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Waterfalls at Ricketts Glen State Park
I really enjoy getting out there and experiencing new things and then taking pictures and video of it so that I can share it with others. So, I've decided to start taking road trips all over to show people what's out there.
As of right now, I live in Pennsylvania so I'm going to show you my favorite place in my home state: Ricketts Glen State Park.
There are a lot of things you can do at Ricketts Glen, but I'm going to focus on what draws me and many others to the area, namely the 22 named waterfalls.
How do you get here?
First and foremost, I want to make sure that you know how to get here so that you can see it yourself.
There are a few different places you can choose to start your hike to the waterfalls, but in my opinion the best place to start is from the parking lot right off of State Route 118. This parking lot is where I will try to direct you.
In fact, the sign I'm standing next to, in the picture to the right, is what you're going to want to look for.
Click THIS LINK to open a map to the parking lot. This will show you exactly where you want to go and you can even enter your address to get directions to the state park from your house.
See the Falls in Action
Make sure to wear decent shoes.
Now you can chose to read the text below and look at the pictures first or you can "hike" the Falls Trail through the video to the right.
You need to know before you start your hike that parts of this trail can be difficult and the full loop is going to be 7.2 miles from start to finish.
You can also walk right up to the top and the base of the waterfalls, so please be careful and wear proper footwear for hiking.
To start off you're going to want to cross State Route 118, make sure to watch for traffic, so that you can get to the beginning of the Falls Trail.
Once on the trail, you'll walk 1.3 miles before you get to the first named waterfall.
That doesn't mean that there isn't a lot of good nature along the way to soak up! You'll walk on nice cleared paths, stone steps, wooden bridges and there's many smaller falls along the way.
You'll know once you're getting close to the first named fall; you'll hear the sound of falling water and probably see it in the distance.
The first named waterfall you'll come across is called Murray Reynolds Falls and is 16 feet high.
The falls split around a section of rock that almost looks like it'd be a nice place to sit. Like I said before, be careful around the falls; the rocks will be slippery.
You can walk through the water if you want to get to the base of the falls, but the top is a lot more accessible.
As you continue on the Falls Trail you'll see a taller waterfall in the distance called Sheldon Reynolds Falls. It's 36 feet tall and, as you'll notice as you get closer, the base of the falls is a lot more open and easier to access.
You can hop from rock to rock to try to get closer to the base if you like. And when you continue on the trail you'll be able to walk onto the rock ledge right to the crest of the waterfall up top.
As you continue on, the trail will open up a little more and you'll notice the 27 foot tall Harrison Wright Falls coming into view.
You can walk right out into a pool of water at the base of the falls if you want to get an up-close view.
I like how on the left it catches a second rock ledge before reaching the bottom.
About a half a mile past the first named waterfall (Murray Reynolds) you'll come to what they call Waters Meet. This is where the trail is going to divide and is a great spot to take a break or eat a quick snack while you look at the map provided beside the trail.
You have two paths to choose from; both of which have waterfalls. If you go over the bridge to the right (Glen Leigh side) you'll be heading towards 8 named waterfalls. Or, if you stay to the left (Ganoga Glen side), you'll be heading towards 10 named waterfalls and the tallest waterfall at Ricketts Glen (Ganoga).
Don't worry though, both trails are linked by way of the Highland Trail; so you won't have to backtrack to see all the waterfalls. We decided to stay left and take the Ganoga Glen side of the trail towards the tallest waterfall before we hiked the Highland Trail to the other path.
The next waterfall you'll see along the trail is Erie Falls. The water crashes down 47 feet over many different rock ledges. Keep walking and you'll be able to look down the falls from the top.
As you continue on the Falls Trail you'll come to my favorite of all the falls; Tuscarora Falls. The water falls a total of 47 feet as it's divided in two by a rock at the bottom.
It's really beautiful to me how it splits and there's small drips of water on the sides.
You can walk right up to the rocky base of the falls if you want to.
The next waterfall you'll see along the trail is Conestoga Falls.
The water slightly changes its direction as it rolls down 17 feet of rock.
As you continue towards the tallest waterfall on the trail you'll pass three more named falls:
- Mohican Falls (39 Feet)
- Delaware Falls (37 feet)
- Seneca Falls (12 feet)
For some reason I didn't take a picture of any of these three waterfalls.
You can still see Mohican Falls and Delaware Falls in the video above though.
There are also some nice unnamed waterfalls along the way, as you'll see to the right and in the video above.
Continuing on the Falls Trail you'll finally come to the tallest waterfall at Ricketts Glen: Ganoga Falls.
And believe me, it's worth the wait!
You really don't appreciate the size of Ganoga Falls until you walk right up to it and stand below the 94 foot high waterfall.
You can check out the falls from 3 places:
- You can walk up to the base of it.
- You can continue on the trail and walk off on a side path to the middle of the falls.
- Or you can go even farther on the trail, walk up the the crest of the waterfall and look down to see how high up you are.
Oddly enough, after you see the tallest waterfall in the park, you'll come to the smallest named waterfall: Cayuga Falls.
Cayuga Falls is only 11 feet high but it's still a nice set of falls. I say set because it seems like it's two waterfalls side by side because of the rock blocking the water from falling through the middle.
As you're walking down the trail you'll see a waterfall set back behind some small trees.
What you're looking at is Oneida Falls.
It's 13 feet high and has such a cool little nook you can walk into to see it.
It's a really chill spot.
As you're coming close to the end of this section of the Falls Trail, you'll come across Mohawk Falls.
