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Ricketts Glen State Park: 22 Gorgeous Waterfalls in Northeast Pennsylvania

Chris enjoys photographing the places he visits. He shares these photos as travel articles and also mixes them with creative writing.

About This Article on Ricketts Glen State Park

This article features many photographs and one video (end of article) taken by me on my three separate visits to Ricketts Glen State Park, Benton, Pennsylvania. Descriptions of the history and geology are given, along with tips about how to make your visit the best it can be.

Ganoga Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park

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Ricketts Glen, a Uniquely Scenic Pennsylvania State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park should be at the top of anyone's list who wants to see waterfalls in the eastern United States. Located in northeast Pennsylvania, Ricketts Glen is one of the most uniquely scenic places I have visited in this part of the country. The park covers 13,050 acres in Luzerne, Sullivan and Columbia counties. While Ricketts Glen has a variety of activities one would expect of a state park, this article will focus on the 22 waterfalls along the 7 1/2 mile Falls Trail.

Ricketts Glenn State Park is visited by casual day hikers using their cell phones to take photos as well as professional photographers with DSLR cameras and tripods. Either way, you will take away some awesome photographs to share with your family and friends. For waterfall photography in the eastern United States, the 22 waterfalls of Ricketts Glen State Park is the place to go.

Adams Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park

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Early Settler, Robert Bruce Ricketts

Robert Bruce Ricketts bought 80,000 acres of land in the area between 1851 and 1873. He was unaware of the presence of the waterfalls on his property until 1865. He was focused on the area around Gonaga Lake where he built a stone house.

The Geology of Ricketts Glen State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park is positioned on the The Allegheny Front, a steep escarpment on the north side of the park that drops 1200 feet from the Allegheny Plateau to a lower band of the Appalachian Mountains in the south. Flowing down the escarpment are two creeks which run through two glens or valleys. One is known as Glen Leigh Creek and the other as Ganoga Glen Creek. These two creeks join at a place called Watersmeet and are thereafter known as Kitchen Creek. There are twenty-two waterfalls on these three creeks ranging from 11 feet to 94 feet high.

Mohawk Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park

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Location of Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

Ganoga Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

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Rock Types at Ricketts Glen State Park

  • Sandstone (grey, grey-red, red, olive green, buff)
  • Shale (greyish-red)
  • Siltstone
  • Conglomerates.

The Forests of Ricketts Glen State Park

Two thousand acres of old growth, hardwood forest are uniquely positioned where both northern and southern hardwoods grow. These forests somehow escaped the lumbering period of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some trees are believed to be as many as 500 years old.

Waterfall at Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

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Types of Waterfalls in Ricketts Glen State Park

There are four types of waterfalls in Ricketts Glen State Park: Falls, cascade, slide, and chute.

  • Falls--Water drops from the upper creek bed to a pool in the creek below.
  • Cascade--water drops from level to level until it reaches the creek below.
  • Slide--Water flows down steep drops but doesn’t actually fall.
  • Chute--Water passes through fissures in the stone as it drops.

Tuscarora Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

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The 22 Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park by Name, Height and Type

FallsHeightTypeCreek

Adams

36ft

Chute

Kitchen

Murray Reynolds

16ft

Chute

Kitchen

Sheldon Reynolds

36ft

Falls then Cascade

Kitchen

Harrison Wright

27ft

Falls

Kitchen

Wyandott

15ft

Falls

Glen Leigh

B. Reynolds

40ft

Falls

Glen Leigh

R.B. Ricketts

36ft

Cascade

Glen Leigh

Ozone

60ft

Cascade

Glen Leigh

Huron

41ft

Slide

Glen Leigh

Shawnee

30ft

Falls

Glen Leigh

F.L. Rickets

38ft

Slide

Glen Leigh

Onondaga

15ft

Cascade

Glen Leigh

Erie

47ft

Cascade

Ganoga Glen

Tuscarora

47ft

Cascade, then Falls

Ganoga Glen

Conestoga

17ft

Slide

Ganoga Glen

Mohican

39ft

Slide

Ganoga Glen

Delaware

37ft

Slide

Ganoga Glen

Seneca

12ft

Slide

Ganoga Glen

Ganoga

94ft

Cascade

Ganoga Glen

Cayuga

11ft

Falls

Ganoga Glen

Oneida

13ft

Falls

Ganoga Glen

Mohawk

37ft

Falls, then Slide

Ganoga Glen

Ricketts Glen State Park

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The History of Ricketts Glen State Park

Significant dates in the history of the Ricketts Glen property:

  • Became a State Park in 1941.
  • Named a National Natural Landmark in 1969.
  • Declared a State Park Natural Area in 1993.

