Hike the Falls Trails in Ricketts Glen State Park
Pennsylvania › Evergreen Parking Lot
Added by Shannon Kalahan
This hike through Ricketts Glen provides access to 21 waterfalls, the tallest one being 94 feet. The full waterfall loop is 7.2 miles, but there is an alternative, shorter loop of 3.2 miles.
Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania sprawls over 13,050 acres in the Luzerne, Sullivan and Columbia counties. The park boasts a lake, 21 named waterfalls, diverse wildlife and old growth timber. There are two Falls Trails alternatives – a long and short loop.
The long loop is 7.2 miles long and begins of Highway 118, below the glens. For the long trail, park at the Evergreen Parking Area.
The short trail begins closer to the visitors center, off of route PA-487. Once you enter the park, follow the signs for the Lake Rose Trailhead, where you will find parking. The short loop trail is 3.2 miles long, and includes 18 of the park's 21 waterfalls, including the park's big attraction, a 94-footer named Ganoga Falls.
Whether you choose the long or short variations, both trails are considered difficult. The terrain varies. Many sections through the woods are flat, crossing over the water a few times. Other sections, however, are rocky, steep and often slippery. Decent physical conditioning and sturdy footwear is a must.
Although Ricketts has a wide variety of activities, the main attraction by far is the Falls Trails. The falls are stacked consistently along the trail, making it an extremely worthwhile hike. While sections can be a bit strenuous, I always take my time to enjoy the falls on my trips through the park. The full 7.2 mile loop can be done in 4 hours or so...but in my opinion...why rush? I hike to enjoy the beauty of nature, so I give myself plenty of time.
As a word of caution, the trails are very well marked but the forests in the northeast get dark quickly once the sun starts to set. Know your daylight hours and plan accordingly. There is also limited cell phone reception, so stay to the trails to avoid getting lost and to help keep erosion in check. It never hurts to carry an emergency whistle and flashlight in your day pack, just in case.
If you want to camp at Glen Ricketts, make your reservation here.
- Appropriate hiking shoes and clothes
- In the winter, the Falls Trail is only open to ice climbers and properly equipped hikers
- A camera and tripod
- Snacks and water, as there are no facilities on the trail
- Hiking poles will help with steep sections
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Camping, Chillin, Hiking, Photography, Snowshoeing
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ReviewsLeave a Review
I've hiked this trail about five times now, it's absolutely breathtaking. For anyone who hasn't gone yet or is looking to go back, I recommend parking at the lake rose parking lot, not far from the camping area in the park. From there take the highland trail across to the opposite side of the falls trail. This way you won't be tired on the way down the mountain and you'll see Ganoga towards the end of your trip
Such a cool place to hike, with my camera and tripod I could spend days there! Thankfully I don't live far so I'll be headed back with much more time and will alternate the way I go around the loop. My only regret is that it took me so long to make my first visit. I would love to visit in the winter, who wants to teach me to ice climb?
Great write up with good detail. My favorite part of this article were the photos. As an amateur photographer, I would make up my mind to do this hike one the photos alone. Nice work!
Don't Forget Adams Falls
Beautiful park & the falls trail loop is a must. Definitely get there early to avoid the crowds. As a photographer you could use a full day plus shooting the named falls as well as many other spots throughout the trail. Also, don't forget to check out Adams Falls, it's on the south end on the opposite side of route 118. One of my favorite falls & the easiest to get to.
Your mileage may vary....
I went with a group of photographers in a couple cars. We parked one car at the bottom of the trail and drove the other to the top to start the hike. That way we only had to hike one direction instead of hiking back to our starting point and doubling our mileage.
All the Falls
Great hike for see waterfall after waterfall. Definitely worth doing the full loop. Usually a good amount of ppl on the trail, so getting a shot of some falls without ppl in it can b a challenge.
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