It's off to the side of the trail and it's a bit grown in so it's harder for you to go stand at the base or up at the crest of the waterfall, but it's still nice to look at.
The water falls 37 feet as it's hidden slightly by the plant life around it.
Now you're going to be able to give your legs a rest from all the ups and downs and take the 1.2 mile long Highland Trail so that you can connect to the other branch of the Falls Trail.
As you reach a fork in the path, you'll want to take a right towards the Highland Trail (left leads you to the Lake Rose parking lot).
This trail is A LOT easier to hike; it's flatter, open and there's not as many people on it.
Halfway through the Highland Trail you're going to come across a pile of big rocks called the Midway Crevasse.
They call it that because the trail continues through a crevasse between these rocks.
It's a pretty cool natural marker to let you know you're halfway there.
Although this isn't a long trail, you might find yourself tempted to take the shortcut to F.L. Ricketts.
Don't take the shortcut unless you want to miss Onondaga Falls!
Once you come to the end of the trail you'll be on the Glen Leigh side of the Falls Trail and Onondaga Falls will be right there waiting for you.
Now that you're coming back the opposite way on the trail, you'll get to see each waterfall from the crest first and then walk down to the bottom of it.
Onondaga Falls is only 15 feet high but that doesn't make it any less appealing.
If you want to check out F.L. Ricketts Falls from the crest of the waterfall you'll have to wander over to it before you cross one of the many wooden bridges along the trail.
There's a rock you can step out onto to get a nice view.
F.L. Ricketts Falls is 38 feet tall and the rock shelves it pours down over make it look like a set of natural steps.
The next waterfall you'll come to is Shawnee Falls, it's 30 feet high.
There was a lot of fallen timber around it when I was there but the one log leaning against to waterfall seemed to be a nice touch if you ask me.
I like how the waterfall spreads out and then there's a tall rock wall to the side, with plants scattered across it, that was dripping water.
I'm not sure why, but I didn't take a picture of the next waterfall on the trail: Huron Falls. It's a 41 foot waterfall, so you'd think it'd be hard to miss. Don't worry though, I'm pretty sure I recorded parts of it in the video above.
The next waterfall you'll come to is the 60 foot high Ozone Falls.
Although you can't see it very clearly in the picture to the right, the main part of the waterfall is shown in better detail in the video above.
Next on the trail is the 36 foot high R.B. Ricketts Falls. Be careful when checking these waterfalls out from the crest; the rocks are slippery.
I slipped and knocked my video camera against a rock at the top of this waterfall. Luckily it was strapped to my wrist.
I like how there's a waterfall off to the side that falls into the same pool as R.B. Ricketts Falls.
Then you'll come to the 40 foot high B. Reynolds Falls.
I'm sure it's a common question, but I really have no clue if it's named after Burt Reynolds, haha.
It's a really nice waterfall though and you can see it from many angles.
You can get a really good view of it from the wooden bridge below it.
The next and last named waterfall you'll come to on this section of the Falls Trail is the 15 foot high Wyandot Falls. It's small but it's a really chill spot.
Now you're all the way back at Waters Meet and can take a rest if you like before you start heading back to the parking lot.
You've got a 1.8 mile walk back to Route 118, but don't worry it'll be a lot easier going downhill.
Once you get back to the parking lot you'll probably be tired and ready to drive home, but don't leave yet! Don't make the same mistake I did and forget to check out Adams Falls; it's literally right below the parking lot. The water goes under Route 118 and then right beside the parking lot to a waterfall you don't want to miss!
Tuscarora Falls is definitely the most visually appealing waterfall to me, but on terms of location Adams Falls is number one.
It really is an amazing spot and I ended up completely skipping it the first time I was here! I came back on a second trip JUST to check out this waterfall.
It starts out as a still deep pool up top and then gradually starts to swirl and fall down 36 feet of rock. You can climb all over the rocks here and check out the waterfall from different levels.
It then empties into a nice deep pool of water at the bottom with a tiny thread of a waterfall to the side helping to add a few drops.
If you want to check out the bottom of the falls as it is pictured to the right, you'll have to walk down the trail, cross a bridge and then walk back towards Adams Falls.
Now, if you must, you can walk back to your car and drive home! Believe me, it's worth seeing every single one of the named waterfalls and everything in between.
You'll be glad you made the trip.
Been here before?
What's your favorite waterfall at Ricketts Glen?
What else is there to do at Ricketts Glen State Park?
There are plenty of other things you can do at Ricketts Glen State Park other than checking out the waterfalls.
For starters there are 10 other trails you can hike other than the Falls Trail; ranging from an 8th of a mile to 4.6 miles. You can even go horseback riding on a 9 mile loop.
In fact, if you walked down the trail to check out the base of Adams Falls then you probably noticed the start of the Evergreen Trail as you crossed the bridge.
There are areas for you to have picnics and you can swim in Lake Jean at the 600 foot beach. There's even concession stands if you didn't bring your own food or drinks.
You can rent a boat or bring your own and go fishing in Lake Jean too.
You're even allowed to hunt in the area and there's winter activities like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing on Lake Jean, snowmobile trails, ice climbing and winter camping.
And, if you want to stay the night, there's cabins, group tent areas and places where you can pitch a tent or put a trailer. The campground even has hot showers and flush toilets!
So, if you're in the area, I definitely recommend that you come check out Ricketts Glen State Park. Even if you're not that impressed by waterfalls, there is plenty for you to do here.
Take a break from your computer and start planning your own trip to Ricketts Glen.
You really need to see these waterfalls for yourself to appreciate the park and see why it's my favorite place in Pennsylvania.