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New Jersey > a. NorthWest > Delaware Water Gap NRA


New Jersey's biggest and best multi pitch climbing area. With over two hundred routes if you include Mt.Minsi which is on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. Mt Tammany is bigger and more spectacular than Minsi. With spectacular situations and easy access these cliffs will only gain in popularity as time goes on. Mt Tammany holds a hundred or so routes, many of them considered authentic "test pieces" for their grade, the maximum so far being in the 5.12 range. This area has a strong traditional ethic of being a "ground-up" area, there are no sport routes on the NJ side of the Gap and the use of motorized drills or installation of hardware is illegal as it is on Federal land. Cleaning routes on rappel of loose rocks, dirt, and grass is encouraged. Helmets are MANDATORY when climbing at the Gap!!! If you value your safety you'll use them!  The rock is MetaQuartzite and holds pro SOLID!

Guidebooks for the area: Falcon Guide: Rock Climbing in New Jersey by Paul Nick and Neil JA Sloane 2000
                                             Garden State Climbing by Joseph Vulpis 2018
                                             Out of print guidebooks but can still be found: Climbing Guide to the Delaware Water Gap by Michael Steele
                                                                                                                                Rock & Ice in the Gap by Hugh Dougher

Climbing History: This area has been being developed for as long as people have been visiting here. Old pitons can be found all over the cliffs dating back to the early 1900's.

- "Princeton Era" between 1925 and 1959: During this time, 1925 to 1945, several Princeton professors who were well known mountaineers practiced rock climbing here. From 1948 until the late 1950's the Princeton Mountaineering Club used these cliffs (mostly the NJ side) for weekend training trips.

- "Dougher Era" Between 1975 and 1983: Hugh Dougher put up lots of new routes on both side of the Delaware Water Gap with various partners like Henry McMahon, Ron Matthews, Mike Panz and others. Richard Pleiss, Bob Daneker and others also put up several new routes during this time period.

- "Steele Era" between 1984 and 1990: Michael Steele, author of 'A Climbing Guide to the Delaware Water Gap' put up many hard routes on both sides of the park/river for that time period like 'Last of the Vikings (5.10c), Double Exposure (5.11a), Ride of the Valkyries (5.10b).

- "Ronca Era" between 1991 and 1999: Mark Ronca really changed the route development in the Delaware Water Gap during this time period. He was a park ranger here and lived close by so developing this area was right next door. He put up some of the best hard climbing the Gap has to offer.

- "Vulpis Era" between 2003 and now: Joey Vulpis, owner of Northeast Mountain Guiding, free climbed most of the previously rated aid routes establishing YDS ratings as well as developing more climbs on other walls in this section of the park. His development of the upper headwall in the mid-2000's will be featured in the new 2018 guidebook as well as the winter ascent information for both headwall.

There has been more route development and route cleaning here over the years by various local climbers and guide services like Northeast Mountain Guiding and Riverview Outdoors. There's still a lot of new route potential but this area doesn't see a lot of climbers. It's probably due to the rumors of chossy stone. Yes there's some loose rock here but not how people describe it to be. This is a great place for multi-pitch rock climbing! First ascent information here is based upon research, not guidebook information. Claiming a first ascent means to climb the route from the ground up with or without gear, lead style NOT on top-rope.

Getting There

Take I-80 west from N.J. and youll see it on the right just before crossing into Pa. Park at the first exit/parking lot just after passing the big cliff on your right. Approach by walking along the trail BEHIND the highway barrier wall (DO NOT walk on I-80) to reach the trail that leads up along the cliff or just before the roadside area venture left up a narrow trail to the top of the cliff and rappell down.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Mark Ronca aiding a section of a climb. Photo credit: Mark Ronca
[Hide Photo] Mark Ronca aiding a section of a climb. Photo credit: Mark Ronca
Mt. Tammy Path marker off 80 for base trail
[Hide Photo] Mt. Tammy Path marker off 80 for base trail
Joey Vulpis leading the "The Rib" about 75 feet into the route just below the belay ledge.
[Hide Photo] Joey Vulpis leading the "The Rib" about 75 feet into the route just below the belay ledge.
Not as loose as you've heard
[Hide Photo] Not as loose as you've heard
Campsite while climbing at the Delaware Water Gap this past Winter.
[Hide Photo] Campsite while climbing at the Delaware Water Gap this past Winter.
Hiking up the 'Red Dot' trail on Mt.Tammany
[Hide Photo] Hiking up the 'Red Dot' trail on Mt.Tammany
Mt.Tammany, NJ
[Hide Photo] Mt.Tammany, NJ

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Michelle Schonzeit
Dingmans Ferry, PA
[Hide Comment] Camping is only permitted within Delaware Water Gap at designated campground areas (either Dingmans Campground in PA or Worthington State Forest Campground in NJ) or for AT Thru Hikers meeting established distance criteria, or for overnight river trips meeting established river trip distances.

