Ricketts Glen State Park near Bloomsburg offers hiking trails from easy to moderately difficult, and 22 named waterfalls in the Park’s Glens Natural Area. Called one of the most scenic areas in Pennsylvania, the Park is located just 25 miles north of the Inn, Farmhouse, and Brewing Co. at Turkey Hill. It is a National Natural Landmark, with waterfalls varying in height from 11 feet to the highest, 94-foot Ganoga Falls.
Visitors can enjoy 26 miles of hiking trails that vary in difficulty, old growth forests that were preserved from logging by the steep terrain, and wildlife. It’s known as a great birding location and is part of the Audubon Susquehanna River Birding and Wildlife Trail. In addition to scenic hikes and bird watching, activities available in the Park include picnicking, swimming, boating, and fishing. A downloadable Recreation Guide provides general information about the Park and its history. The Park’s website includes more detailed information, maps of the Park and of the Glens Natural Area, trail conditions, etc. The map of the Glen Natural Area indicates the names and heights of each waterfall.
Of the Top 10 Activities to Do at Ricketts Glen State Park,
Hiking the Falls Trail System as #1.
According to AllTrails.com, many hikers consider it
one of the best hikes in all of Pennsylvania and
the single best waterfall hike in the eastern United States!
The full loop of the Falls Trail System passes through both Ganoga Glen and Glen Leigh, with views of 21 waterfalls ranging in heights from 11 feet to Ganoga’s 94 feet. Together, both the upper and lower sections of the trail, are 7.2 miles long. The Pennsylvania DCNR website rates these popular trails as the most difficult hiking in the Park; AllTrails rates them as moderate in difficulty. Both websites note that the terrain is rocky and often steep. Websites state that hikers should be in good physical condition, wear sturdy footwear, and take extra caution on the trail, especially near waterfalls where the trail can be wet and slippery.
AllTrails describes four different trail routes with different distances and access points on the Falls Trail System. All are designated as moderate in difficulty:
- Ricketts Glen Falls, rated #1 among the trails in the Park, is a 3.3 mile loop that passes 17 of the waterfalls. Beginning at the Lake Rose trailhead of the Falls Trails System, it follows along Ganoga Glen and Glen Leigh sides of the trail, the returns via the Highland Trail to the trailhead.
- The Ricketts Glen Falls Loop, the longest at 6.6 miles, is rated #2. It begins at the southern end of the Falls Trail, completes the Glen Leigh to Highlands Trail to Genoga Glen loop, then and returns south along the Falls Trail to its starting point. It includes all 21 waterfalls. AllTrails includes a detailed description of the Ricketts Glen Falls Loop.
- The 4.0 mile Falls Trail Loop adds just the portion of the southern Falls Trail System that passes the additional waterfalls to the Ricketts Glen Falls Trail. AllTrails rates it #5 of the Parks’ trails.
- Finally, the 4.7 mile Falls Trail to Highland Trail to Cherry Run Trail Loop, rated #4, begins near Lake Jean rather than Lake Rose, then follows the Ricketts Glen Falls route.
The Falls Trail system now is fully open for the 2019 season. In addition to the Falls Trails, the Park offers easier and shorter hikes, picnic areas, plus swimming, boating, and fishing at Lake Jean. Spring is here and summer is on its way, so it’s time to reserve your next stay at the Inn and look forward to a day in “one of the most scenic areas in Pennsylvania”!
Ricketts Glen State Park
Days & Hours for day use: Ricketts Glen State Park is open daily from sunrise to dusk.
Parking: There are three parking lots that provide access to the Falls Trail System. Lake Rose parking lot offers the closest access (5-10 minutes), the Beach Parking Lot #2 (15-20 minutes), and parking lots on PA 118.
Additional information and resources:
Guidelines for a safe and enjoyable hiking experience
Hiker’s Guide to the Trees, Shrubs, and Vines of Ricketts Glen State Park
Geology- Ricketts Glen State Park Guide: The Rocks, The Glens, and The Falls
Wikipedia has detailed information about the Park’s recreational activities, history, geology, climate, and ecology, including descriptions of both mammals and birds found there.