Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

It’s Carefully Doable But Probably Not Advisable

September 1, 2016
Thursday Afternoon                                                      Most Recent Posts:
Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area                 A Park Within A Park in the Delaware Water Gap
Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania                            Traveling South Through the Delaware Water Gap



After lunch and a wonderful morning of many waterfalls (see A Park Within a Park above in blue), we are ready for another trail and decide to take one billed as seldom traveled.

The trail follows an old roadbed that meanders along Hornbeck’s Creek to, you guessed it, another waterfall.  I had no idea Delaware Water Gap was filled with so many.  Hornbeck’s Creek is apparently beloved of white water kayakers so when we see it and the falls, the drought in this area is brought home powerfully.



It is 1.2 miles one way to the lower Indian Ladder falls from the parking area off of Route 209, the main route along the river through the Delaware Water Gap on the Pennsylvania side.

The trail winds through the woods for a short way, changing landscape from a wide-open space to a narrower path.  The trail is obvious but there are no blazes. 


Hornbecks Creek (3)



The first bridge is intact but further along we are on our own crossing the creek.  One benefit of the drought is this is no problem.

Hornbecks Creek (8)










If you are a regular reader, you know that I’ve taken to these rock walls left by farmers and now grown over and around by Mother Nature.  They have been pretty much everywhere we’ve been this summer in New York, Vermont and Pennsylvania.




Hornbecks Creek (34)





This crossing would be much more difficult in the early spring heavier water flows.  I would love to see all the streams and waterfalls of the Gap then when they are full and rushing.


Hornbecks Creek (50)


We reach the lovely first falls.  It is a relatively short drop. The surrounding cliffs and pool provide a beautiful setting.





At the base of the pool is clear evidence of much heavier water flows and floods.  A giant log jam makes it tricky to get to the far side of the pool.



Hornbecks Creek (72)


Neither of us can resist crawling around and I make it over to the other side for pictures from that angle.






I decide to check out the obvious trail leading on up along the creek on the left side.. The trail information says “the trail was precariously set along a steep hill and numerous storms over the last couple of years have caused the hillside to slough, making the trail dangerous. Because recent stabilization attempts did not have a lasting effect, this section is closed and will remain closed until a suitable reroute is constructed

The trail looks quite doable here but based on the description, David stays behind and I venture on with my phone to scout it out and report.




It becomes pretty steep but still easily hiked and i find myself above the creek looking down.



The gorge contains many smaller falls and rapids, a few of which can be reached by following small side trails down to the side of the river.




Hornbecks Creek (96)


The trail goes up, the trail comes down.

At this p;oint the trail becomes a bit more precarious.

Hornbecks Creek (101)


But I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this.

Hornbecks Creek (120)


Hornbecks Creek (122)


Hornbecks Creek (142)


Hornbecks Creek (143)


From  a distance it is hard to tell that earlier in the year this might well have been one beautiful tumbling ladder falls.  I’m pretty sure this is the falls known as Goliath.


Hornbecks Creek (146)


Today there are only trickles.


Hornbecks Creek (150)


I wanted to see what Goliath looks like in better water times and this is what I found on the internet.

Definitely have to return.


When the trail isn’t obvious, I just continue along the creek until I see it somewhere ahead.

Hornbecks Creek (155)


There have been several difficult spots along the edge high up from the water where I had to be very careful and could take no pictures. 

At this point, with a staircase, I figure I must be somewhere near the upper ladder falls or have passed it and am headed toward the upper parking lot.

Hornbecks Creek (160)



I”m not sure if this is the upper falls or not.  The trail has disappeared and I don’t see anything that looks like a way to what is described as the upper parking lot.


Hornbecks Creek (162)










Having no idea where to go next, I turn around and head back.  Becasue I now recognize the difficult spots, I am able to stop and take a couple of pictures of them.  It hasn’t been an impossible hike but I’m not sure I would recommend it especially if the ground was wet.


Hornbecks Creek (171)

Probably because of watching my footing on the way up, I didn’t see this obviously major falls as I climbed.  Is this the top falls?  Is there a way down to the base?  Not from here I don’t think but perhaps from the illusive parking lot.

Hornbecks Creek (173)


Another of the difficult areas of the trail.  Not sure what you’d hold on to when that tree falls down into the ravine as it eventually will.  I can see why they have not redone this trail.  In several places it looks impossible.


Hornbecks Creek (212)


I’m surprised to see David as I’m coming down.  He has walked a ways up the trail behind me but stopped at this point and is waiting.


Hornbecks Creek (219)


As we walk back down through tall trees and along the low water of Hornbecks Creek, I tell him about the part of the trail he didn’t get to hike



Hornbecks Creek (231)


As we near the trailhead, the sun is low in the sky and streaming into the gorge behind us.  It’s been a full day and I’m ready for dinner.


Hornbecks Creek (220)


  1. What a great trail!! I love when there is unknown adventure waiting to be explored. Good there was at least a little water in most of the falls:)

  2. That is quite a trail, and such pretty waterfalls along it.

    You see a lot of those stone walls in the countryside in Ontario and Quebec as well, a legacy of the last ice age. Farmers dug them up while tilling their soil and used them as field boundaries. Sometimes they're still digging up rocks.

  3. We have a terrible drought her as well and our waterfalls are also pretty puny. We're not having some forest fires due to careless campers. That looks like a nice place. Maybe next time you'll have some water.

  4. Glad you were careful going up that trail! Very nice falls and scenery.

  5. When I was a young kid I heard the stone walls in the South referred to as "slave fences". They were built by the slaves and endure to this day, as lovely as ever.

  6. I love the music of water whether it be a stream babbling or falling, it is the most relaxing and calming companion on our hikes. What a joy! Thanks for sharing the hidden treasures I didn't get to see.

  7. I think David was smart not to take that trail.

  8. LOVE all the water falls, large and small! I too love old stone walls. If only they could talk!

  9. Beautiful hike again!! The last photo is really special:o))

  10. That's a lot to see on one trail! Great pic of you on the wood pile :-) Sad to see so little water. I'm sure it was gone by the time we passed through the area the end of last month. Hopefully "they" will be able to rebuild a safer path along that route as I'm sure Goliath is very popular when full of water. Glad you made it up and back safely - I agree that last pic is wonderful.

  11. You were quite the trail blazer on that hike. Nothing like a little danger to spice up the hike. ;c)

  12. You are such an intrepid hiker—nothing seems to stop you! Seems like that trail could definitely use some work—it looked pretty sketchy in places. The waterfalls are beautiful, but I especially love the little frog with the pretty green markings. And that last photo of David with the late afternoon sun filtering through the trees is wonderful.

  13. You're a dare devil, mama :) Glad the trail turned out to be mostly safe and you were able to see those falls!! Beautiful. As others have said, I, too, like the last picture. I bet climbing on the log jam was fun. You're still kids at heart :)

  14. I can imagine all those places flowing with plenty water just by looking at their carved surrounds. Even though we like to hike alone among this beauty seeing the remains, like stone walls, of human history can put us in the place. You are an intrepid hiker.

  15. I wonder if you brought your hiking poles with you. You are quite an adventurous hiking and the water falls were your reward even if it was just a trickle.
    You have good eyes Sherry, you seem to spot those frogs that camouflage so well.


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