Lehigh Gorge State Park

Home of the snowmobiling, Buttermilk falls, The Lehigh Gorge State Park is a great destination for adventures. In addition to hiking along the river, visitors can stand inside Lock 22 of the Lehigh Canal for a blast from the past

The 6,107 acres Lehigh Gorge State Park, is characterized by its steep-walled gorge, thick vegetation, rock outcroppings, and the beautiful waterfalls. The park follows the lehigh river from the outlet of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers Francis E. Walter Dam at the northern end, to the town of Jim Thorpe at the southern end of the park. The park also follows more than 20 miles of the D&L Trail, the foundation of the 165-mile Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor

The abandoned railroad grade along the river provides opportunities for hiking, bicycling, sightseeing, and photography. You’ll spot several waterfalls, remnants of the old Grand Section of the Lehigh Canal, and wildlife, including snakes, lizards, and birds. You can refill water bottles at the Rockport Access. The trail is closed to motor vehicles.

 

Lehigh Gorge State Park | Turn Hole | Buttermilk Falls | Luke Falls

Accessing the park – Directions

Access to park from White Haven can be reached off exit 273 of I-80. Follow PA 940 east and turn at the stop sign in White Haven. After crossing the railroad tracks turn right on Main Street and after a sharp, descending left curve bear right to the state park access area. GPS DD Lat. 41.05365  Long. -75.7716 Click here to Open in Google Maps

Rockport is the central access area. To access from the south, Follow 209 south from Jim Thorpe to PA 93 north, after six miles, turn right onto Brenckman Drive to the town of Weatherly. Continue through Weatherly then turn right onto Lehigh Gorge Drive then turn right onto Rockport Road.

From the north take exit 273 off I-80, follow PA 940 west for one mile then turn left onto Lehigh Gorge Drive, at the village of Rockport, turn left onto Rockport road.

Parking areas are provided in White Haven, Rockport, and Glen Onoko. Very limited parking is available at Lehigh Tannery but boat launching is prohibited. GPS DD: Lat. 40.9667  Long. -75.7551 Click here to Open in Google Maps

Top activities at Lehigh Gorge State Park

Hiking

The Lehigh Gorge State Park encompasses 33 miles of scenic hiking trails. Trails vary in scenery, length and terrain. The 26-mile Lehigh Gorge Trail offers easy hiking along the Lehigh River, with popular sights such as Buttermilk Falls accessible along the way. The lehigh is a linear park, access points are far apart. Plant to shuttle or return to where you parked, there is a about 2% uphill grade as you travel north.

Nearby state game lands offer additional opportunities for hiking and waterfall viewing. The often-photographed Tank Hollow Overlook is just a short drive away. The Glen Onoko Falls Trail is closed to hikers as of May 1, 2019.

The Bald Mountain property is open to hunting and hiking only. The seven miles of hiking trails are not marked or signed. Only experiences hikers should hike this area and should carry a topographic map and a compass or GPS unit, and know how to use them.

Biking

Hike or bike on 26 miles of abandoned railroad grade turned trail along the river. You’ll spot several waterfalls, remnants of the old Grand Section of the Lehigh Canal, and wildlife, including snakes, lizards, and birds. You can refill water bottles at the Rockport Access Area.

Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting is a popular summer pursuit at Lehigh Gorge State Park, and whether you like family-friendly Class I or II rapids or more challenging Class II to III whitewater, the Lehigh River delivers. Wind down the gorge where canyon walls tower high above you, and past rocky areas and stunning waterfalls as great blue herons and kingfishers fly overhead.

River flow is controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the best way to up your whitewater ante is booking on a dam release day, when released water creates more significant rapids. Unless you’re a pro, don’t go it alone rafting the Lehigh’s waters. Professional, qualified guides provide safety equipment, transportation to and from the river, and have the know-how to get you down the rapids safely—making it a fun day out for all. Local guides include: Jim Thorpe River Adventures, Pocono Whitewater Adventures, Whitewater Challengers, and Whitewater Rafting Adventures.

WaterFalls

Buttermilk and Luke’s Falls

Luke’s Falls is located along the Lehigh Gorge Trail, just south of the Rockport Access Area. Buttermilk Falls is located along the Lehigh Gorge Trail, just north of the Rockport Access Area. The falls are not a far walk from the parking lot at the Rockport Access Area; however, there is some downhill walking before reaching the trail.

buttermilk falls lehigh gorge state park pennsylvania
Buttermilk falls lehigh gorge state park pennsylvania

lukes falls lehigh gorge state park pennsylvania
Luke’s falls Lehigh Gorge State Park

Turn Hole Tunnel

The former CNJ (Lehigh & Susquehanna, L&S) mainline, abandoned bridge piers and Turn Hole Tunnel in the Lehigh River Gorge. The line through the tunnel was built in 1866, and finally abandoned in 1956 due to tunnel interior failure.

turn hole tunnel lehigh gorge state park pennsylvania outside view

The south side is open to pedestrians and can be accessed from the Glen Onoko Trail. Inside, walk over railroad ties to the north overlook. Look out onto the Lehigh and see the piers that still stand from the old railroad bridge.

turn hole tunnel lehigh gorge state park pennsylvania south side

Fishing at Lehigh Gorge State Park

Fishing in the river and streams is permitted during seasons established by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. The northern section of the Lehigh River is stocked with trout and is the most popular with anglers. Approved trout waters stretch from the Francis E. Walter Dam to Sandy Run.

Whitewater boating north of White Haven is discouraged to promote this section for fishing activities.