Exploring Abbott Run Falls in the McIntyre Wild Area

The author at Abbott Run Falls on a winter day.
The author at Abbott Run Falls on a winter day.

Abbott Run Falls in the McIntyre Wild Area is a series of seldom-seen waterfalls located approximately one mile north of the larger and more frequently visited Dutchmans Run Falls, also located in this Wild Area portion of the Loyalsock State Forest.

Location of the major waterfalls on Abbott Run in the McIntyre Wild Area Lycoming County Pennsylvania
Location of the major waterfalls on Abbott Run in the McIntyre Wild Area Lycoming County Pennsylvania

The bottom falls on Abbott Run (what I’m calling in this write up Abbott Run Falls) is tantalizingly close to Route 14 just north of Ralston, but standing between the highway and the falls is a strip of privately owned land/residences.

A satellite view image of Abbott Run Falls and surrounding private property.
A satellite view image of Abbott Run Falls and surrounding private property.

Meaning the only viable (and legal) way to get to the falls is via off-trail hiking, either from a trailhead near Ralston, or from the top-down on McIntyre Mountain.

As I’ve hiked it both ways, I’ll describe it both ways, starting with the 2.36 mile hike from the trailhead near Ralston.


Hiking to Abbott Run Falls from Ralston Trailhead

A map to Abbott Run Falls in the McIntyre Wild Area
A map to Abbott Run Falls in the McIntyre Wild Area

The first half of this hike retraces steps laid out in a previous write-up I’ve published on how to find Dutchmans Run in the McIntyre Wild Area.

The second half is a one mile hike across some fairly rocky, uneven terrain, ultimately bringing you out at the impressive Abbott Run Falls and the towering rock formations that surround it.

A satellite view map of Abbott Run Falls in the McIntyre Wild Area.
A satellite view map of Abbott Run Falls in the McIntyre Wild Area.

Getting There

How to Find Abbott Run Falls

  1. Park at the DCNR lot next to the bridge over Lycoming Creek in Ralston.
    GPS coordinates for the parking area: 41.507155, -76.951134.

    Note: this is the same parking lot used to hike to Dutchmans Run.
    Where to park when hiking to the waterfalls on Dutchmans Run in the McIntyre Wild Area.

  2. From the back of the parking area, hike 1.1 miles along an old rail grade.

    Lycoming Creek and private property will be on your left, but the entire rail grade/trail is on state forest land (at times you’ll see white blazes on trees to your left indicating the forest border).The old rail grade leading to the waterfalls on Dutchmans Run in the McIntyre Wild Area.

  3. At 1.1 miles you’ll encounter an old stone foundation.

    At this point leave the rail grade and hike uphill at a roughly 30 degree angle, past the stone foundation, for another 1/3 of mile until you see/hear Dutchmans Run Falls.Old foundation along the rail bed leading to Dutchmans Run in the McIntyre Wild Area.

  4. Arrive at Dutchmans Run Falls at 1.4 miles into hike.
    GPS Coordinates for Dutchmans Run Falls: 41.525167, -76.948933

    This is a great spot to stop for a break, take in the scenery, and grab a few photos.Dutchmans Run Falls in the McIntyre Wild Area on a winter day.

  5. Cross Dutchmans Run and make your way due north, keeping Route 14 and the private property/forest border to your left.

    The first few hundred yards will be rather steep as you climb up out of the Dutchmans Run Gorge. The next 3/4 of a mile will remain rather flat but rocky. The final descent into Abbott Run Gorge will be steep again.The off-trail route to Abbott Run Falls in the McIntyre Wild Area.

  6. Arrive at Abbott Run Falls at 2.36 miles into hike.
    GPS Coordinates for Abbott Run Falls: 41.533439, -76.950480

    Ice formations surrounding Abbott Run Falls.


Exploring Abbott Run Falls

A downstream view of Abbott Run Falls on a rainy day.
A downstream view of Abbott Run Falls on a rainy day.

Abbott Run Falls occupies space in a rather tight gorge.

The best views are from the front and to the right of it.

A wide-angle view of Abbott Run Falls on a winter day.
A wide-angle view of Abbott Run Falls on a winter day.

