Best Winter Weekend Getaway in Delaware Water Gap National Park

By Alli Hill

Best Winter Weekend Getaway in Delaware Water Gap National Park

The Delaware Water Gap has long been a summer destination for New Jersey travelers, but the locale shouldn’t be overlooked for winter weekend fun. Many areas of the park are open year-round 24 hours a day for camping, sightseeing, and hiking (although winter weather can create road closures, so check before you go). If you’re planning a weekend escape to the park, here’s how you can make the most of it. 

Set up camp at Mohican Outdoor Center

Some of the park’s campgrounds are open year-round. If you plan on hiking for two or more days, you can take advantage of backcountry campsites, although make note they don’t allow any ground fires at these sites. Your best bet is to grab a spot at the Mohican Outdoor Center, where they have cabins, walk-in primitive campsites, woodland backdrops, and a beautiful glacial lake.

Hike a piece of the Appalachian Trail

Hiking is a major draw to the park, but winter makes the trail system here especially unique. With bare trees and no leaves to block your view, you get beautiful vistas of the park that just aren’t possible in the warmer months. The Appalachian Trail lies at the south end of the park and spans for 28 miles total—if that’s too much, there are dozens of other (much shorter) trails to explore.

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Go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing

The Blue Mountain Lake trail is perfect for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, especially right after a fresh snowfall. Significant snowfalls will close the gates at the Blue Mountain Lakes parking lot, giving skiers a safe place to play. 

Go extreme and try rock or ice climbing—if you dare

Ricks Rock on the NJ side of the park is one of the best spots for top rope climbing. If you want to live a little dangerous, head to Buttermilk Falls and try your hand at ice climbing. Just remember that any sort of climbing can be dangerous, regardless of experience, so take all proper precautions before you begin your ascent. 

Hunt for whitetail

Whitetail deer are abundant in the park, and with the proper license and equipment, you can hunt for them on your weekend getaway. Check with the Fish and Wildlife Department for season information and requirements to hunt within the park.  

Grab a hot meal at the Walpack Inn

Consider this rustic country restaurant an extension of the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area. Surrounded by sweeping natural views and middle-of-nowhere peace and quiet, no trip to the area is complete without stopping here. You can get a fresh, home-cooked meal, cocktails, and photo-worthy desserts.

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Grab a craft beer at Buck Hill Brewery

Grabbing a frosty brew when it’s freezing outside might be the furthest thing from your mind, but you won’t want to pass up a chance to experience this cozy brewery. Their elevated gastropub menu pairs well with their collection of craft beer. Over a dozen varieties make it hard to choose just one, so grab a flight and find your new favorite.

Discover local history at the Blairstown Museum

If you need a break from the outdoors on your weekend trip, immerse yourself in local lore and history at the museum. Focused on the town’s evolution since its founding, you can experience the town as it was way back and see how it transformed into the community it is today. They’re also known for having intriguing, creative exhibits on a temporary basis, including a recent collection from the original “Friday the 13th” movie series.

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Have a howling good time at Lakota Wolf Preserve

This natural wolf preserve is an outdoor lover’s dream come true. You can take an educational tour that takes you through the preserve and closer to the animals than you may have thought possible. They also offer opportunities for serious photographers that want to get winning shots of their wolf population. 

Enjoy a sip at Brook Hollow Winery

This charming local winery lets you taste all their amazing wines for a small fee, plus you can get a wine glass to mark the occasion. The tasting room is open daily so you can come almost anytime to try your favorites. Live music, yoga, and other events have been known to dot their calendar, so you can plan ahead and make the most of the experience. 

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