Ricketts Glen State Park is an amazing natural wonder that all residence of Pennsylvania should experience. My first visit to the glenns and falls was in May of 2007. This past June I decided that my kids should have the opportunity to experience Ricketts Glen as well.
|Trailhead:||N 41° 19.80'
W 76° 17.44'
|Trail Length:||4.2 miles|
|Hike Time:||2 hours|
|Near:||Ricketts Glen State Park|
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The Falls Trail is a 3.5 mile loop that showcases 18 of the 22 named falls. Located just south of Waters Meet are three more of the named falls. With an additional 0.7 miles added to our hike we were able to see all but one of the waterfalls hiking the Falls Trail.
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 trailhead was just recently upgraded, with a large, paved parking area. Along with a sign showing the route of the trail you will also find many warnings about the dangers of the Falls Trail. I recommend reading these warnings before starting on your hike. You will also see posted a number of local newspaper articles detailing the mishaps that other unfortunate falls visitors have suffered. It is recommended that you do this hike with proper foot attire and be extra cautious on the steeper and wetter sections of the trail.
From the trailhead we hiked along a well groomed path through a stand of hemlocks. After 0.2 miles the trail branched, with a section continuing straight and also heading off to our right. We turned to our right and began our descent towards the first of the falls.
At 0.35 miles the trail crosses a small stream and you can hear the first of the falls. One thing you'll notice when hiking the Falls Trail is the constant roar of the waterfalls. The sound, either loud or soft, is everywhere in Ganoga Glen and Glen Leigh.
From the viewing of our first falls, to our last, we came across waterfalls at regular intervals, some large and some small. The kids enjoyed exploring each of the falls, with us hiking to the base of many for pictures and to feel the cool spray of the water.
At 1.35 miles into the hike 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. However, before began to explore that section of trail, we continued south for another 0.5 miles. After viewing the three waterfalls on this section of the trail, we turned back to begin our ascent and explore the waterfalls in Glen Leigh.
The hike up Glen Leigh was a little shorter, only being 0.9 miles in length, and it did seem a bit steeper. Within this glen there were 8 named waterfalls. The trail in this glen was a little rougher than the trail in Ganoga Glen. Because of the ascent and the rougher trail, we decided to take a break near one of the falls. Here we ate a small snack of pistachios while I cooled my feet in the stream just a few feet before the water plummetted over the Huron Falls.
Once we reached the top of Glen Leigh, we followed the Highland Trail back to the trailhead. Along this trail you do pass by an interesting rock formation called the Midway Crevasse. I have seen many of these rock formations while hiking the Mid State Trail in the Tioga region, and I think this one could have been even more appealing if they would have taken the trail through the rock formation instead of walking around it.
I strongly recommend a visit to Ricketts Glen to view the falls and experience the wonders of this State Park. If you are looking for a more strenuous hikes, there are many other trails to explore in the park. The camping at the State Park makes this an adventure that most can participate in, be it a day outing or a family weekend get-a-way.
When you visit Ricketts Glen, remember to take your time and enjoy the falls. This is not a difficult hike, but care should be given on the steep and wet sections of the trails. Wear your hiking boots or trail shoes and take your time. Enjoy the falls and all that nature has to offer in this beautiful place. And don't forget your camera.