Exploring Big Falls, Twin Falls, and Lewis Falls on SGL 13

Steve Rubano and Rusty Glessner at the base of Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
The author (right) with Steve Rubano at the base of Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

The hike to Big Falls, Twin Falls, and Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County is one of THE best waterfall excursions in the Endless Mountains.

Unlike Ricketts Glen, the next valley to the east, State Game Lands 13 lacks any of the “refinements” of a state park.

Trails are rugged and user-created, if any trails exist at all.

Signage is crude and “unofficial”.

And the crowds which mob Ricketts Glen are absent.

The view from below Lewis Falls on a summer afternoon.
The view from below Lewis Falls on a summer afternoon.

So if getting off the beaten path and becoming an explorer instead of a “sightseer” appeals to you, read on as I give you the best practical information on visiting these three exceptional waterfalls.

As with all hikes on State Game Lands, wearing 250 square inches of blaze orange is required during hunting season, per the PA Game Commission regulations. So take heed if hiking Heberly Run during those times, as well as any other requirements posted near the gate on Grassy Hollow Road.


Where to Park

How to Find Big Falls, Twin Falls, and Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13

  1. From the village of Jamison City in Sullivan County, proceed straight on Jamison City Road.

    Jamison City Road transitions from paved road to gravel, passes a Game Commission building on the left, and then dead-ends at a gate and large parking area on the right. A map showing the location of Big Falls, Twin Falls, and Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA

  2. Navigate to the parking area at GPS coordinates: 41.319345, -76.343301.

    Grassy Hollow Road parking area next to the gate.

  3. Begin your hike at the gate on Grassy Hollow Road.


Grassy Hollow Road

Grassy Hollow Road sign near the gate.
Grassy Hollow Road sign near the gate.

Grassy Hollow Road begins at the gate, which may be open or closed depending on the time of year you visit. Its openings and closings coincide with turkey and deer seasons.

Snow-covered Grassy Hollow Road on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania.
Snow-covered Grassy Hollow Road on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania.

If the gate does happen to be open when you visit, should you attempt to drive up Grassy Hollow Road?

My advice is no, and I’ll share my reasons.

First – Grassy Hollow Road is a narrow, rutted, non-maintained forest road. Guardrails are non-existent, and there are plenty of 100 foot drop-offs along the way to the top. Should you happen to encounter another vehicle on the way up or down, it’s a HUGE pain to safely pass one another. I speak from personal experience.

Grassy Hollow Road in the winter.
Grassy Hollow Road in the winter.

In the spring it’s a muddy mess; in the winter it’s a sheet of ice.

So for those reasons alone I don’t recommend it.

My second reason is this – if you are indeed the kind of person who prefers to drive and “sightsee”, as opposed to hike and explore, this area is probably not safe for you.

As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, this is a rugged excursion, and even if you manage to drive safely to some of the pull-offs along the road and above the falls, the actual descents to the best views along the stream bed are challenging.

The kind of descents a casual or inexperienced hiker probably shouldn’t attempt.

Your cell phone won’t work here, and help is a long way off if you hurt yourself.

So be honest with yourself about your abilities before attempting this hike.


Hiking to Big Falls

Ferns adorn the rocks near Big Falls on State Game Lands 13, Sullivan County, PA.
Ferns adorn the rocks near Big Falls on State Game Lands 13, Sullivan County, PA.

Big Falls is the first significant waterfall along Heberly Run when hiking upstream from the parking area/gate.

To get there, hike up Grassy Hollow Road .77 miles until you come to this user-created sign along the road.

Big Falls sign along Grassy Hollow Road
Big Falls sign along Grassy Hollow Road

At the sign you will see an unblazed but readily-apparent user trail leading down the side of the gorge to Heberly Run some 150 feet below.

If you are not an experienced hiker, DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS DESCENT!

Of the three waterfalls described here, this is the most difficult to reach. The descent requires patience, coordination, and stamina.

So again, be honest with yourself about your hiking abilities and proceed with caution if you elect to go for it.

The GPS coordinates for Big Falls are: 41.328467, -76.351983.

