Hiking offers great benefits for your physical and mental health. It is one of the best ways to rejuvenate your body and soul, and without clearing your bank account. It is especially true if you live in densely populated areas, where high stress can influence your well being. If you live in New Jersey, New York, or Pennsylvania, here is a hike for you – Mount Tammany! By many considered the best hiking trail in New Jersey, it is easy to reach and suitable for the whole family. Situated in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, it is a great destination for a day trip from metropolitan areas like New York City and Philadelphia. Mount Tammany hike in New Jersey, is possibly just what you need. Check it out!

Mount Tammany overlook towards Delaware River.
Certainly worth the climb – Mount Tammany overlook towards Delaware River.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
― John Muir

Mount Tammany is one of my favorite hikes close to my home in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. It is one of those pleasures that requires hard work, but it shifts your mind from your daily struggles to here and now. When you climb the mountain, that is all you do. And when you reach the summit, you are ready to scream: I did it, what a beautiful world!


Mount Tammany - spring flowers in Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area.
Mount Tammany – spring flowers in Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area.

When is the best time to hike Mount Tammany?

Fall is my favorite time to visit when the forest turns into a colorful mosaic. During the peak of foliage season, you will not be hiking alone, especially on Columbus Day weekend, but the hike is difficult enough to keep crowds away. Still, parking could be an issue when the weather is nice.

Arrive early to secure your spot. Late afternoon is also a good time to start when most of the hikers are already closing their walk.

I also enjoy visiting Mount Tammany in the spring. The air is fresh and crispy and wildflowers are dotting the trail.  Dunfield Creek at the bottom of the mountain is fuller and creates small waterfalls.

I never tried to hike the trail in winter, but I am sure it is equally rewarding. I imagine how beautiful it must be covered with snow. Walking the trail in winter should only be considered by experienced hikers.

Lady climbing Mount Tammany Trail.
No mercy – red dot hiking trail at Mount Tammany.

Is Mount Tammany hike suitable for children?

Yes, it is. Actually, I think most children would love it since the trail is a great natural playground with lots of climbing involved. Some areas may require teamwork, good for family bonding. I am sure kids would enjoy seeing their parents crawling!

When you exit the woods, do not let children run in front of you. Not extremely dangerous, but some areas are open to the cliff without protection.

Lady taking a break at Mount Tammany hiking trail.
My friend, Olga, taking a break at Mount Tammany hiking trail. She likes climbing like any child would!

Are dogs allowed on Mount Tammany trail?

Yes, dogs are allowed. I met many well-behaving dogs there. They, too, seem to like the hike. Small dogs may not be able to climb big boulders, so you will need to carry them in places.

What to bring?

Good hiking footwear is a must. Walking sticks will be helpful too. Bring layers of clothing, you will be sweating climbing up and then cooling off going down. Also, it could get very windy at the top of the mountain. As usual, plenty of water is needed but bring food too.

The hike is rather difficult, I recommend frequent breaks. Have lunch at the top, with stunning views all around you. And of course, bring your camera!

Mount Tammany trail that looks like a pile of rocks.
Red dot hiking trail at Mount Tammany.

Mount Tammany trail in Delaware Water Gap Recreational Area, New Jersey

Mount Tammany is 1,526 feet (465 m) tall and forms the east side of the Delaware Water Gap. I recommend climbing up the red dot trail and going down on the blue dot trail.

Tammany Trailhead

Look for Dunnfield parking area off I-80 (N40 58.291 W75 07.531). Take Interstate Route 80 west towards the Delaware Water Gap. Immediately beyond milepost 1, take the exit for Dunnfield Creek/Appalachian Trail and bear left at the fork. Continue past the underpass to the left and turn right into a parking area at signs with “P” and hiker symbols.

If you miss the exit from Route 80, take Exit 1, turn left at the end of the ramp, and continue on the service road parallel to Route 80 past the visitor center. Turn left at the underpass, go under Route 80, turn left again, and turn right at signs with “P” and “hiker” symbols.

Exposed tree roots at Mount Tammany hiking trail, Delaware Water Gap.
Mount Tammany – exposed tree roots.

Mount Tammany hike description

Near the entrance to the parking area, you will see a sign for the Tammany Trail (also known as the Red Dot Trail). You will be taking this red-on-white-blazed trail all the way up Mount Tammany. The return trail, blue dot, is not steep but still rocky in places.

Colorful forest at Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area.
Colors of the fall at Mount Tammany.
Red dot trail to climb Mount Tammany

If you take the red dot route up, you will be entertained with a variety of features – small rocks, big rocks, boulders, slabs of flat rocks, and tree roots of all shapes and sizes. In places, there is no dirt on the ground, just a solid rock or a pile of rocks.

A few areas need to be negotiated in a crawling position. Without the red dots marking the trail, you cannot guess where the path is going. Take your time, the trail rises 1200 feet in 1.5 miles!

Looking for the best hike in New Jersey? Then head straight to Mount Tammany in Delaware Water Gap on the border with Pennsylvania - nature at its best! #mounttammany #besthikinginnewjersey

Towards the summit, the terrain becomes more gentle and you will finally reach the first overview, an awesome award for your hard work! The Delaware River framed with the dense forest shines beneath. On a clear day, you can see for miles toward New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The next vista, at the summit of Mt. Tammany, delivers even more dramatic scenery. I suggest taking your lunch break there, at a small rocky area that goes out toward the valley below and provides a perfect setting to enjoy the view.

Mount Tammany - blue dot hiking trail with red leaves.
Red leaves dressing up Mount Tammany hiking trail.
Blue dot trail going down Mount Tammany

Blue dot trail is a relaxing stroll compared to the climb up. Look around and take in the air and beauty of the woods. Fall in this area is spectacular. At the end of the trail, you will be walking parallelly to Dunnfield Creek, designated a Wild Trout Stream.

The trail follows the stream through a mature hemlock and mixed hardwood ravine. Numerous small cascades are seen along the creek.

Red bushes at Mount Tammany in Delaware Water Gap.
Vibrant red bushes at Mount Tammany blue dot trail.

How to reward yourself after Mount Tammany hike?

I suggest to take a short drive to Pennsylvania and go straight to Barley Creek Brewing Company for a meal and excellent beer craft-brewed right on site. On weekends at dinner time, the place can get crowded.

No reservation is available, but you can kill your time (and thirst!) at the bar while waiting for your table. It is a fun place for kids too, always seasonally decorated, with Halloween being the most elaborated. An outside setting is available in the summer months.

Food at Barley Creek Brewery, Pennsylvania.
Well deserved meal at Barley Creek Brewery after climbing Mount Tammany.

For more hiking ideas, check these articles:

Utah – the Best State of Nature Lovers 

How to Hike the Wave Coyote Buttes Arizona 

10 Top Reasons to Visit Iceland 

11 Things to Know Before you Climb Mount Washington in New Hampshire