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Review of Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational Area

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Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational Area
RR 2, Box 2428, Beach Lake, PA
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Ranked #1 of 3 Attractions in Beach Lake
Type: National Parks, Bodies of Water, Outdoors
Activities: Fishing, Motor-boating
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Attraction details
Owner description: The Delaware River runs along the border between New York and Pennsylvania.
Dover, New Hampshire
Top Contributor
439 reviews 439 reviews
193 attraction reviews
Reviews in 165 cities Reviews in 165 cities
1,133 helpful votes 1,133 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2014

We’ve been here before. During a long drive heading back to New England from a trip to Baltimore for the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key’s writing of the lyrics to the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” we detoured for an overnight in Budd Lake, NJ near Allentown, PA and the Pocono Mountains. Then, we drove though all three National Park Service units for the Delaware River.

Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River is a separate National Park Service unit from the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. It encompasses areas of PA and NY north of the Delaware Water Gap NRA and Middle Delaware National Scenic River. It extends through parts of five counties along this section of the river --- Delaware, Orange, and Sullivan in New York and Pike and Wayne in Pennsylvania. The Delaware River is the longest undammed, free-flowing river in the northeastern United States.

Unlike the other two areas, this one has towns and buildings close by that seem integrated into this national park unit. A drive on Route 97 is pleasant in any season.

As the name implies, this NPS area is mostly about the river. Recreational activities include canoeing, kayaking, rafting, tubing, fishing, and eagle watching. There are also hiking trails in Pennsylvania and New York. It is also about the home of author Zane Grey and Roebling Bridge, the oldest existing wire cable suspension bridge in the United States. Both are part of this national park unit. We visited both.

Admission is free to the Zane Grey Museum at 135 Scenic Drive in Lackawaxen, PA, but donations are gladly accepted. The self-guided tour of his study and office takes about an hour if you look at and read everything. The National Park Service volunteer at the desk is nearby and can answer any questions. It was home to this prolific western author in the early years from 1914 to 1918. Like Washington Irving, Zane Grey had a place to sleep just feet behind his desk. Irving’s was subtle; it was a padded bench that could be concealed by draw drapes. Grey’s was a full-sized twin bed with no camouflage. It was interesting to learn the Zane Grey was originally a dentist in New York City. “Riders of the Purple Sage” was his most famous novel. Other books became TV series --- “The Lone Ranger” and “Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.” Many of Grey’s works were published posthumously. The volunteer said that he heard that something had been published in February 2013.

For those who participate in the Passport to Your National Parks Program, the Zane Grey Museum has the cancellation station at the front desk. There are two cancellation stamps. They read:
● Upper Delaware SRR - Beach Lake, PA
● Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River - Zane Grey Museum
The bookstore is at Zane Grey Museum.

There was a kayak rental station across the street from the Zane Grey Museum. There are several others in on the New York side at Barryville, Narrowsburg, Port Jervis, and Hancock among others.

Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct a/k/a Roebling’s Bridge connects Lackawaxen, PA to Minisink Ford and Barryville, NY. Begun in 1847 as one of four suspension aqueducts on the Delaware and Hudson Canal, it was designed by and built under the supervision of John A. Roebling, future engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Roebling's Bridge Tollhouse is on the bridge on the New York side. It contains exhibits and historic photographs. I found it interesting. It took about 15 minutes to go through. The D&H Towpath Trail provides a one-mile stroll along the 1828 towpath. The bridge has a walking path for visitors to view the scenic beauty of the Delaware River. One might see bald eagles as there are nests in this area. I walked the bridge.

It was an experience to drive over and to walk on a bridge that was over 165 years old and still solid. There’s a parking area on the Lackawaxen side where one can get a good look at the structure of the aqueduct. That's a great photo stop. There are also info boards.

There are only a few restaurants in the area on the PA and NY sides of the bridge. There are more in Barryville, NY which has a coffee shop and a diner. There are no fast food places.

We recommend a visit to the attractions in the National Park Service unit from spring through fall.

A nice tag-on for history enthusiasts is a visit to Minisink Battleground Park that commemorates the Battle at Minisink Ford on July 22, 1779. It is also commemorated on the village square in Goshen, NY, in the Lackawaxen Cemetery adjoining St. Mark's Church in Lackawaxen, PA and Fort Decker in Port Jervis, NY.

The areas around the Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct are wheelchair accessible. There were stairs at the tollhouse. There were stairs in front of the Zane Grey Museum. Both are accessible only with assistance. Call the ranger station ahead.

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Visited September 2014
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11 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Weare, New Hampshire
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“motorcycle dream”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2014

beautiful area, great riding roads,scenery is just breathtaking in spots. there's all kind of rafting & camping areas, great photography opportunities..good for families & good for everyone else too.

Visited June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waldorf, Maryland
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“River Run, pt 2”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2014

Like: Seeing Bald Eagles, hearing Nature's peace and quiet without so much human noise, and seeing plenty of live fish.
Dislike: Amateur "catch and release" anglers being sloppy. Saw too many dead fish of "keeper" size and quality.

Visited June 2014
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2 reviews
“Roebling Bridge”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2014

Must see National Park historical site. On the PA side you can also visit the Zane Grey Museum.
The drive along the Scenic Byway down RT97 is well worth it alone.

Visited December 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marietta, Georgia
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

There is a secret in the sticks. The Delaware river. Located Between the Catskills Mountains and the Pocono mountains. This river was cleaned up by the Rockefellers 40 years ago. If you like small mouth Bass fishing, you will be in heaven here. Fast moving river in some places, Skinner Falls, BE CAREFULL. Wear your life preservers at all times. You can eat whatever you catch. No pollution. You can canoe from Callicoon to Narrosburg and see Eagels , Deer, Beaver, and Fish. The river is soo clean that you can see the bottom of the river and everything in between. Can`t wait to visit again.

Visited May 2013
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