Camping regulations for Delaware Water Gap can be found Jan 20, 2010
[Hide Comment] The muddy season is in at the Delaware Water Gap NRA. NPS ridge-runners have relayed some nasty conditions all along the Appalachian Trail and all Kittatinny trails so be careful on approaches and descents if not rappelling. If you must camp in the gap off-trail, please follow basic AT trail ethics and camp 200 feet from a trail and/or water source. The campgrounds are close so I would recommend staying in them, follow Michelle's link bel,ow or this link… Apr 5, 2010
[Hide Comment] Why arent the 200+ routes listed if this is NJ`s largest area. Feb 8, 2011
[Hide Comment] has anyone been up to climb since the season started back up again? Apr 11, 2011
[Hide Comment] No time to post all these routes ;) The NJ side is open this season, the PA side is closed due to Peregrine Falcon nesting again. The NJ side has A LOT of trees down which make trail navigation and route finding hard but take our time, it's not that hard to locate walls up there. Jun 30, 2011
[Hide Comment] Began the 2014 season returning to the DWG. I have to say, this is a overlooked place of climbing Glory. There are literally hundreds of routes, and i can't say i have actually followed them as they are in the guid book. The climbs here the epitome of traditional adventure climbing. Ground up, dirty routes yet to be cleaned from lack of traffic, and not laid out for you so you better be on your "A" game. Mar 18, 2014
Suburban Roadside
Abovetraffic on Hudson
[Hide Comment] it is time for a renewed look at the ol'Gap it fits nicely into a day trip for many and moderate but thought provoking climbs are found at regular features. Long a good zone for teaching and learning to teaching.Many aspiring guides have shared the cliffs over the years. Jun 13, 2014
[Hide Comment] The New Jersey side of the DWG is great location for winter rock. Almost any location with the temps above 30 degree Fahrenheit, full sun and low wind is comfortably climbable. Oct 23, 2015
Brandon Hodakoski
East Stroudsburg
[Hide Comment] No one has commented in a while so figured I would. Me and my partner have been checking off climbs on the NJ&PA side of the Gap all summer/fall. Been cleaning the walls as much as possible (rocks,weeds) and adding new slings around anchor areas. Haven't seen any other climbers while we went. Why doesn't anyone climb the gap anymore? If you want to hit me up!
Oct 23, 2015
[Hide Comment] Hello, I'll be traveling for work and be in the area over the course of the next two weeks. Is the Gap climbable this time of year? some of the forcast temps looked like it could be climbable to the right individual? I'll also be looking for a partner so if anyone wants to climb on the weekends hit me up!

Alex Feb 24, 2016
Larry S
Easton, PA
[Hide Comment] Definitely climbable if you can find a partner, but the gap is little traveled. Try the Partner Finder, look for people around 07832 and 18013. Feb 27, 2016
[Hide Comment] Any body know if its easy (or if there is an already established way) to hike up the red dot trail and then descend? Seems like it would be similar in length, but without having to walk along the road. I look around some forums and didn't find anything. Jun 1, 2016
Brandon Hodakoski
White Plains, NY
[Hide Comment] The red dot trail isn't above the climbs. If coming from PA use the weigh station turn around and park at the pull off after guard rail and walk about 5 minutes down 80 or park at Dunfield creek parking lot and walk 10+ inutes down 80 to the obvious trail. If walking from dunfield trail will be after corner of rock. If from smaller pull off its when you come to base of rock. Jun 15, 2016
[Hide Comment] Hello everyone:) Looking to top rope by the gap. I noticed that the only routes listed here for the gap are multipitch trad. Does annyone know if any of these routes can be top roped? Are there any known top rope routes near the gap? I do not have any trad gear and only just started leading. Not quite lead for trad. Thanks. Aug 10, 2016
Larry S
Easton, PA
[Hide Comment] CVRIV - Not really - It's definitely a traditional climbing area, and most of the routes go completely top to bottom (200 feet), with no fixed intermediate anchors. There are only a handful of bolts on either side of the gap, most are just for rappels and require 2 ropes.. There may be a spot or two you can scramble to a tree and set something up, but i wouldn't recommend it. On the PA side, there is some access via the catwalk onto a ledge about 40' up the practice face, it is often used by guides to setup topropes for large groups. You might need some trad gear and alot of webbing to build the anchors though. I would recommend passing on this area till you have someone more experienced to go there with.

