I always enjoy a good scenic overlook, especially at sunset. So, when I had a chance to swing by Irving Cliff in Honesdale, PA to enjoy the sunset, I was excited to check it out.
Irving Cliff is located on the eastern end of Honesdale in the northeastern corner of PA. Since this vista faces west, it’s a great vantage point to enjoy the sun setting over the town. That being said, this is definitely a great spot to check out at any time of the day.
The vista is located within Gibbons Memorial Park, a small parcel of land that seems to include little more than a parking area and access to the cliff. According to a marker next to the trailhead, the land was donated by Frances Haag Gibbons in memory of her husband Austin Flint Gibbons.
The land, however, has been a prominent landmark for many years. In fact, when Washington Irving, the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” visited the town in 1841, Irving was said to be so enamored with the rock that he insisted on climbing it to enjoy the view.
Later, his friend, former New York City mayor and owner of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company Philip Hone (the namesake of Honesdale), would officially name the outcropping Irving Cliff. In 1889, a four-story hotel was completed atop this spot, but it burned to the ground less than a month prior to its grand opening.
How to Get to Irving Cliff in Honesdale
Irving Cliff towers 300 feet above the borough of Honesdale, rising from the banks along the confluence of the Lackawaxen River and Dyberry Creek (home of Tanners Falls).
The parking area for Irving Cliff can be found at the end of Gibbons Park Road, a short road that is off of Cliff Street. As of the fall of 2021, this road was easily drivable in a standard car.
The parking area at the end of the road can be found at the following coordinates: 41.579178, -75.251617.
There is room for plenty of cars here, but make sure you don’t block the gate when parking.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]
Hiking to Irving Cliff
From the parking lot, look for the stone marker that sits next to a gated road. This is the start of the very short hike to the vista. Unfortunately, while this hike is not difficult, it’s not handicap accessible.
The trail leads away from the parking lot and is slightly uphill. Soon, it crests the hill and provides the first views of Honesdale and the Wayne County countryside. All told, it’s less than 100 yards from the parking area to the fence on the cliff’s edge.
There are about 300 feet of fencing along the edge of Irving Cliff, and the entire length provides fantastic views of the town below, as well as the Lackawaxen River as it runs through Honesdale. This wide area means that there is room for plenty of people to enjoy this spot.
Other than the fence, there are no real amenities up along the cliff save for two benches and a sign that tells a bit about the history of the area.
That being said, there are two very prominent features of the cliff that you can’t miss.
The first is a huge flag pole that waves an American flag visible from just about anywhere in town. In fact, if you are driving through Honesdale on Route 6, make sure to look for it if you want to know where the cliff is located.
The second is a 50-foot star that is lit during the holiday season. This star is known as the Dick Smith Winter Wonderland Star. Smith was a Honesdale native famous for writing the song “Winter Wonderland” about his childhood memories of Honesdale’s Central Park.
Even when the star is not lit, it’s still neat to see the framework when visiting this spot.
Overall, Irving Cliff is a really neat spot to visit if you find yourself exploring the northern Poconos or are simply passing through Honesdale. Not only is it easy to reach, but the view from here is quite incredible, especially at sunset.
Definitely add this to your list of outdoor spots to visit in this corner of PA.