Review of Ricketts Glen State Park, PA (Pennsylvania): Our travel notes and tips

 

Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

In the 14 years my wife and I lived in the state of Pennsylvania, no other park had such an immense appeal than the Ricketts Glen State Park.  We took numerous trips to Ricketts Glen State Park even though it was over 2 1/2 hour drive from where we lived near Philadelphia.  Ricketts Glen State Park will forever be our absolute favorite park in the state of Pennsylvania!

Located about 140 miles northwest of the city of Philadelphia, Ricketts Glen State Park encompasses 13,193 acres in Lucerne, Sullivan, and Colombia counties.  Ricketts Glen harbors the Glens Natural Area, which is designated a National Natural Landmark.  

It was one of the most scenic places we’ve had the opportunity to see in person, and rightfully so.  It boasts a beautiful Falls Trail which is the main centerpiece of the state park.  The visit to Ricketts Glen State Park wouldn’t be complete without hiking at least parts of the Falls Trail.

The Falls Trail affords views of the glens and multiple waterfalls, culminating in the longest free flowing waterfall at the park, Ganoga Falls, a 94 foot waterfall.  There are 22 waterfalls to discover if you can handle the entire Falls Trail.  Completing the full loop of the Falls Trail will require strenuous hiking all of 7.2 miles, if hiking both upper and lower sections.  To see most of the waterfalls, it’s 3.2 miles.  Be prepared to descend then ascend back up to complete the trail, as the Falls Trail resembles a letter ‘v’.  

Tip:  You can park your car at any of these lots:  at the top right of the ‘v’ (Beach Lot #2 or Beach Trailhead Parking), at the bottom of the ‘v’ (Route 118 Trailhead parking), or top left of the ‘v’ (Lake Rose Trailhead parking).  

We recommend stopping by the park’s visitor center to get a quick orientation of the park.  Restroom facilities are also available there as well.  Ask any of the helpful park rangers for directions, best parking lot to use for the day, and food options, etc.

Tip:  Only food options at the park are limited to lakeside food concession stand during the summer months.  It’s best to bring your own food in to the park.  We usually stop by at the rest area off of the Blue Route (I-476) when visiting.  Fast food options are available including Quiznos, Burger King, etc.  

Once you park your vehicle, find the signs for the Falls Trail from the parking lot.  Or ask anyone nearby.  They should be able to help!

If parking at the Beach #2 or Beach Trailhead parking, the trail to get to the actual Falls Trail is called Highland Trail which is a mixed gravel trail.  We recommend wearing comfortable hiking boots that doesn’t slip.  There are spots near the waterfalls that can be slippery.  There also aren’t any guardrails near the waterfalls!  Exercise caution near those spots!

The hike is absolutely gorgeous!  There are trees everywhere!  The fragrant trees will give you a natural high just breathing it all in...

When we took our Pomeranian on the Falls Trail, he absolutely loved it!  As usual, he had his ears perked up, tail straight up, eyes forward, and happily sniffing the air.  He couldn’t wait to explore, and he pulled all the way until he started to tire...We were excited as well!

When our family came to visit us, we also took our sister and our niece there.  They both had a great time after hiking for couple of hours and breaking a good sweat.  We savored sitting next to the waterfalls, with our feet dipped in the stream, then cooling off!  Even during the heat of the summer (August), the water was really cool...

As you hit the Falls Trail, you’ll notice the burbling stream alongside the trail.  There are plenty of wildlife to see, from reptiles, to birds, rabbits, and insects.  Follow the trail until you get to the first fall, Onondaga Falls, which is a 15 foot waterfall.  Continue on as much as you can handle to see others or all of them if you can!

***Note:  Falls trail is closed in the winter except to those who have proper equipment (ice climbers and hikers).

Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

These are our top things to do in Ricketts Glen State Park:

  • Falls Trail:  Absolute must on your to do list!  Sit down next to one of the waterfalls on a hot sunny day to cool down.  Waterfalls will be much cooler than the surrounding areas.  Dip your feet into the  water and enjoy the mist thrown by the waterfalls!
  • Enjoy the view from the Grand View Trail:  Especially in mid June to see mountain laurels bloom
  • After a day of hiking, hang out at the Lake Jean:  Have some concession food (try fried mushrooms), take a dip in the lake, rent a boat, have ice cream from the concession for dessert ***Summer time only

Even though we no longer live in Pennsylvania, we will always miss places like Ricketts Glen State Park. We had such fond memories of hiking then resting by the lake.  We long to go back in the near future, we hope!

Thank you all for reading!


Jake

Wandering Money Pig 


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