In the winter the surrounding gorge walls create an amphitheatre of ice.

The author at Abbott Run Falls in the McIntyre Wild Area.
The author at Abbott Run Falls in the McIntyre Wild Area.

While on a rainy day those same gorge walls seem to amplify the sound of rushing water tenfold.

A side view of Abbott Run Falls in the McIntyre Wild Area
A side view of Abbott Run Falls in the McIntyre Wild Area

The right side of the falls offers a bit more room to maneuver.

Steve Rubano standing in front of a missive rock formation near Abbott Run Falls.
Steve Rubano standing in front of a massive rock formation near Abbott Run Falls.

And the outlying right wall of the gorge offers an impressive look at how far out Abbott Run Falls once jutted eons ago.

Upstream from Abbott Run Falls are several additional, unnamed waterfalls.

Approaching a large waterfall on Abbott Run in the McIntyre Wild Area Lycoming County Pennsylvania
Approaching a large waterfall on Abbott Run in the McIntyre Wild Area, Lycoming County.

You can bushwack to them up around the right side of Abbott Run Falls, through some extremely dense laurel, but you’ll have a tough go of it, I can tell you from personal experience.

The tallest of these unnamed waterfalls is a solid 20-25 footer a few hundred yards upstream from Abbott Run Falls.

Large unnamed waterfall on Abbott Run in Lycoming County Pennsylvania
Large unnamed waterfall on Abbott Run in Lycoming County

When Abbott Run is flowing well, this may be the most impressive waterfall on the entire stream.

Large unnamed waterfall on Abbott Run in the McIntyre Wild Area
Large unnamed waterfall on Abbott Run in the McIntyre Wild Area

Approximately 0.4 miles upstream from the large unnamed waterfall, Abbott Run branches off into two separate streams, each with waterfalls immediately above the merge point.

The right branch waterfalls on Abbott Run in the McIntyre Wild Area Lycoming County Pennsylvania
The right branch waterfalls on Abbott Run in the McIntyre Wild Area, Lycoming County.

The right branch (above) is at least 150 yards of continual waterfall action as it plunges towards the merge point.

The left branch waterfalls on Abbott Run are not nearly as tall, but still photogenic.

Left branch waterfalls on Abbott Run in the McIntyre Wild Area Lycoming County Pennsylvania
Left branch waterfalls on Abbott Run in the McIntyre Wild Area Lycoming County

Hiking to Abbott Run Falls from the Top of McIntyre Mountain

If you were to hike to Abbott Run Falls from the top of McIntyre Mountain, this merge point is the spot I would recommend navigating to first.

How to find the waterfalls on Abbott Run in the McIntyre Wild Area Lycoming COunty Pennsylvania
The top-down hike to the waterfalls on Abbott Run in the McIntyre WIld Area, Lycoming County.

Park at an obvious pull-off along McIntyre Mountain Road at GPS coordinates 41.53215, -76.93067.

Navigate towards the merge point of the left and right branches of Abbott Run at GPS coordinates 41.53868, -76.94196.

Note – there is no trail to follow!

From there, hike the stream all the way down to Abbott Run Falls, hitting all the other unnamed waterfalls along the way.


Final Thoughts

Abbotts Run Falls in Lycoming County.
Abbotts Run Falls in Lycoming County.

In my book, the waterfalls on Abbott Run are absolutely worth the effort required to see them.

No matter which route you choose, these are rugged, off-trail hikes not suited for beginners, but certainly a goal to work towards.

Especially if you are considering the McIntyre Wild Area Waterfall Triple Crown hikes!

Waterfalls along Dutchmans Run, Miners Run, and Hounds Run, making up the McIntyre Wild Area Waterfall Triple Crown.
Waterfalls along Dutchmans Run, Miners Run, and Hounds Run, making up the McIntyre Wild Area Waterfall Triple Crown.

Still not convinced you need to explore Abbott Run Falls?

Then check out this video!


And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out The Ultimate Pennsylvania Waterfalls Guide for directions to HUNDREDS of Pennsylvania waterfalls!

The Ultimate Pennsylvania Waterfall Guide created by Rusty Glessner
The Ultimate Pennsylvania Waterfalls Guide by Rusty Glessner

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