This easy hike takes you to Bowman’s Tower, through Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, and then ends at historic soldier graves from 1776 at Washington Crossing State Park. It’s a great hike with tons to see in a short distance.
Shortly after the beginning of the hike, you’ll arrive at the iconic Bowmans Tower. It’s 125 high, and on a clear day you can see 14 miles around the Delaware River valley. The tower was built in 1930 to mark a spot where General Washington had a lookout. It’s generally open from 10am-4pm every day, but call the park to double check.
From there, you’ll hike through Bowmans Hill Wildflower Preserve. The Preserve has over 800 varieties of wildflowers and some scenic trails and visitor’s center. There’s a small fee that you pay when you get to the visitor’s center.
The last part of the hike goes through Washington Crossing State Park’s upper region. Highlights include a visit to solider’s graves, many of which date to 1776 when Washington crossed the Delaware, and the Thompson-Neely House and farm, which served as a hospital for wounded soldiers in 1776 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Getting to the Washington Crossing State Park Hike
Before we start, just know that there are two Washington Crossing State Parks, one in NJ and one in PA. And the one in Pennsylvania has multiple sites that are miles away from each other. So don’t just put Washington Crossing State Park into your GPS; you might end up in a number of places.
The parking lot outlined in these directions is free. If it’s full, you can go just north on River Road and either park in the lots at Washington Crossing State Park or Bowmans Hill Wildflower Preserve. Both have fees. The hike goes through both these areas, so you can either walk to the start, or just pick the hike up from the spot where you are.
There are bathrooms at the midway point in the Bowmans Hill Wildflower Preserve visitor’s center.
Gear for the Hike
You don’t need any special hiking gear for this adventure, you can probably get away with fitness clothes and good footwear if you had to. If you do have sturdier gear, it’s worth using it. I’d also recommend long pants; you need to keep an eye open for poison ivy.
Joby tripods attach to anything. The legs are adjustable and grippy, so you can put them on trees, packs, rocks, whatever. And they work like regular tripods too. Works with everything from smartphones to DSLRs.
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This thing does everything: maps, GPX tracks, compass, barometer, altitude, heart rate, blood oxygen, fitness tracking, sleep tracking, and the list goes on. I keep a GPX route on the watch so I can quickly glance down and make sure I’m in the right place.
I load a few types of offline maps onto my smartphone when I need to interact with the map in detail. I also use it before my hikes as a planning tool for all kinds of things, including finding free government land to camp on. The benefits are many, I highly recommend it.
Don’t be caught out if your batteries die. Take a topo map with you on the trail and learn how to read it. Some people also print my guides out for use on the hike. I’m a map geek and I love to pour over maps and guide books when planning my next adventure.
This is a seasonal hike and the directions can look a bit different depending on the time of year.
Once you’re in Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, you have some options. Below is the route I recommend, but you can really choose your own if there’s something specific that you want to see. Just make sure you end up at the exit on the map below to continue the hike. The trails are all pretty well marked and the area is small, so it’s hard to get lost on this hike.
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.
If you see trash on the trail, please pick it up and carry it out. Be a good egg and practice no trace principles.