Experience General George Washington's historic crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas Night in 1776.
Washington Crossing State Park is the site of General George Washington’s historic 1776 Christmas night crossing of the icy Delaware River. For almost ten hours, boats and ferries moved continuously back and forth carrying men, horses and cannon to the Jersey side. By midnight a strong storm had developed, hurling sleet, hail and snow at the rebel army. Landing at Johnson’s Ferry, the Continental Army still faced an arduous nine mile march to Trenton as the storm continued with a vengeance. Reaching Trenton in the early morning of December 26th, the American Army surrounded, defeated and captured over 900 Hessian mercenaries and secured a morale boosting victory of immeasurable proportions.
This circa-1740, gambrel-roof farmhouse and tavern near the Delaware River was built by Garret Johnson on his 490-acre tract. James Slack operated the ferry service in 1776. In addition to using the ferry service, General Washington and other officers probably used the house at the time of the Christmas night crossing of the Delaware. The keeping room, parlor, pantry and bedchambers are furnished with local period pieces and reproductions similar to the furniture used by the Johnson and Slack families from 1740 to 1780. The site also includes an 18th-century kitchen garden. Living history demonstrations are frequently held on weekends.
Johnson Ferry House Hours: Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Washington Crossing Visitor Center Museum
The Washington Crossing Visitor Center Museum contains the Swan Historical Foundation’s collection featuring over 500 artifacts from the American Revolution. The museum has two galleries, one focusing on New Jersey’s role in the Revolution and the other discussing “The Ten Crucial Days” surrounding Washington’s Crossing and the Battles of Trenton and Princeton. The NJN produced film “The Ten Crucial Days: The Road to Liberty” can be viewed in the auditorium.
Visitor Center Museum Hours: Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Swan Historical Foundation Collection
An impressive collection of over 500 authentic Revolutionary War artifacts, on loan from The Swan Historical Foundation, Inc., is housed in the exhibit galleries of the Visitor Center Museum. This collection serves to remind visitors of the perilous struggles that men and women endured during this era.
Nature Interpretive Center
The nature interpretive center supports the longest running year-round natural history interpretive program in New Jersey’s State Park System. The building houses a collection of live and preserved wildlife specimens, nature dioramas, light board identification games, a computer learning station, nature charts, books and a live observation honey bee hive.
Nature interpretive programs are offered to schools, scouts, home school groups, camps, community groups as well as to families and individuals on a variety of natural history topics. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the nature interpretive center at 609-737-0609.
The calendar of events in Nature's grapevine (link is external) contains current programs offered throughout the Park.
Nature Center Hours: Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday Noon to 4 p.m.
Located within the park, on the same road as the nature interpretive center, the John W. H. Simpson observatory is operated by the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton, Inc. (link is external). The observatory is open Friday nights April through October from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. To find about attending a Friday night session or for more information about the association call 609-737-2575.
During the winter months, when weather conditions are favorable, cross-country skiing is permitted on the 13 miles of ungroomed trails.
The park has 13 miles of trails for hiking. Walking and jogging are very popular in the park throughout the year.
Two and a half miles of trails are available for equestrian use in the Phillips Farm day use area. The Phillips Farm parking area is designated for horse trailers. There are no horse rental facilities in the park.
Five miles of trails in the Phillips Farm day use area are available for mountain bike use.
The park offers 13 miles of trails that can be used during the winter months for snowshoeing.
There are 13 miles of moderate trails to enjoy throughout Washington Crossing State Park. These trails are not ADA accessible.
Online reservations can be made at www.camping.nj.gov (link is external).
Four group campsites are located in the Phillips Farm area of the park. Each site contains picnic tables, fire rings and a composting toilet. These are designated as primitive campsites with no water or electric utilities available on site. Total combined capacity of all four sites: 115. We highly recommend that group leaders carefully estimate their group size so not to overestimate as refunds cannot be made.
The Park has two picnic areas with tables and grills located at Knox Grove and Sullivan Grove. These facilities, which are situated in attractive settings, are ideal for family and small group picnics. The Knox Grove picnic area also includes playground equipment. Charcoal fires must be confined in metal grills provided onsite or brought in by the picnicker.
The park offers a group picnic area at Greene Grove for larger groups. It can accommodate 125 people and includes restrooms, a shelter, playfields and playground equipment. It may be reserved for a fee.
Groups of 20 or more people shall reserve picnic facilities at least five days in advance. Such group use is not permitted on holidays except as authorized by the superintendent. Reservations for picnic areas are handled by the individual park area offices.
Reservations can be made over the telephone using a credit card or by mail using the group picnic reservation form. Payment in full of the appropriate group picnicking fee must accompany the application.
The open air theater may be available for use for certain activities by submitting a special use permit application. Contact the Park Office for more information.
Fishing is permitted in the Delaware River and the Delaware and Raritan Canal subject to New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife laws (link is external). Various species of fish are found in the river including bass, shad, catfish and several different types of panfish. The Delaware and Raritan Canal is stocked with trout by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife during the spring months.
Bow hunting is permitted in designated areas on a seasonal basis through annual registration in the park’s deer management program and is subject to regulations of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. (link is external)
Trails leading from the nature interpretive center take visitors through a mature mixed oak-hardwood forest, young woodlands and successional fields. A nature blind offers quiet observation of birds, deer and other mammals. The natural area supports the spring avens, a rare woodland herb of the rose family.
Access for Persons with Disabilities
Washington Crossing State Park recreational and historic facilities are partially accessible for persons with disabilities. Please contact the Park Visitor Center at 609-737-0623 for further information regarding disability access needs. Text telephone (TTY) users, call the NJ Relay & CapTel Service at 711 or 1-800-852-7897 for English or 1-866-658-7714 for Spanish.
All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)
Recreational use of ATVs is not permitted on NJ State Park Service property. This includes state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. Thank you for your help in protecting New Jersey’s natural and historic resources. [N.J.A.C. 7:2-3.4(d)]
State law prohibits the smoking of tobacco and use of electronic smoking (vaping) devices in all state parks, forests, historic sites, recreation areas, golf courses and marinas. [N.J.P.L.2005, c.383 (C.26:3D-56)]
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in state parks, forests, recreation areas, golf courses, marinas, natural areas, historic sites, and preserves. [ N.J.A.C. 7:2-2.6 ]
Keep Your Park Clean and Green
Protect plants and animals and care for your parks by taking your trash with you. Whatever you carry into the park, plan on carrying it out too. It’s like crowdsourcing trash management! Bring a bag or two for trash, recycling and cleaning up after your pet. There are no trash receptacles in this park. Thank you!
Pets must always be on a leash no longer than six feet in length and under the control of the owner. Please clean up after your pets.
Use insect repellent, wear light-colored clothing, tuck pants into socks, stay on trails, check yourself when you get home, shower and wash clothes immediately.
Be Bear Aware
Black bears are found throughout New Jersey. Do not approach or attract bears by making food available. Feeding bears is dangerous and illegal. Never run from a bear! To report an aggressive bear, call 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337) immediately. Please report any damage or nuisance behavior to the park office. Visit the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife at www.njfishandwildlife.com for additional information on bear safety.
355 Washington Crossing-Pennington Road
Titusville, NJ 08560-1517
Gate 8 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Park Office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Entrance fees are charged per vehicle from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.