Short rocky hike in a beautiful gorge with waterfalls plus a viewpoint over a valley.
2.4 miles. Very rocky along Electric Brook; a scramble down to get around the falls. The other trails are more dirt than rocks.
- Shorter: Easily cut this short hike even shorter, see notes below.
- Longer: Include WHITE and BEELINE. (Might be better to start at the lot on Fairview Ave for that)
- Longer: Continue out of the park using the Patriot’s Path.
- Nearby: Hacklebarney; Kay’s Cottage Ruins; Black River – Cooper Mill; Point Mountain Reservation; Stephens State Park.
Our two cents:
The Falling Waters trail is very rocky but this hike offers a solid reward-to-effort ratio.
Just to the falls and back is less than 1 mile round trip but it’s very scenic the entire way, shady, with a pretty waterfall as your reward. The viewpoint is decent and worth continuing for.
From that point on, the hike is pleasant but nothing amazing so if you aren’t into getting miles, we’ve included notes below on bail-out options.
Update: 6/2021 – Page refreshed, not re-hiked. 11/2018 – Added fall foliage photos.
Parking: N40.80095° W74.78373°
Schooleys Mountain Park, Long Valley, NJ 07853. Rt 206 N to Chester, L on Main St/Rt 5. R on Coleman into Naughright Rd., L on Springtown Rd., L into park.
Portable toilet in the lot (as of 11/2018). Bathroom building is near the trailhead. However, this has been locked so it’s possibly seasonal.
Optionally, there is usually a portable toilet in the Cooper Grist Mill lot on the way, or multiple stores around the intersection of Rt 206 and Main St. in Chester.
Overview: Unmarked path towards lake – Falling Waters (BLUE) – Patriot’s Path (WHITE) – Quarry Stone (PINK) – Grand Loop (YELLOW)
0.0 – From the far end of the parking lot, walk toward the bathroom building and to the edge of the woods where the trailhead is.
Facing the trailhead turn RIGHT and take an unmarked path downhill to the edge of Lake George. [Straight leads to Grand Loop (YELLOW)]
Turn LEFT to walk along the edge of the lake towards the dam.
Continue past the dam, don’t go over it’s dirt walkway.
Once past the dam, head to the BLUE blaze on a tree.
0.2 – Start following Falling Waters (BLUE). This is a very rocky path that follows along Electric Brook.
The fall foliage can be quite stunning if caught at the right time.
There are small cascades early on, with water tumbling over the jumble of rocks in Electric Brook.
Continue negotiating a very rocky trail.
0.4 – The first waterfall. Scramble down a bit to see it better, and keep going down to see the 2nd falls. The scramble is short but is still a steep rock scramble and could be slippery when wet out.
First waterfall, with high water flow:
First waterfall on a different day, with a little less water flowing over the rocks:
Fall foliage seen above Schooley’s Falls.
Keep heading down for the second waterfall. The falls had a distinctive branch laying on it when we were last here (2018… so it may not still be there).
Schooley’s happens to be a rather photogenic waterfall, so bear with me on all the photos.
A few more with less water flowing, where it seems more delicate as it cascades over the rocks.
There are interesting small cascades all around the falls.
// Shorter: Backtrack from here for a short but rewarding 0.8 mile hike. //
Continue following Falling Waters (BLUE).
The rocky trail continues along the brook for a bit, past a fenced private property area, before heading uphill.
0.6 – Trail intersection and a bench. [Falling Waters (BLUE) ends, Quarry Stone (PINK) and Patriot’s Path (WHITE)]
Turn RIGHT on Patriot’s Path (WHITE) to for a just a short bit to a rock outcrop and check out the view across the valley below.
Return back to the intersection from the viewpoint that is in a rocky old quarry area.
At the intersection, continue straight to start following Quarry Stone (PINK – it’s simply marked PINK on the trail map but book diagrams have it named as Quarry Stone).
// Shorter: Backtrack on Falling Waters (BLUE), or take Patriot’s Path (WHITE)] for a less rocky way back (1.2 miles). Don’t follow WHITE in the direction of continuing further past the viewpoint as that leads downhill towards the Fairview Ave lot. //
0.9 – Turn RIGHT for a short unmarked trail to “rock outcrop” marked on the map.
A large clump of rocks and a limited view awaits (with full leaves on the trees, probably won’t see much). Continue around the unmarked loop.
1.1 – Trail intersection of Quarry Stone (PINK) and Grand Loop (YELLOW).
Turn RIGHT to now follow Grand Loop (YELLOW). [Quarry Stone (PINK) ends; Grand Loop (YELLOW) also goes straight back to the lot]
// Shorter: Take Grand Loop (YELLOW) towards the lot to head directly back. While we continued on because we like longer loops, you’ve already seen the best bits and won’t be missing anything by cutting it short. //
1.3 – Turn LEFT to continue on Grand Loop (YELLOW). [Beeline is on the right]. Head uphill.
1.7 – Pass Highlands Cut (RED) on the right. Head downhill.
Grand Loop (YELLOW) turns LEFT, with an unmarked trail ahead.
1.9 – Pass Upland Meadow (ORANGE) on the right.
The trail ends at a grassy area, turn LEFT and head towards the parking lot.
Hiked: 11/4/18. Variation: BLUE to view then return on WHITE; 1.2 miles RT.