It’s no secret that Delaware doesn’t have many mountains. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway with some elevation and great fall foliage potential, check out these 5 spots that are within a 3.5 hour drive of Dover!
1. Delaware Water Gap
Summary: The Delaware River dramatically cuts through a large ridge of the Appalachian Mountains at the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, forming the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Recommended Trail: Hike the Red Dot Trail at Mount Tammany. Get there early, as the parking lot fills later in the day.
Other things to do: While you’re in the area, take a small detour to Bushkill Falls. The area is a bit touristy, but the waterfalls are so worth it.
2. Lehigh Gorge State Park and Hickory Run State Park
White Haven/Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
Summary: Lehigh Gorge State Park and Hickory Run State Park are about 30 minutes apart, and each one offers unique adventures. Hickory Run features waterfalls and a glacial boulder field, while Lehigh Gorge offers biking and hiking through the gorge as well as the stunning Glen Okono Falls.
Recommended Trail: At Hickory Run, do the Shades of Death Trail and the trail to Hawk Falls for great waterfall views. Make sure to stop by the boulder field and climb on the rocks. At Lehigh Gorge, hike Glen Okono Falls. When you get to the top of the falls, keep going up for a great overlook.
Other things to do: Stop by the charming town of Jim Thorpe to take a ride on the steam train and wander the shops and restaurants.
3. Rocks State Park
Summary: Rocks State Park is one of the closer mountainous options when you live in Delaware, and King and Queen’s Seat is offers spectacular views.
Recommended Trail: King and Queen’s Seat is the best spot to take in the mountain views. Walk all the way out to the end of the rock outcropping for maximum views.
Other things to do: Hike to Kilgore Falls and enjoy the beautiful waterfall.
4. Ricketts Glen State Park
Summary: Hike the Falls Trail to see 21 waterfalls packed into one epic hike. The main Falls Trail is 7.2 miles, and it’s totally worth it to do the entire thing. If you want a shorter hike, you can see most of the falls from a shorter 3.2 mile option, but I recommend doing the full Falls Trail.
5. Harpers Ferry
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Summary: The town of Harpers Ferry is is the site of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. This park includes historic buildings, exhibits, and museums, centered around key Civil War events that happened in the town. Harpers Ferry is also located where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet, and is a stop along the Appalachian Trail. There are great hiking trails through the area, and the town itself is charming.
Recommended Trail: Take the Maryland Heights trail for a stunning view of the point where the rivers converge.
Other things to do: Explore the National Historic Park and the wonderful little town filled with local shops and restaurants.
6. Great Falls Park
Summary: Great Falls Park is a stunning national park site located just outside of Washington D.C. along the Potomac River. The park is relatively small, but offers incredible views and hiking trails.
Recommended Trail: Take the Great Falls Overlook Trail for views of the falls, and then continue on the Billy Goat Trail. Discover how to see the best of Great Falls in a day trip.
I'm Abby, a traveling photographer and writer, and I'm most passionate about connecting people with the outdoors, and I started this blog because I believe in the power of visual communication to move people from awareness of the outdoors all the way to stewardship of natural resources.