Visit: The Great Falls {Paterson, New Jersey}

by Cate on June 13, 2017

An amazing waterfall just twenty minutes from our home, let’s check out The Great Falls in Paterson.

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Truth be told, we love a good waterfall, and The Great Falls in Paterson has been on my “must visit” list FOREVER. At least five years. I kind of kept putting it up because it’s not in an especially nice area, and I didn’t want to visit alone.

And then I kind of felt like … YOLO. Let’s go. I’ll just be aware of my surroundings, go in the daytime, of course, and not worry about it.

And I’m glad I did.

The waterfall itself is a quaint beautifully landscaped park setting (and is a National Historic Park), but the town of Paterson has seen better days. I think the area is perfectly fine to visit, and I’m sorry I let others dissuade me (although I probably would go with other adults if I was downtown at night).

So let’s get to the star … isn’t it a beaut?

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At 77 feet tall, it’s one of the tallest waterfalls in the United States, and you can see the rushing falls from a few different locations, including an observation deck. The falls were formed at the end of the last Ice Age, approximately 13,000 years ago! Alexander Hamilton, one of President George Washington’s chief staff aides, visited the Falls in the 1700s, and a few years ago, Caroline Manzo from The Real Housewives of New Jersey even filmed a scene here. The Falls were also featured twice on the HBO hit, The Sopranos, when the actors threw drug dealers over the bridge. The beautiful bridge crosses the chasm, and it is actually the eighth bridge that has spanned the chasm, but it is currently closed. I’m hoping they reopen it soon because it would make from an amazing view. The town of Paterson itself has a very rich history of immigrants starting new lives there, and the town being filled with mills and factories. Paterson is reported to be America’s first planned industrial city, a city which was actually built around the Falls in 1791.

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If you want to see the Falls in action, there are some wonderful videos here.

The Great Falls of Paterson
72 McBride Avenue
Paterson, NJ 07501

Hungry for more to see in New Jersey?
You can visit Thomas Edison’s estate, museum, and laboratory for a rich step back into his life and mind.
Head for the Jersey shore and Jenkinson’s Aquarium. It’s small, but packed with many sea creatures and knowledgeable and friendly staff.
If you have an avid rock collector or history buff in your family, visit the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. Because of the cool temps inside the mine, it’s perfect for a hot day.
Brookhollow’s Barnyard might have been the cutest farm we’ve visited so far.
The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms is a great step back in time.
You can check out my dedicated Pinterest board right here.

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