersey

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The upper portion of Schooleys Falls (in April 2016)

I had a chance to visit the Pennsylvania/New Jersey area recently, and was trying to find at least one waterfall to visit during my time there. There are a lot of waterfalls there, so it’s not really that difficult, except when you’re a bit lazy like myself. After looking around, I realized that I was near a small but easy-to-hike-to waterfall in New Jersey, Schooleys Falls, and decided to stop and visit.

Schooleys Falls is found in Schooleys Mountain Park, which is relatively easy to find. There are two separate parking areas. Both parking areas and trails can lead to the falls, though I’m not sure if one of them is better. The smaller parking area on the west side of the park may have made an easier hike to the falls, but a sign said that a portion of the trail was closed. I decided to head back to the larger parking area on the northern side of the park. From there, I was still able to follow the trail to the falls, though the trail did seem to be a bit rocky and unclear at moments.

Even with some of the uncertainty about whether I was on the trail, I still found the hike to Schooleys Falls to be very enjoyable. I was one of just a few people out on this Sunday in early April. The falls are surprisingly bigger than I expected, though it’s hard to realize how big they are since you can only see portions of the falls at any one time. I have included two pictures here, and the distance between these two drops is not much (maybe 100-200 feet), but it’s not easy to photograph them at the same time. The lower portion of the falls was intriguing because the rocks are tilted at an angle. I didn’t tilt my camera, the crest of the waterfall is at a slant.

Directions:

  1. There are multiple ways to arrive at this park, so I’m going to explain which way I arrived. I was on US-46, which passes through Hackettstown. East of Hackettstown, you’ll come to Naughright Road on your right.
  2. Take a right onto Naughright Road (assuming you were heading east on US-46).
  3. Drive just under 3.5 miles along Naughright Road to E Springtown Road. Take a right onto E. Springtown Road.
  4. You will pass the first entrance to the park as you’re driving along E Springtown Road. You can start here, and it doesn’t really matter where you park as long as you follow the trail that heads south along Electric Brook. (It can help to look at a park map before starting.)
  5. You could also continue along E Springtown Road for a bit longer and then veering left onto Camp Washington Road. After a few tenths of a mile, you will come upon the other parking area to your left. This was the one that said the trail was partially closed.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 28′
Hike: ~ 1 mile

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The lower portion of Schooleys Falls

Where in the World is Schooleys Falls?

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Boonton Falls, New Jersey

Boonton Falls is one of those waterfalls that I guess I would never expect to be where it is. Boonton Falls is located in busy New Jersey in Boonton (logically!). Boonton is a very nice city way out in the suburbs. When I visited in late May 2009, the falls were roaring.

There is a dam above the falls that you might be able to see in a zoomed up version of the picture. The waterfall is pretty easy to get to, though figuring out where to park seemed to be the most complicated part.

Directions:

  1. I can’t exactly remember which freeway I exited to get to the falls. Viewing Google Maps, I think I exited from I-287 heading north, though I don’t remember the exit. I think it was the exit for Boonton.
  2. From whatever exit you take, head toward Main Street in downtown Boonton. I remember my GPS led me down Rockaway Street which runs parallel to Main Street on the opposite side of the Rockaway River, where Boonton Falls is located.
  3. It is possible to park on Main Street, though I couldn’t figure out any way to get down to the falls from there. Instead, from Main Street I saw there was a park down below. I drove down to the parking lot below, which is off of Main Street. There will be a sign saying to pay for parking, but I just drove right to the park. (The park is called Grace Lord Park.) There will be a slide and a merry-go-round there.
  4. From that park area, you will see a trail to your left. Follow that trail to your left down toward the river. The falls will be straight ahead on that trail.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Boonton Falls in late May 2009

Where in the World is Boonton Falls?