Sunday, September 19, 2010

Delaware Water Gap NRA, PA - McDade Recreational Trail from Milford Beach to Conashaugh

McDade Trail - National Park Service
History of the McDade Trail - Milford Beach to Pitman Orchard
Update:  Where there were two sections of the McDade Trail completed previously, all sections are now complete and connected and will be dedicated on September 25, 2010.  See article here.

TRAIL MAPS:  McDade Recreational Trail - National Park Service

DIRECTIONS:  Parking is available at the beginning of the trail at Milford Beach but this is a fee area as there are beach facilities and boat launches.  There are multiple free parking areas/pullouts along Route 209.  For this hike the parking lot on the east side of Route 209 north of mile post 18 was used.
GPS coordinates:   41.297348,-74.823503

McDade Trail from Pitman Orchard north to Milford Beach out and back - 5 miles
McDade Trail from Pitman Orchard south to Conashaugh out and back - 4.2 miles

McDade Trail from Pitman Orchard North to Milford Beach
Take the short connector trail from the parking lot to the McDade trail.  Turn left and follow the trail through open fields.  There will be no shade for the first mile and even on a cool day, it gets hot in full sunshine.
To the left, the cliffs of the Cliff Park Trail System
On the right, an old silo, the only farm building to survive a fire in 1950.
At 1.0 mile start entering the woods where there will be minor elevation changes.

At 1.9 miles go under the Route 206 bridge which crosses over the Delaware River from New Jersey to Pennsylvania:

At 2.5 miles arrive at the Milford Beach parking lot where there is a restroom a short distance ahead.

The Route 206 bridge from the Milford Beach parking area.
From this point turn around and retrace back to where you parked.  Although this part of the trail was interesting in that it went through diverse landscape and I could see the cliffs where we had just hiked earlier from down below, I was disappointed that there were no river views.  The trail surface is gravel and is more of a bike trail.  So when I arrived back at the parking lot, I decided to continue farther south so see if any of the trail had been completed that had been shown on the map as under construction.

McDade Trail from Pitman Orchard South to Conashaugh
From the parking lot take the access trail to the McDade Trail and turn right.  At 0.4 miles cross a bridge over a creek.
Newer section of gravel trail before second bridge.
Cross over a second bridge and soon the gravel trail turns to a dirt foot path heading towards the river.  From this point on there will be many nice views of the river while the trail goes up and down and twists and turns to conform to the landscape.
I ran into a forest ranger working on this part of the trail.  He was doing some finishing touches before the dedication the following Saturday.  He was thrilled that people had already been using his trail.  He said he tried to build it to take advantage of the views and that he did.  It's a really nice trail and enjoyable to hike.  Lots of traffic noise from Route 209 but the views are so nice you can almost ignore the traffic sounds.

At 2.1 miles the foot trail comes to the Conashaugh parking lot on Route 209 where the trail continues along the road as the gravel trail it was previously.  This was the point where I turned around and headed back north on the foot trail.

These sections of the McDade Trail can be hiked in conjunction with the Cliff Park Trails, hike details here.  It is a very short drive but there are no trails connecting to two so you do have to drive from one to the other.


  1. Saw the completed trail on a drive to Stroudsburg. Love that you did it and plan on doing it myself. As soon as hunting season is over. :-\

  2. Hi there! My family is down here visiting from NH, looking for some great day hikes- this looks perfect! So glad your blog popped up in my search! :)