Exploring the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park

Wyandot Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park in PA

The Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park in Luzerne County is the most famous waterfall hike in Pennsylvania!

21 named waterfalls along a loop hike of almost mythical status.

Harrison Wright Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Harrison Wright Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.

And while there is no RIGHT way to see all 21 waterfalls, there certainly is a MOST LOGICAL way.

ESPECIALLY if you have kids in your hiking party!

So follow along as I lay out for you, step-by-step, the shortest, least-strenuous way to explore the waterfalls along the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park.


Where to Park at Ricketts Glen

I always recommend parking at the Lake Rose Trailhead Parking Area when hiking the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park.

You can find the Lake Rose Trailhead parking area at GPS coordinates 41.32980, -76.29145.

The best way to hike the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park.
The most logical way to hike the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Overview of Falls Trail Hike

I recommend starting at the Lake Rose Trailhead and hiking the Falls Trail in a counter-clockwise fashion.

Follow the hike in the order (1-2-3-4) I have highlighted on the trail map above.

Here are 3 reasons why I recommend this particular route.

First – it allows you to see waterfalls almost immediately.

If you depart from the Lake Rose Trailhead and hike counter-clockwise, you’ll encounter your first waterfall (Mohawk Falls) within 10 minutes.

Mohawk Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Mohawk Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Hike up from the parking area on Route 118 and you have to cover approx. 1.2 miles of creek before you see a waterfall.

Second – it is the shortest route available to see all 21 waterfalls.

If you depart from the Lake Rose Trailhead and hike the 4 segments I outlined on the map above, your loop will end up being around 4 miles long.

If you start at the Route 118 parking lot and do the entire Falls Trail hike, you’re adding an additional 2.5 miles to your hike!

Third – it allows you to finish the hike crossing flat land, rather than with a steep climb.

If you look at my segmented map again, you’ll see that both segments 1 and 4 are roughly 1.2 miles long.

So the question becomes, at the end of your hike, which would you rather do?

Hike 1.2 miles of relatively flat terrain, OR hike 1.2 miles of rocky terrain while ascending roughly 1,000 feet along Ganoga Glen?

For most people (and ESPECIALLY people with tired kids in their party), the answer is to hike the flat terrain!


Section 1 (1.2 miles) – Ganoga Glen

The hike begins at the Lake Rose Trailhead.

After following the Falls Trail for a few minutes, you come to a Y intersection.

TAKE THE TRAIL TO THE RIGHT!

Falls Trail Map near Lake Rose Trailhead.
Falls Trail Map near Lake Rose Trailhead.

A few minutes later you’ll be standing at the top of Mohawk Falls (37′).

Mohawk Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania.
Mohawk Falls.

Continuing down the trail, Oneida Falls (13′) is up next.

Oneida Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Oneida Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.

If you are a photographer, you MUST get this shot from below Oneida Falls that everyone, his brother, and his brother’s brother has taken!

Oneida Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania.
Oneida Falls downstream view.

Cayuga Falls (11′) is up next, a diminutive waterfall compared to what is to follow.

Cayuga Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Cayuga Falls.

Ganoga Falls (94′) is the tallest waterfall at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Ganoga Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania.
Ganoga Falls

The namesake waterfall of this glen, it never fails to amaze first-timers at Ricketts Glen.

Ganoga Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Ganoga Falls.

Moving on from Ganoga Falls, you next encounter Seneca Falls (12′).

Seneca Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania
Seneca Falls

After Seneca Falls, comes Delaware Falls (37′).

Delaware Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Delaware Falls.

Delaware Falls is followed by Mohican Falls (39′).

Mohican Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park
Mohican Falls.

Up next – Conestoga Falls (17′).

Conestoga Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Conestoga Falls.

Continuing down the trail, Tuscarora Falls (47′) will come into view.

Tuscarora Falls at RIcketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania
Tuscarora Falls.

Tuscarora Falls can look vastly different depending on flow, moreso than many of the other falls at Ricketts Glen.

Tuscarora Falls at RIcketts Glen State Park in PA
Autumn at Tuscarora Falls.

Erie Falls (47′) is the final waterfall on the Ganoga Glen side of the Falls Trail.

Erie Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Erie Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Section 2 (0.7 miles) – Waters Meet Loop

Just downstream from Erie Falls, you’ll come to a spot known as Waters Meet, where the left and right branches of Kitchen Creek merge.

For the time being you are going to continue down Kitchen Creek (in other words – do not cross the bridge yet) as there are 3 more outstanding waterfalls to be seen on this lower section of the Falls Trail.

Bridge at Waters Meet at Ricketts Glen State Park
Bridge at Waters Meet

Harrison Wright Falls (27′) will be the first waterfall you come to below Waters Meet.

Harrison Wright Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania.
Harrison Wright Falls.

This is easily one of the most popular and photogenic waterfalls at Ricketts Glen.

Next up will be Sheldon Reynolds Falls (36′).

Sheldon Reynolds Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park
Sheldon Reynolds Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Murray Reynolds Falls (16′) is the final waterfall on this section of the Falls Trail.

Murray Reynolds Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Murray Reynolds Falls

From here you are going to turn around and backtrack to Waters Meet.


Section 3 (0.8 miles) – Glen Leigh

Back at Waters Meet, you now want to cross the bridge and procede up the Glen Leigh side of the Falls Trail.

Waters Meet at Ricketts Glen State Park
Waters Meet

The first waterfall you’ll encounter as you start upstream will be Wyandot Falls (15′).

Wyandot Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania.
Wyandot Falls.

Above that you have B. Reynolds Falls (40′).

B. Reynolds Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park
B. Reynolds Falls.

One of the unique things about B. Reynolds Falls is that you can stand behind the falls and look downstream through the veil of water.

