Your Guide to Ricketts Glen State Park Trails

There are plenty of things to do in Ricketts Glen State Park, including swimming, fishing, camping, and boating. The most popular activity is hiking, so we have compiled a handy guide to Ricketts Glen State Park hiking trails. 

Ricketts Glen contains more than 13,000 acres. It is a national natural landmark, Glens Natural Area, whose geology is responsible for the 22 waterfalls. The park is also home to the 245-acre Lake Jean, which has a 600-foot beach and boat rentals.

How to Get to the Park

Ricketts Glen State Park is approximately 30 miles north of Bloomsburg, PA. It is a three-hour drive from Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley, and NYC and two hours from Harrisburg, PA. It is the perfect place for a weekend getaway! 

Enjoy the Park 365 days of the year! In winter, there is even ice hiking on the frozen waterfalls. You can marvel at the gorgeous foliage in the fall, get your feet wet in the cool water at the base of the falls in summer, and expect powerful water flow in spring with the snow melt and showers.

The primary access to Ricketts Glen is on Rte. 487. There are three parking areas to use if you want to hike:

  • Lake Rose Trailhead is closest to the waterfall trails (5 – 10 minutes). It is at the end of the road across from the campgrounds. Be aware that it fills quickly during popular times.
  • The Beach Park Lot #2 is fifteen to twenty minutes from the main hiking trail. Go to the end of the main park road. After you park, find the trail next to Cabin Road and past a park gate.
  • Parking lots are also available on Rte. 118, which is more than a mile from the first waterfall.

General Hiking Tips

The park experts have some tips for hiking in the park. They are basic common sense: bring enough water and leave enough time to complete your hike before dark.

One important thing is to make sure you wear the proper foot gear. The correct foot gear is sturdy shoes or boots, not sneakers, sandals, water shoes, or plain street shoes. The trails you want to hike have waterfalls, so expect they may be rocky or slippery.

Pennsylvania State Parks are habitats for black bears. Encountering a bear is NOT the time for selfies. Bears are attracted not only to the smell of food but also to aromatic scents like toothpaste, deodorant, and air fresheners. Ensure you are familiar with the techniques for avoiding and escaping bears.

Maps and Trails

There are 26 miles of trails in Ricketts Glen State Park. Make sure you are physically prepared for whatever trail you select. The trail that gets the most attention (the most crowded on weekends in the summer) is the Falls Trail.

Falls Trail

The Falls Trail is the most difficult trail, but it is where you will see the most waterfalls. It is 7.2 miles long and can be done as a loop or an out-and-back trail. It contains steep drop-offs, uneven stone steps, and slippery conditions when wet. 

That being said, the trail is considered by many to be the single best waterfall hike in the Eastern United States. Depending on your ability, expect the hike to last between 3 and 5 hours. The largest and most spectacular waterfall is the 94-foot-tall Ganoga Falls. If you plan to hike this trail in the winter months, you must be escorted by a properly equipped guide or have experience hiking on ice.

If you don’t want to complete the full trail but still want to see several waterfalls, there is a shorter 3.2-mile loop that takes the Highland Trail and follows the Glen Leigh and Ganoga Glen sides of the trail.

Grand View Trail

The Grand View Trail is considered an easy 2.1-mile loop. It is marked with yellow blazes and passes by a fire tower (not open to the public). In the spring, part of the trail has blooming mountain laurel on either side.

Beach Trail

The Beach Trail is an easy out-and-back trail. The fun part is that it is flat all along Lake Jean. You get a view of the water without elevation!

Old Beaver Dam Trail

The Old Beaver Dam Trail is a moderate four-mile loop marked with yellow blazes. It has rolling hills and passes an area that was once a beaver dam.

What to Do After the Hike

One of the advantages of staying at the Inn at Turkey Hill is that you have two dining choices without getting out of your car! After hiking Ricketts Glen State Park Trails, you can wander to the Turkey Hill Brewing Company for a great casual meal with superb craft beers. If you choose to celebrate your hiking accomplishment, make a reservation for the Farmhouse Restaurant

Either way, you can quickly return to your comfortable room or suite. You may have even reserved a room with a whirlpool tub to relax your tired but happy muscles!

Photo credit: © Matt Anderson via

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