Pinchot Falls

Pinchot Falls

Pinchot Falls

This summer has been quite busy for me and I find myself out in the forests and along the Delaware River more than in front of my computer…I am not complaining. I’d like to share with you a rare experience to the Pinchot Falls in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania. Due to the unique geology of the region, there are various waterfalls that add to the beauty of the landscape. Some of the falls are on public lands while others are on private property.

Pinchot Falls (originally known as Sawkill Falls) is on private land. The descendants of the Pinchot family (never heard of the Pinchot name? Read my previous blog: Sustaining the Legacy) used to have a public trail leading from Grey Towers National Historic Site to the falls. However, the trail was closed for many years and remain closed. One of the reasons why the public can no longer enjoy the falls was due to disrespectful visitors. Please, if you visit a waterfall, exercise caution. If you bring your lunch with you, take your trash back with you. There’s no such thing as garbage pick-up service at natural sites.

On July 13th, I and a few visitors were treated with the rare opportunity of visiting Pinchot Falls. The hike started at Grey Towers with a brief history of the Pinchot family, forestry in the US, and local flora. The significance of the site was that Gifford Pinchot, first US Chief Forester, would frequent the falls during the summer. He would often fish in the area. In the past, students from Yale University School of Forestry conducted field research around the area and set up camp nearby. Aside from the historical significance of the falls and the land, it’s just a beautiful place to hike and relax.

Looking for things to do this summer? Come visit me at Grey Towers National Historic Site . I’ll be conducting mansion tours on Mondays at 2pm and 4pm.

Welcome and yes, keep close watch of your children. It's a long way down.

Welcome and yes, keep close watch of your children. It’s a long way down.

Pinchot Falls (upper tier)

Pinchot Falls (upper tier)

The lucky visitors

The lucky visitors

Abandoned stone house (more like a shed)

Abandoned stone house (more like a shed)

Along the walled garden

Along the walled garden

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3 thoughts on “Pinchot Falls

  1. Dear Nalat,
    1st thanks for posting the photo of the Pinchot falls. Quite beautiful. I am a photographer/printer and an admirer of the Pinchot estate and later their ideals for many years. I live in Bergen County but have been traveling to that area since the late ’60s when my grandparents retired to a home in Lords Valley. I was out there recently on the opposite side of the Sawkill trying to photograph the falls from the other side. It was quite treacherous especially in the fog. I can understand the family’s concern with litter and it’s well within the Pinchot’s rights to protect their property. But possibly not what Gifford Pinchot would have wanted to see. Has anyone thought about creating a volunteer clean up committee? I for one would be happy to join! Please let me know your thoughts.
    Sincerely
    Tony Morella

    1. Dear Tony,
      Wow, an actual comment that isn’t spam! Sorry for the late reply, I really thought I was getting spammed.
      So, you found the “secret” trail to the Pinchot Falls! Did you also see the campsites of former forestry students? On rare occasions, the Grey Towers Heritage Association has limited tours to the falls. This year, Leila Pinchot, great-grandaughter of Gifford Pinchot, was able to convince her relatives to open the falls for one day for tours. The tours were well received and she hopes that the falls will be open for tours next year. Until then, Pinchot Falls is still closed to the public. I suggest you sign up with the Grey Towers Heritage Association e-mail list for any special tours that may not be publicized on its website: http://www.greytowers.org/
      The area around the falls are in much need of rehabilitation. After Superstorm Sandy, the trails and railings were pretty much destroyed. A lot of money will be needed to spruce up the area to make it safe for visitors. I think there are also liability issues/concerns when opening up a trail on private land, so that’s not something that the family would want to deal with (or pay for). The USFS at Grey Towers has volunteer programs which I’m sure they would love to hear from you. Please contact Lori McKean (when USFS is open again): lmckean@fs.fed.us
      Since the falls are on private property, there are family politics and monetary issues in opening the falls to the public. I don’t think that’s something you or I can solve…unless you’re a millionaire who’s willing to invest in the falls ?!

      Best wishes,
      Nalat

      1. Thanks for the response. And thanks for the links I certainly will sign up. I did pass a couple of camp sites including one with an old steel box. I can’t say I blame the family for being cautious, unfortunately we live in the land of litigation. I didn’t get very good shots of the falls from that side but I had just finished Bibi Gaston’s book and wanted to see what she described. It was phenomenally beautiful in there. Sadly there were a lot of large trees uprooted but many of the pine forest shots came out great. If you had an image upload on your site I would send them to you. Even though I was wet and sore from hiking at a 45 degree angle most of the time being in that forest was like being in a ancient cathedral. If I were a millionaire I’d gladly invest in that forest. Thanks for helping people understand what a great treasures we have in this part of the world. I’m off to Raymondskill falls this weekend!

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