The Poconos harbor some of the most impressive waterfalls in the Mid-Atlantic. Here, water gathers on top of the plateaus, creating extensive wetlands, ponds, lakes, and bogs. Creeks drain these wetlands and flow towards the Delaware River, as they do, they cascade down the plateau. A great illustration of this is on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Raymondskill, Dingmans, Adams, and Hornbecks Creeks all feature superb waterfalls, with some over 100 feet high.
While Hornbecks Creek does not feature falls as high as the other streams, it may be the finest waterfall hike in the area. It is also beloved by whitewater kayakers, who have come from far and wide to run its falls and rapids.
We began by hiking up from US 209; the trail is obvious, but there are no blazes. The first bridge was intact, but not the second, which was washed away by floods. After a tricky crossing, we continued on. Most of the trail was passable, but there were several blowdowns, and a few places where the trail was washed out. We soon reached the first falls- a huge slide surrounded by cliffs that plummetted into a huge pool. Above was a chasm and many smaller falls- the creek was really gorged in. Hemlocks surrounded the creek, but they were clearly affected by the woolly adelgid.
The creek is incredibly beautiful as leaps from ledges between small, deep pools. The trail hugs the side of the gorge along narrow sidehill. We soon reached a huge, multi-tiered falls that was just stunning. It is known to paddlers as Goliath Falls.
The trail then follows a staircase to the top to another chasm that is so deep it is hard to see the creek. The chasm holds more smaller waterfalls and chutes; it is adorned with moss and ferns. We soon reached the top with one more falls that dropped into another deep pool.