Great Falls of the Passaic

August 2010

State: New Jersey

Location: Paterson

Height: 50'

Crest: 70'+ ( varies )

Water Source: Passaic River

Waypoint: 40.91639N 74.1825W

Summary: A large, interesting urban waterfall. The combination of height and volume make this one of the bigger waterfalls in this part of the country.

The Great Falls of the Passaic is located in Paterson New Jersey. Here the Passaic River spills into a fissure. This is an urban waterfall. You have to drive through some crowded city streets to get to it. It is also a working waterfall. A small dam is located above the falls, and some of the water is diverted for power generation. Two bridges span the gorge. One carries water pipes, and the other is a pedestrian bridge.

The gorge runs perpendicular to the river, and is narrower than the falls are high at its farthest end. This limits the available views of the falls. The best view is from the bridge. You cannot see the full falls from the opposite side due to the gorge's depth and narrowness.

The Passaic is a good sized river and the falls are guaranteed to have water. These pictures were taken in a dry August, and the waterfall was broken up into three distinct segments. When the river is very high, the falls becomes a single wall of water.

Great Falls is a historic site. Alexander Hamilton selected the site to be a "national manufactory" with the waterfall as the power source. A statue commemorating Hamilton is located by the falls. There are plans to make the area a State Park, and a National Historic Site.

The falls are close to I-80 and State Route 19. There is parking at Overlook Park on McBride Avenue. You can see the falls from there, but for a better view you need walk up the street, cross the river, and walk across the pedestrian bridge over the gorge.

Google maps has a nice aerial shot of the falls.

Other Websites

Photo Gallery

View from Opposite side of gorge


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Last Modified: Sunday, 07-May-2017 12:58:47 MDT.

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