Go to High Rocks (Nockamixon) if you want to do alot of TR, it's almost all bolted. Also worth checking out Ricks Rocks (I have not been there). Allamuchy is also popular, but you'll probably need some gear for anchors.

PM me if you need more information. Aug 11, 2016
Conor Mark
Asheville, NC
[Hide Comment] Rick's Rocks has a bunch of bolts on top of the cliff, and a small collection of established lines. Bring long slings or static lines to extend these anchors. Popular with camps and guide groups, expect to see others on the weekend. Aug 20, 2016
[Hide Comment] Really, 200+ routes and no description? Sep 11, 2016
Alexandra Reider
Lancaster, PA
[Hide Comment] I'd like to visit here for a few days this week. Can someone give me a more updated and descriptive approach for this area? I'll be with a dog and some sites say its pretty steep. Also whats the camping situation? May 10, 2017
Lindsay Rohrbaugh
Silver Spring, MD
[Hide Comment] Interested in exploring the area on both the PA and NJ side. Is there a guidebook for it? MP doesn't have too many routes listed. Jul 5, 2017
[Hide Comment] I think the best guide book for the gap is Falcon Guide's Rock Climbing New Jersey. Rock Climbing Pennsylvania by Holzman is also good. Depending on which one you would likely use more, I would buy. The PA guidebook is nice, and is more useful for me to climb at other areas in PA. Jul 12, 2017
Kyle Ondy
Somerset, NJ
[Hide Comment] I can confirm that there is no viable way from reddot trail to the main cliff face. I spent the afternoon walking around above ribs and all the terrain is pretty sketchy, lots of loose talus. Also, the trail is still quite a distance from the top of the clif. Sep 2, 2017
[Hide Comment] Keep your eyes out for the new NJ climbing guidebook called 'Garden State Climbing' by Joey Vulpis which includes several interviews with climbers here dating back to 1949 and family members of climbers dating back to 1910! Oct 31, 2018
[Hide Comment] Went to the Gap today with the intention of climbing at Triumvirate wall today. The route to the base of the wall had thigh high brush, with rattlesnake warning signs. We instead took the red dot trail with all of our gear, which was quite the hike to the top. We were ultimately unable to access anywhere that looked good for climbing. We looked for bolts and found none. The access at this crag prevented us from even climbing all day today. We were there for about 5 hours total, ended up being a nice hike. Any advice would be great. May 27, 2019
Larry S
Easton, PA
[Hide Comment] Wesley - Unless the signs are very new... (as in put up in the past week), then it's possible you were off the climbers approach trail.... the approach leaves from the eastern-most lot right where 80 westbound enters the lot. walk along a concrete drainage ditch for a few hundred feet, then on a thin path between a stacked stone wall and the edge of the road. At some obvious spot there's a break in the stone wall and the climbers path moves inward of the stone wall. There's a good bit of poison ivy and after a rain this area fills up with water, so watch you step, waterproof boots are good to have here. I was there last week and ended up in a few inches of water a couple of times. After a bit it hops back out along the road, then back into the woods again, then back out along the highway cut along the road. At the end of the cut, the trail heads left up along the cliff edge. It's not unusual to see snakes back there, i've seen a handful in my years of climbing in the area, but i'm unaware of any area marked off for snakes unless it's brand new. Maybe they identified a viper pit somewhere on the normal climbers path. There is an alternative questionable parking spot on 80 westbound in the grass just a couple hundred feet before the climbers trail... it fits maybe 2 cars in the grass there. I don't park there because i'm afraid I won't have a vehicle at the end of the day, but i've seen it used...

As for approach by the red-dot trail... I've never done it, but I know climbers who top out and head up to it rather than rapping back to the base I'm thinking unless you know exactly where you're going it's going to be hard to get to the cliff and get down. There are very few top accessible bolts - The Rib and Triumvirate are the only I know of... the rest are random tree rappels... and you need to know where they are and scramble down to them. Hope this helps. May 27, 2019