Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania

A Group Outing to Ricketts Glen State Park

Leading fellow workers into the woods for after work hikes, we decided to do something special during a spring weekend. It was decided to do a group outing to Ricketts Glen State Park to hike the Falls Trail. Lake Jean was just starting to be drained and hopes were high that there would be good water flow over the falls in Ganoga Glen. On a sunny May weekend, myself and eleven coworkers headed off to see the waterfalls at Ricketts Glen.

Trailhead: N 41° 19.80'
W 76° 17.44'
Total Elevation: 1776'
Trail Length: 4.2 miles
Hike Time: 2 hours
Hike Type: Loop
Difficulty Rating: 77
Near: Ricketts Glen State Park

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The Falls Trail Loop is a 3.5 mile loop that showcases 18 of the 22 named falls. We headed south of Waters Meet and viewed two additional waterfalls. The water was flowing swiftly through Ganoga Glen thanks to the draining of Lake Jean that just started a week prior. The water flow through Glen Leigh was more typical for spring time.

The trailhead for this hike of the Falls Trail at the Lake Rose Trailhead. Ricketts Glen State Park is located about 30 miles north of Bloomsburg on route PA487. The section of route PA487 from the town of Red Rock to the Lake Jean area of the park is a very steep road. Slow moving trucks are common on this section of the road. Once you reach the entrance to the park, you will drive 0.4 miles on the park road, crossing over the breast of the dam that forms Lake Jean. At 0.4 miles you will come to an intersection at which you want to turn right. This road quickly turns to dirt, and after another 0.4 miles you will find yourself at the parking area of the Lake Rose Trailhead.

This was my third time visiting the falls at Ricketts Glen State Park. For a number of my fellow coworkers, this was their first trip to see the falls. I informed them that after this hike, our after work hikes were going to be a bit anti-climatic. How can you top a day hike where you get to see twenty waterfalls?

From the trailhead we hiked along a well groomed path through a stand of hemlocks. Soon we came upon the intersection with the Highland Trail. Turning right here, our group started our descent towards the first of the falls.

At 0.35 miles we crossed Kitchen Creek as it flows away from Lake Jean. We got our first glimpse at how high and fast the water would be running through Ganoga Glen. One thing you'll notice when hiking the Falls Trail is the constant roar of the waterfalls. If you want to have a conversation or discussion with a fellow hiker, this trail is not the one to do it on.

From the first waterfall to Waters Meet, we passed ten named waterfalls. In order of our hike as we descended through Ganoga Glen, the falls we passed included; Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Ganoga, Seneca, Delaware, Mohican, Conestoga, Tuscarora, and Erie. At 1.35 miles we came to Waters Meet. This is where the two stream from Ganoga Glen and Glen Leigh meet to form Kitchen Creek. There is a bridge where you follow the trail's ascent up Glen Leigh. Before heading up Glen Leigh we continued south for a short distance to view the Harrison Wright and Sheldon Reynolds Falls.

The hike up Glen Leigh is shorter, only being 0.9 miles in length, and not quite as steep as the descent down Ganoga Glen. Within this glen there were 8 named waterfalls. The waterfalls that we passed on this section of the hike include: Wyandot, B. Reynolds, R.B. Ricketts, Ozone, Huron, Shawnee, F.L. Ricketts, and Onondaga.

Once we reached the top of Glen Leigh, we followed the Highland Trail back to the trailhead. A little over halfway along this trail we passed by an interesting rock formation called the Midway Crevasse. Soon we were back at the trailhead, completing the circuit hike on the Falls Trail.

Everyone enjoyed the hike at Ricketts Glen, including those that had previously hiked here. After the hike we headed over to the picnic area and had a post-hike cook out. The consensus amongst everyone the did this hike was that we come back next year to do the hike again. Perhaps this is the start of a new hiking tradition.

Our group of hikers starts their descent into Ganoga Glen.

Water flowing swiftly over Oneida Falls.

At 94 feet tall, the Ganoga Falls are the tallest at Ricketts Glen.

Heading past Waters Meet to see additional waterfalls before heading up Glen Leigh.

The Sheldon Reynolds fall located below Waters Meet.

The Ozone Falls are the largest in Glen Leigh.

Standing along the Shawnee Falls is a great place to cool off during your hike.

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