No matter what the weather or the time of year, George W. Childs Park in Dingmans Ferry never seems to have a bad hair day. It could be raining, snowing or just downright dreary out, but the park’s splendor always shines through. A lot of that, of course, has to do Dingmans Creek, which runs through it and sports three magnificent waterfalls.
The land was purchased by George W. Childs in 1892 and developed into a park. It was his belief that everyone, not just the wealthy landowners, should have an opportunity to experience and enjoy the great outdoors. His wife Emma deeded the property to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1912, and it became part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in 1983.
The George W. Childs Park Trail begins in the parking lot off of Park Road and leads to a viewing platform above Factory Falls, a tiered waterfall. Before you get to the overlook there is a beautiful, new, wooden bridge that leads to the other side of the brook and to the ruins of an old woolen mill that was run by the Brooks family from 1823-1832.
A well maintained series of dirt and gravel trails as well as wooden walkways, stairs and bridges, from which there are many opportunities to take in scenic views, guide you to each of the falls. The best views are from the mill side of the creek. However, there are some beautiful outcrops along the stairs and walkways on the opposite side.
Below Factory Falls is Fulmer Falls, which is the tallest of the three at about 55 feet. The last waterfall is Deer Leap Falls, which plunges from below one of the wooden bridges.
While the falls are the main attraction, don’t forget to notice the details. The walkways, themselves, are graphically interesting and hemlocks line the ravine through which the creek flows. On a recent, frosty morning, beams of sunlight pierced the mist as it rose from the creek and ice crystals formed on leaves and branches.
The park is open from 6am to 10pm. However, be aware that the parking lot is gated and isn’t always unlocked at 6am. On a recent visit, it was still locked at 8:30am. Also, weekends, especially holiday weekends in the spring and summer, tend to be quite busy at Childs Park, so get there early, or you may not find a parking spot.