Great Falls

In the midst of a struggling urban center, you can witness nature at its powerful and beautiful best at the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park.

Visitors can observe the majestic tumble of water—an estimated 2 billion gallons daily—and the 77-foot drop from several vantage points, including a footbridge that spans the Falls, offering a bird’s-eye view.

In the late 1700s, this awe-inspiring rush of water led Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton to implement a mill system that harnessed the energy of the Falls and turned Paterson into an early manufacturing center. Over the years, Paterson’s factories churned out a range of products, including silk (hence the nickname Silk City), aircraft engines, and firearms.

With the passing of Paterson’s industrial heyday, the city became better known for crime and poverty, and its natural wonder—the Great Falls—was largely overlooked. Then in March, President Obama signed a bill declaring the Falls a national historic park. The designation will make the area eligible for much-needed redevelopment funds. Planned projects include an amphitheater and public plaza. For now, the Falls are the star of the show.

Information about the Falls is available from the Paterson Cultural Center, 65 McBride Avenue Extension, 973-279-9587.

Click on the links below to read our Fall Day Trips stories:

Take A Hike: Aching feet and burning quads are a small price to pay for a trek on New Jersey’s Appalachian Trail.

Shudder And Quake: From fright fests to haunted hayrides, ghostly attraction abound in NJ.

Patriots Chilled: Tour the grounds where Washington’s (shivering) army slept.

Where The Wizard Worked: Editson’s West Orange lab reopens its doors after a five-year restoration.

Rise To The Challenge: Tour New Jersey’s Historic Lighthouses.

Forging Ties: Batsto Village in Burlington County is a many-layerd Jersey pleasure.

Break Out Your Bonnets: From tea dances to murder myster dinners, Cape May’s Victorian Week will put you in a gingerbread frame of mind.

Happy Harvests: In October, the Garden State’s food and wine festivals invite you to put your month where your mouth is.

Golden Golf: Don’t even think about putting away your clubs this month, New Jersey courses beckon.

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