The view from behind B. Reynolds Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
The view from behind B. Reynolds Falls.

Above B. Reynolds Falls is R.B. Ricketts Falls (36′).

R.B. Ricketts Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park
R.B. Ricketts Falls.

Up next – Ozone Falls (60′).

Approaching Ozone Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park
Approaching Ozone Falls.

Ozone Falls is the second-tallest waterfall at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Ozone Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park
Ozone Falls.

Upstream from Ozone Falls is Huron Falls (41′).

Huron Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Huron Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Huron Falls is followed by Shawnee Falls (30′).

Shawnee Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania
Shawnee Falls

After Shawnee Falls comes F.L. Ricketts Falls (38′).

F.L. Ricketts Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park
F.L. Ricketts Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park

And then comes the final waterfall on the Glen Leigh ascent – Onodoga Falls (15′).

Onondoga Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Onondoga Falls.

Just above Onondoga Falls, the trail crosses over Kitchen Creek and you’re ready for the final segment of the hike.


Section 4 (1.2 miles) – Highland Trail

Falls Trail sign near Onondoga Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Falls Trail sign near Onondoga Falls.

The last leg of the journey is a relatively flat 1.2 mile journey along the Highland Trail, passing through a boulder field called Midway Crevasse.

Midway Crevasse along the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Midway Crevasse along the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park.

From Midway Crevasse, it’s a 10 minute hike to your vehicle back at the Lake Rose Trailhead.

Midway Crevasse at Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania.
Midway Crevasse at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Congratulations!

You’ve just completed one of the most iconic hikes in Pennsylvania!


Final Thoughts

When you follow the route I’ve outlined in this write-up, you’ll cover approximately 3.9 miles of trail and see all 21 named waterfalls along the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen.

Hikers at Ozone Falls at Ricketts Glen State park.
Hikers at Ozone Falls at Ricketts Glen State park.

How long the hike takes is entirely up to you, but generally when I take my family along it ends up being between 4 and 4.5 hours.

I strongly recommend wearing hiking boots or some other shoes with ankle support (NOT flip-flops or sandals).

Take a backpack with snacks and drinks, but please pack your trash out!

And above all – make lots of memories and take lots of pictures!

Hikers at Ganoga Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.
Hikers at Ganoga Falls at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Want to make your trip to Ricketts Glen State Park even MORE epic?

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A Vrbo vacation rental near RIcketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania.
Photo courtesy of Vrbo.

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Disclaimer: If you book a vacation rental through this Vrbo link, I get a small commission (at NO additional cost to you!), which helps offset the expense of hosting the PA Bucket List website.

Nearby Attractions

There is one more named waterfall at Ricketts Glen State Park.

Adams Falls is located just off of Route 118, along the Evergreen Trail.

The multiple tiers of Adams Falls at Ricketts Glen.
The multiple tiers of Adams Falls at Ricketts Glen.

Little Shickshinny Falls is located on State Game Lands 260, also in Luzerne County.

Little Shickshinny Falls on a sunny afternoon.
Little Shickshinny Falls on a sunny afternoon.

Looking for something a little more off the beaten path?

Then check out my write-up on the 25 best waterfalls in neighboring Sullivan County.

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

Also be sure to check out 25 Must-See Waterfalls in the Poconos for an in-depth look at many of eastern Pennsylvania’s finest waterfalls.

Waterfall along Upper Hornsbeck Trail in Pike County Pennsylvania
Waterfall along Upper Hornsbeck Trail in Pike County Pennsylvania

And if you STILL can’t get enough of the waterfalls, check out my Ultimate Pennsylvania Waterfalls Guide, with directions to hundreds of the best waterfalls in PA!

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

Looking for something COMPLETELY different to do in Luzerne County?

Concrete City, on the outskirts of Nanticoke, is an abandoned early-1900s industrial housing complex.

Back side of the homes on the eastern edge of Concrete City.
Back side of the homes on the eastern edge of Concrete City.

Now owned by the city of Nanticoke, Concrete City is a fascinating example of the longevity as well as shortcomings of early concrete architecture.

4 of the 20 duplexes in Concrete City in Luzerne County.
4 of the 20 duplexes in Concrete City in Luzerne County.

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Rusty Glessner is an award-winning photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

20 COMMENTS

  1. We just did this hike according to your recommendations and it was such a help. The falls are amazing and with your help made the day so much better.

    Thank you

  2. This was spot on. I printed most of this so I could keep track of where I was (and discovered that many, if not all, waterfalls have posted signs with their names somewhere nearby). Couple of recommendations for future readers:

    1. If you use AllTrails, make sure you download your map ahead of time. I could not get a signal anywhere on the trail. But I had Rusty’s guide.

    2. If you plan on bringing a tripod, either go super light that can attach to the side of your backpack or bring the carrying case of your heavier duty tripod. I ended up keeping my camera attached 90% of the time but there were a few spots were I packed up my gear so I could use my hands to climb down.

    Great job with this guide Rusty.

    • Thanks for the feedback and yes – cell phone reception is spotty at best in that area, and practically non-existent in the area around the falls themselves. I personally use a Manfrotto travel tripod that attaches directly to my backpack – it’s lightweight and allows for hands free (or allows for the use of a trekking pole in my case) hiking. Good points both of them.

  3. So happy we came across this article! Extremely helpful! There is no way we would have been able to make it through the 7 mile trail. Thanks so much!!

  4. Thanks for such a great post. I can’t wait to go with my friend next week and will be following your route. Will let you know how it goes. Great pics.

    • Thanks Brenda – I’ve been there countless times so I’m confident this route will work well for you. Please do give me some feedback after your visit though!

      • I am in your debt and so thankful we went counter clockwise. I got some great photos (first time learning how to blur or smooth the water falls. I will definately go back in the fall.

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