WRITTEN BY: BRUCE LOVELACE
UPDATED ON: December 8, 2023
You're wondering where to get the best photos at the Delaware Water Gap. Fortunately there are countless photo ops to be found on both the New Jersey side and the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, where it carves itself through this narrow gap in the Appalachian Mountains.
The entire Delaware River Gap is a spectacular area with miles of hiking trails, scenic overlook views, forests, streams, cascades and waterfalls. It's photographer's playground. The challenge is what to visit first.
Here's a list of the top 5 spots to photograph in the area. Realize that there are many more chances to get great photos of the streams and smaller cascades as you travel through the area on foot with your camera gear in tow
The biggest draw to the for photo enthusiast photographers are the numerous waterfalls in the area. Almost all waterfalls are on the Pennsylvania side of the gap, rather than the New Jersey side, but there is an abundance of great photography opportunities in the entire area.
The best waterfalls for photography are Raymondskill, Buttermilk, Dingmans, Factory, Fulmer, and Bushkill Falls. The first 5 are totally free, but Bushkill is privately owned, more touristy, and charges admission.
Here is a useful interactive map of the waterfalls in the Delaware Water Gap.
Whether you want to photograph large waterfalls or small ones, like the falls below, you're in luck because of the unique geology of this area in northwest New Jersey and Southeast Pennsylvania.
Dingmans Falls is a 130-foot cascading waterfall that's a popular spot for sunrise photography. The sunlight is diffused coming through the trees and can create a mystic mood, while the mist from the falls adds a touch of ethereal beauty.
The Dingmans Creek Trail is a super-easy boardwalk under a canopy of trees that get you to two waterfalls, Silverthread Falls and Dingmans Falls.
Raymondskill Falls is Pennsylvania's tallest waterfall, coming in with three tiers for a total of over 150 feet in elevation.See my long exposure photo of Raymondskill Falls below.
Buttermilk Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in New Jersey at 85 feet and it's likely the easiest of all to see and photograph, as it is only a few feet from the road.
Factory and Fulmer Falls (See my photo two photos up) are both accessed and photographed by taking the George W. Childs Park Trail in Pennsylvania.
See my waterfall photography adventure video below, which includes the Delaware Water Gap photography, then the nearby spectacular Ricketts Glen waterfalls, and ends with spectacular scenic views of the water gap from the higher elevations.
Mount Tammany is the highest point in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and you can photograph the stunning views of the Delaware River and the gap that cuts though the mountains. See my selfie photo at the beginning of this post. With the view from the rock ledge at the top of Mount Tammany you get the iconic photo of the entire area.
Both the Mount Tammany and Mount Minsi trails are short, but if you climb up in elevation you get great views to take gorgeous photos, especially if you are lucky enough to time it right when the lighting and weather are both good.
There are dozens of ways to photograph the Delaware river. Unlike the southern section that runs between Philadelphia and Camden, the northern section is a scenic waterway that winds through the gap, giving you countless views from the river's edge or from higher viewpoints.
The photo of the Delaware river below is one I took from my campsite along the river, just a little bit south of the water gap itself. Look for wildflowers and wildlife as you travel in the area.
CAMERA: Cell phone cameras are really good nowadays and they're fine for basic snapshots of the Delaware Water Gap area. For more control over camera settings and the utmost in image quality, DSLRS and mirrorless cameras are best.
LENS: If you're going to limit yourself to just one lens for photographing the water gap area, take a multi-purpose zoom lens that covers wide-to-telephoto focal lengths. If you can, include a super-wide angle lens to take super side and strong perspective photographs that will set your images apart from the casual shooter.
TRIPOD: Not needed in the majority of daylight shooting situations. Use a tripod to help keep your camera steady if the lighting is dim and you'll avoid the disappointment of blurry photos.
A tripod helps if you're shooting a selfie where you want to be a small part of the composition You also need a tripod if you're doing any long exposure photography, like creamy time-exposure photos of waterfalls.
POLARIZING FILTER: Make your photos have better contrast by reducing glare and reflections. These filters will darken a blue sky and give your photos more vivid color.
ND FILTER: Neutral density (ND) filters are a must-have accessory if you want to try your hand at long exposure photography during daylight hours. Photos of waterfalls take on a stunning creamy look when you use an ND filter to get a slow shutter speed of a few seconds or more. See my Raymondskills Falls photo above.
Be respectful of the environment. The Delaware Water Gap is a fragile ecosystem, so please be respectful of the plants and animals. We live on an amazing planet to enjoy and photograph. Let's keep it that way!
Alltrails.com is a great tool to map out the trails and waterfalls you want to visit.
Waterfall Record. Good source for the less publicized waterfalls to photograph