A wall of ice surrounding Big Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
A wall of ice surrounding Big Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

Your reward for making it to the bottom is a waterfall grotto of spectacular beauty.

A photographer takes in the scene at Big Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
A photographer takes in the scene at Big Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

At approximately 25 feet in height it’s not the tallest waterfall on Heberly Run (that would be Lewis Falls), but it is the most intricate.

In the winter, prodigious ice formations surround the falls, clinging to the gorge walls like icy chandeliers.

Ice formations near Big Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
Ice formations near Big Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

While in the spring and summer moss, ferns, and other foliage give Big Falls a primordial vibe.

A downstream view of Big Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
A downstream view of Big Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

Once you’ve had your fill of Big Falls, simply retrace your steps back up out of the gorge to Grassy Hollow Road.

A black and white view of Big Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
A black and white view of Big Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

Hiking to Twin Falls

A sign along Grassy Hollow Road above Twin Falls.
A sign along Grassy Hollow Road above Twin Falls.

From the Big Falls sign along Grassy Hollow Road, continue up Grassy Hollow Road another .71 miles. You will see this sign (above) along the road and catch your first glimpse of Upper Twin Falls.

Continue up the road another 1/10th of a mile to a large grassy area and another Twin Falls sign (pictured below). The unofficial, user-created trail to Twin Falls starts here (GPS coordinates 41.334751, -76.358452).

A sign at the unofficial trail head for Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA..
A sign at the unofficial trail head for Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA..

Follow this “unofficial” trail for approximately 1/4 of a mile downhill and back towards Twin Falls.

There are white blazes painted haphazardly along this trail, but honestly it’s open woods hiking here so you really can’t get lost. Hike towards the sound of the falls and you’ll be there in 5 minutes.


Upper Twin Falls

If there’s an “easy to get to” waterfall on this hike, it’s Upper Twin Falls.

A winter view of Upper Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
A winter view of Upper Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

GPS coordinates for Upper Twin Falls are 41.333721, -76.356887.

In the fall the trees around it are ablaze with color.

An autumn view of Upper Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
An autumn view of Upper Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

While in the winter ice formations adorn the surrounding rocks and trees.

Partially-frozen Upper Twin Falls along Heberly Run on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County PA.
Partially-frozen Upper Twin Falls along Heberly Run.

After a hard summer rain Upper Twin Falls nearly doubles in size from how you typically see it.

A late summer view of Upper Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
A late summer view of Upper Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

Upper Twin Falls comes in at around 12-15 feet tall, a bit larger than it’s “twin” 75 yards downstream.


Lower Twin Falls

The easiest way to get below Lower Twin Falls is to cross over the shallow portion of Heberly Run just below Upper Twin Falls and come down the user trail on the bank opposite Grassy Hollow Road.

A late summer view of Lower Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
A late summer view of Lower Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

In the winter you’ll be treated to impressive ice formations as well.

Ice formations around Lower Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
Ice formations around Lower Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA

In the image below you can see the proximity of Upper and Lower Twin Falls (approximately 75 yards, as stated earlier).

An early winter view of Lower Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
An early winter view of Lower Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

No matter the season, Lower Twin Falls a worthwhile spot to visit.

Lower Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County in late spring.
Lower Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County in late spring.

Hiking to Lewis Falls

So now it’s decision time – do you want to see Lewis Falls from above or below?

The view from below Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
The view from below Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

I’m going to describe the hike to the vantage point below first, then backtrack and describe the hike to vantage point above.


Getting Below Lewis Falls

The simplest and safest way to get below Lewis Falls is to hike up the banks of Heberly Run .86 miles from Upper Twin Falls to the base of Lewis Falls.

Lewis Falls along Heberly Run frozen over on a January morning.
Lewis Falls along Heberly Run frozen over on a January morning.

There will be a few wet crossings along the way, and there’s really no “best” side to start on.

Just start up either side of Heberly Run and cross when you can’t go any further on that side.

Crossing Heberly Run in Sullivan County.
Crossing Heberly Run in Sullivan County.

Just upstream from Upper Twin Falls you’ll pass this unnamed 10 footer (above) flowing in to Heberly Run.

