Exploring East Branch Falls and Middle Branch Falls in the Loyalsock State Forest

East Branch Falls on Mill Creek in the Loyalsock State Forest
East Branch Falls on Mill Creek in the Loyalsock State Forest.

East Branch Falls and Middle Branch Falls are 20-foot tall waterfalls on adjacent branches of Mill Creek in the Loyalsock State Forest.

Both located approximately 4 miles west of Hillsgrove (Sullivan County) off of Mill Creek Road.

And while both waterfalls are close to forest roads (East Branch Falls close to Walker Road and Middle Branch Falls close to Camels Road), those roads have experienced periodic closures many times over the past few years due to flood damage.

So what I’m going to describe below is a simple loop hike that takes you to both falls from a parking area on Mill Creek Road.

It makes no difference which way you do the loop – I’m going to describe it as a counter-clockwise hike up East Branch and down Middle Branch.


Getting There

How to Find East Branch Falls and Middle Branch Falls in the Loyalsock State Forest

  1. From Hillsgrove, turn off of Route 87 and travel west on Mill Creek Road for 4 miles.

    Park in a large pull-off on west side of the bridge over Mill Creek at GPS coordinates: 41.48270, -76.75402
    A map to East Branch Falls and Middle Branch Falls in the Loyalsock State Forest.

  2. Cross the road and start hiking upstream. At 0.15 miles into the hike the stream splits – take the right fork of stream to continue up the East Branch of Mill Creek.

  3. Continue hiking upstream along East Branch for 0.5 miles, crossing back and forth as necessary, until you reach the base of East Branch Falls.
    GPS coordinates for East Branch Falls: 41.49077, -76.75328

    East Branch Falls in the Loyalsock State Forest

  4. Continue upstream from East Branch Falls to view more cascades and small waterfalls.

    East Branch of MIll Creek in the Loyalsock State Forest

  5. Approximately 0.1 miles above East Branch Falls, find the yellow-blazed Middle Branch Trail and follow it west 0.85miles to the top of Upper Middle Branch Falls.

    Upper Middle Branch Falls on Mill Creek near Hillsgrove, PA

  6. Continue downstream a few hundred yards to Middle Branch Falls.
    GPS coordinates for Middle Branch Falls: 41.49201, -76.76975

    Middle Branch Falls on Mill Creek in the Loyalsock State Forest.

  7. From Middle Branch Falls, follow the stream downhill for 1 mile until it merges with the East Branch of Mill Creek, then follow the stream the final 0.15 miles back to the parking area, completing the hike.


Exploring East Branch Falls

East Branch Falls seems to knife its way through a wall of solid rock.

East Branch Falls in the Loyalsock State Forest
East Branch Falls in the Loyalsock State Forest

To get to the cascades above it, I find it easiest to go up and around the right side (when facing upstream).

East Branch of Mill Creek upstream from East Branch Falls in the Loyalsock State Forest.
East Branch of Mill Creek upstream from East Branch Falls in the Loyalsock State Forest.

The mossy rocks in this area are worn smooth by the actions of time and water.

Upstream from East Branch Falls near Hillsgrove Sullivan County PA
Upstream from East Branch Falls, near Hillsgrove, Sullivan County PA.

Since this is mostly off-trail hiking, it’s a good idea to hike it with a friend.

A fellow photographer at East Branch Falls in Sullivan County.
A fellow photographer at East Branch Falls in Sullivan County.

Exploring Middle Branch Falls

Upper Middle Branch Falls has a stepped-staircase feel to it.

Upper Middle Branch Falls on Mill Creek near Hillsgrove, PA
Upper Middle Branch Falls on Mill Creek near Hillsgrove, PA

Middle Branch Falls itself seems to send water cascading off in a hundred different directions.

Middle Branch Falls on Mill Creek in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania.
Middle Branch Falls on Mill Creek in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania.

Massive rocks form the lower perimeter of a large pool at the base of Middle Branch Falls.

Middle Branch Falls on Mill Creek in Sullivan County
Middle Branch Falls on Mill Creek in Sullivan County

Final Thoughts

The Mill Creek watershed is a little off the beaten path, compared to more popular spots on the eastern side of the Loyalsock State Forest like Dry Run Falls or Angel Falls.

Summer at Angel Falls in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania.
Summer at Angel Falls in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania.

But that doesn’t mean it’s any less impressive.

Definitely put East Branch Falls and Middle Branch Falls in the Loyalsock State Forest on your PA Bucket List!


Nearby Attractions

The waterfalls along Ketchum Run are a series of 4 waterfalls near and along the Loyalsock Trail.

Right Angle Falls on Ketchum Run, surrounded by fall foliage.
Right Angle Falls on Ketchum Run, surrounded by fall foliage.

Rusty Run Falls is a mile off of Shanerburg Road, along a well-maintained bridle trail in the Loyalsock State Forest.

The view of Rusty Run Falls from the middle of the stream.
The view of Rusty Run Falls from the middle of the stream.

And of course Worlds End State Park is the epicenter of waterfall country in Sullivan County.

My Worlds End State Park Waterfall Guide will show you how to find 8 outstanding waterfalls all within a short drive of the park.

Tamarack Falls off of Loyalsock Road in the Loyalsock State Forest.
Tamarack Falls off of Loyalsock Road near Worlds End State Park.

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