What to Wear When Hiking the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park

A friend and I hiked the Falls trail, and we saw people wearing some less than appropriate attire. One lady wore white slacks. This is not a good idea if you want to use those slacks ever again. The trail is sometimes on stone and other times dirt and quite often on mud. You will be rubbing against dirty stone, plants and tree roots. Shorts are fine, but jeans or synthetic hiking pants would be better.

We also saw people wearing flip flops. This is a very bad idea. Shoes need to be securely attached to your feet and have tread on the bottoms. The trail requires a lot of climbing up rock steps that are often went. There are other times when the trail slopes up or down and is muddy.

Waterfall at Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

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Link to Map of the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park, Benton, Pennsylvania

Two Ways to See the Waterfalls at Ricketts Glen State Park

There are two ways to hike the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park. One is a 7 1/2 mile route and takes you to 22 waterfalls. The other is a 3 1/2 mile hike and leads past 18 waterfalls.

The 7 1/2 mile hike has a trailhead along PA118 near Good's Campground. The 3 1/2 mile hike begins at Lake Rose Parking Lot on PA487.

My advice is that if you are in good hiking condition and have the time, go for the long hike. Otherwise, take the shorter hike.

Ricketts Glen State Park

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Contact Information and GPS coordinates

Contact information-Make online reservations or call toll-free 888-PA-PARKS (888-727-2757), 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, for state park information and reservations, or e-mail your postal address for an information packet.

gps for Lake Rose Trailhead Parking--coordinates 41.329576, -76.291308 (This is for the 3 1/2 mile loop hike for the waterfalls).

Ozone Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park

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Where to Stay at Ricketts Glen State Park

I highly recommend The Old Tioga Inn Bed and Breakfast in Benton, Pennsylvania. It is located at 575 Old Tioga Turnpike, Benton, PA 17814, only 4 miles from the entrance to Ricketts Glen State Park. The contact number is 570-864-2887. I stayed at The Old Tioga Inn Bed and Breakfast in April, 2015 and was impressed with the new rooms featuring large Jacuzzi tubs and king size beds. Breakfast in the morning was an egg, cheese and sausage casserole and fresh fruit. They get five stars from me for quality facilities and friendly (not overbearing) hosts.


There are 10 cabins for rent at Ricketts Glen State Park, as well as 120 campsites. The cabins are available for rent year round. To reserve a cabin or campsite, go to Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The Best Time of Year to Visit Ricketts Glen Sate Park

The best time to visit Ricketts Glen State Park, in terms of water flow, is spring through early summer due to the snow melt. I visited the Park in April, 2015 and the water flow was phenomenal. Most of the photos in this article were taken on that visit. For that reason, I recommend an early spring visit to Ricketts Glen. If you go in April, it would be good to call the park before you take off. When I went in April, they had just finished breaking up the ice on the tops of the falls so the water would be flowing freely for their opening. The temperature when I visited in April was in the mid 60s, so it was great hiking weather.

Things to Take Along on Your Hike

You will be hiking for about three hours on the 3 1/2 mile loop. For the following items, a backpack will make your day more enjoyable. A rain jacket in case the unexpected happens. An extra pair of socks would be advisable, in case a foot slips into one of the creeks. Take plenty of drinking water, snacks and a camera or at least your cell phone. Don't forget to charge the batteries....one of my common mistakes.

Have a great visit to Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania.

