Exploring the Waterfalls at Salt Springs State Park

The first waterfall on Fall Brook at Salt Springs State Park

Salt Springs State Park in Susquehanna County is home to 3 superb waterfalls on the aptly-named Fall Brook.

Created by glaciers more than 18,000 years ago, Fall Brook Gorge is is an immensely enjoyable hiking destination, featuring the aforementioned waterfalls, old growth hemlocks, and a good luck rock!

Origin of Fall Brook Gorge at Salt Springs State Park
Origin of Fall Brook Gorge at Salt Springs State Park

How to Find Salt Springs State Park

From the intersection of Route 29 and Silver Creek Road, turn left on Silver Creek Road and proceed 1 mile to the park entrance on Salt Springs Road.

A map to Salt Springs State Park in Susquehanna County Pennsylvania
A map to Salt Springs State Park in Susquehanna County.

Although the map (and possibly your navigation as well) makes it look like you can simply approach from the south on Salt Springs Road, the Friends of Salt Springs State Park (who manage the park) advise against it, as that road becomes impassable the closer it gets to the park.


Fall Brook Natural Area

While the entire park is comprised of 842 acres, the waterfalls are contained within the 34 acre Fall Brook Natural Area.

History of the Fall Brook Natural Area at Salt Springs State Park.
History of the Fall Brook Natural Area at Salt Springs State Park.

All three waterfalls are located within a quarter mile of the parking area.

A map of the waterfalls at Salt Springs State Park
A map of the waterfalls at Salt Springs State Park

To get the best views of the falls, I recommend hiking upstream along the Fall Brook Trail, which encompases some of the stream bed itself.

A map of the trails at Salt Springs State Park.
A map of the trails at Salt Springs State Park.

You can then return to the parking area via the Hemlock Trail for a pleasant 0.5 mile loop hike.


Hiking to the Falls

Almost immediately after starting up the Fall Brook Trail, you’ll encounter the first (or lower) waterfall on Fall Brook.

Approaching the first waterfall on Fall Brook at Salt Springs State Park.
Approaching the first waterfall on Fall Brook at Salt Springs State Park.

The small cascades in the foreground struck me as being every bit as photogenic as the lower falls themselves.

I found it easiest to navigate around the left side of this waterfall to get upstream to the next.

The first waterfall on Fall Brook at Salt Springs State Park
The first waterfall on Fall Brook at Salt Springs State Park

The second (or middle) falls on Fall Brook looks very similar to the first.

Second waterfall on Fall Brook at Salt Springs State Park
Second waterfall on Fall Brook at Salt Springs State Park

This 15-footer photographs extremely well, and is also most easily circumvented on the left side to get upstream to the final waterfall on Fall Brook.

The second waterfall at Salt Springs State Park.
The second waterfall at Salt Springs State Park.

The third (or upper) falls on Fall Brook is the shortest of the 3, but by no means a letdown after seeing the first two.

Third Falls on Fall Brook at Salt Springs State Park
Third Falls on Fall Brook at Salt Springs State Park

This intricate series of glacially-formed shelves causes the waters of Fall Brook to sheet off in seemingly a hundred different directions.

Third waterfall on Fall Brook at Salt Springs State Park in Pennsylvania
Third waterfall on Fall Brook at Salt Springs State Park, Susquehanna County.

This is also a remarkable spot to appreciate the surrounding hemlock forest.

Third Waterfall at Salt Springs State Park
Third Waterfall at Salt Springs State Park

From the third falls, bear left and follow the trail up the hill to intersect with the Hemlock Trail.


The Hemlock Trail at Salt Springs State Park

The Hemlock Trail is a boardwalk trail that pases through an old-growth hemlock forest.

The Hemlock Trail winding its way through Fall Brook Gorge at Salt Springs State Park
The Hemlock Trail winding its way through Fall Brook Gorge at Salt Springs State Park

In addition to making for a fairly easy return hike, the boardwalk is also exceedingly photogenic in its own right.

The Hemlock Trail at Salt Springs State Park.
The Hemlock Trail at Salt Springs State Park.

One of the highlights of the Hemlock Trail is Penny Rock, where people long ago hammered copper pennies into the folds of a large rock for good luck.

The Hemlock Trail and Penny Rock at Salt Springs State Park
The Hemlock Trail and Penny Rock at Salt Springs State Park

Upon closer examination, you can see how the copper pennies have turned green with age.

Penny Rock at Salt Springs State Park
Penny Rock at Salt Springs State Park

Follow the Hemlock Trail past Penny Rock, bear left and cross the bridge over Fall Brook, and you’ll have completed the loop and be back at the parking area.

Final Thoughts

The waterfalls at Salt Springs State Park are some of the northernmost waterfalls in Pennsylvania, just a few miles from the New York Border.

This glacially-created gorge, replete with old growth hemlocks, is an absolute pleasure to explore.

Put the Fall Brook Natural Area and the waterfalls at Salt Springs State Park on your PA Bucket List!


Nearby Attractions

Nay Aug Falls in Scranton is approximately 35 miles south of Salt Springs State Park, just off of Interstate 81.

Nay Aug Falls on Roaring Brook in Lackawanna County
Nay Aug Falls on Roaring Brook in Lackawanna County

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