An unnamed waterfall just upstream from Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
An unnamed waterfall just upstream from Twin Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

And 20-30 minutes later you’ll be standing at the base of Lewis Falls!

A downstream view of Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
A downstream view of Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

The sound of Lewis Falls from below is thunderous and well worth the hike, no matter the season.

The view from below Lewis Falls in the winter.
The view from below Lewis Falls in the winter.

But I’ll admit a personal fondness for winter and seeing the ice formations around Lewis Falls up close and personal.

Approaching frozen Lewis Falls along Heberly Run in Sullivan County.
Lewis Falls on an icy January morning.

Viewing Lewis Falls from Above

Is there a better autumn scene in all of Penn’s Woods?

An autumn view of Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
An autumn view of Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

Of course this view of Lewis Falls in the wintertime is equally superb.

Ice formations surrounding Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
Ice formations surrounding Lewis Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.

So how do you get to this vantage point?

From Twin Falls, hike up Grassy Hollow Road 0.4 miles to the Lewis Falls parking area, where the road dead-ends.

Follow the obvious user trail from the “Lewis Falls” sign approximately 450 feet to the top of the falls.

To get the vantage point pictured above, CAUTIOUSLY cross over Heberly Run above Lewis Falls in the shallow area just above the falls.

A hiker stands near the top of Lewis Falls for a sense of scale.
A hiker stands near the top of Lewis Falls for a sense of scale.

Lewis Falls is every bit 30-35 feet tall, making it the tallest waterfall on Heberly Run.

If you look closely at the image above you’ll see my friend Steve (blue jacket) standing at the top of the falls, to give you a sense of scale.

Once you’ve had your fill of Lewis Falls, you can simply backtrack down Grassy Hollow Road 2.44 miles (and yes it’s all downhill!) to the parking area.


Final Thoughts on Hiking Heberly Run

A group of adventurous hikers gathered at the base of Big Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA
A group of adventurous hikers gathered at the base of Big Falls on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA

State Game Lands 13 is a place for exceptional hikes with exceptional friends.

It’s wild, rugged, and unrefined.

It tests your skills and rewards you with spectacular waterfall views unrivaled anywhere in Pennsylvania!

Ice hiking to Big Falls along Heberly Run on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
Ice hiking to Big Falls along Heberly Run on State Game Lands 13.

Still not convinced you need to see Big Falls, Twin Falls, and Lewis Falls?

Then check out the video below!


Feeling Extra Adventurous?

Then be sure to check out Quinn Run Falls, Shanty Run Falls, and Foundation Falls – all located just upstream from Lewis Falls.

A downstream view of Quinn Run Falls.
A downstream view of Quinn Run Falls.

For an easier adventure, consider checking out Sullivan Falls, also located on State Game Lands 13.

The famous rope swing at Sullivan Falls.
The famous rope swing at Sullivan Falls.

Hiking to the Frozen Waterfalls Along Heberly Run gives you a more in-depth look at what a winter hike along Heberly Run looks like.

Ice hiking along Heberly Run on State Game Lands 13 in Sullivan County, PA.
Ice hiking along Heberly Run on State Game Lands 13

Did you enjoy this article?

If so, be sure to like and follow PA Bucket List on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Pinterest to learn more about the best things to see and do in Pennsylvania!

Click on any of the icons below to get connected to PA Bucket List on social media.


PA Bucket List 2022 Sasquatch Logo

Pennsylvania’s Best Travel Blog!

Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I would love to be able to see and photograph all of these falls, but I am disabled and know full well that this hike is way beyond my ability. I find it very frustrating living close to these amazing places and not being able to reach them. Thank you for doing these write ups.

    • Thanks for checking out the write-up Craig. This past week I’ve been publishing articles about roadside waterfalls in Sullivan County, so maybe some of them would suit the bill? Sullivan Falls, Dry Run Falls, Big Run Falls – all of them are fantastic to see and photograph. Dry Run Falls and Big Run Falls in particular are literally along the road – you can get a good view of them with no hiking whatsoever.

  2. Headed to Shunk tomorrow,and plan on a hike.Dinner at the Forksville Inn, spending the night at their cabin.
    Hope to see a little bit of nature.
    Thanks for sharing!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here