My Ricketts Glen State Park Waterfall Video (34 seconds) Video by CM

Comments

Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on January 04, 2018:

I really appreciate these kinds of articles. I live really close to PA.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on January 04, 2018:

Alexander, Thank you for visiting my hub. Rickett’s Glen is a wonderful place to visit. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on January 03, 2018:

Thank you for this; I love waterfalls.

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on October 20, 2015:

Beautiful photos, a place I would love to visit, I like bush walks and your pictures add real pleasure to a walk around waterfall.

Thanks for sharing.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on December 01, 2014:

Deb, you have to go very early, right around sunrise, to beat the crowds of people. But early, it is quiet and peaceful. I'm sure the critters are out and around at that time.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on December 01, 2014:

Deb, you have to go very early, right around sunrise, to beat the crowds of people. But early, it is quiet and peaceful. I'm sure the critters are out and around at that time.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on December 01, 2014:

This sure sounds like heaven. I could get great wildlife shots here.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 30, 2014:

Thanks R.Q. This is a wonderful place to visit, especially early in the morning before the anyone else arrives.

Romeos Quill from Lincolnshire, England on October 30, 2014:

Beautiful photography Chris, handsomely complimented by your very informative tourist guide; the water looks so pure there.

I bet Robert Bruce Ricketts had a nice surprise after fourteen years not knowing he resided within such paradise.

Thanks for the educational on this amazing part of nature's beauty.

All the Best;

R.Q.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 29, 2014:

Thanks for reading this article Paula. I feel the same. Peace of mind that comes from truly relaxing in nature is the most healthy thing I can do for myself.

Suzie from Carson City on October 29, 2014:

Cam...I can sit near a waterfalls for hours, just being still in both body & mind. It's truly mesmerizing. Yet another perfect example of nature's substitute for mind-altering substances. And will wonders never cease? All the side effects are positive!...........Peace, Paula

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 28, 2014:

Hi Ladyfiddler. These waterfalls are beautiful and each is very unique. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on October 28, 2014:

Hi Cam good morning i love your pics, waterfalls are so beautiful :) some of them leave you in awe when you see it.

Thanks for sharing

Have a bless morning

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 26, 2014:

Cat, so glad you liked the hub and the photography of Ricketts Glen. You will not be sorry if you visit the park. The best time in terms of water flow, is spring through early summer.

Catherine Tally from Los Angeles on October 26, 2014:

You have definitely inspired me with your beautiful photography and the fact that these falls can all be reached in a manageable hiking loop. If my husband & I get East again soon, it will be on our list!

My best,

Cat:)

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 25, 2014:

Mary, you are right, the sound is amazing. I talked to one photographer while I was there who said that Ricketts Glen is THE place to do waterfall photography in the Eastern USA.

Mary Craig from New York on October 25, 2014:

So many waterfalls in such a small space, I can't imagine the beauty but I can imagine the sound, one we all love. Your photos are truly magnificent, one more beautiful than the next.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 24, 2014:

Ruby, thanks for reading and for the tweet. Since I'm in Philadelphia for the time being, I'll be going back to Ricketts Glen in the spring when the snow melts and the creeks are full. Should be really awesome then.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on October 24, 2014:

Just listening to the water fall in the video makes me want to visit. I love water falls. Great detailed hub and beautiful pictures. Tweeted

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 24, 2014:

You won't be disappointed, Will.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on October 24, 2014:

Bookmarked for our trip to the East!

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 24, 2014:

srsddn, Thank you for reading my article. This park really is a special place. I enjoyed your article on Buddha statues as well.

Sukhdev Shukla from Dehra Dun, India on October 23, 2014:

Chris, I am sure it would be mesmerising experience in the State Park. I wish I could spend some time at such a great place. Thanks for sharing.

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 23, 2014:

Eric, Bill can swing down and pick you up on his way. Thanks for checking this article out.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 23, 2014:

Please take me with you. Your photography is masterful. You really made the trip just for me!

Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 23, 2014:

Come on Bill, you can be out here in three days. I'll have a campsite for you and the fire going. haha, thanks for reading. This is really a great place.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 23, 2014:

What a great place. I would definitely visit there if it weren't for the 2,500 miles separating me. :) Seriously, great pics and information.

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