Exploring Thomas Run Falls in Bradford County

Thomas Run Falls on Bradford County's State Game Lands 12.

Thomas Run Falls is a marvelous 20 foot-tall waterfall on State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County.

Located 2 miles west of the ghost town of Laquin, Thomas Run Falls is a nearby-neighbor to the trio of waterfalls located along the Bradford Falls Trail, just a few miles east on State Game Lands 36.

Downstream view of Bradford Falls on State Game Lands 36.
Approaching the 70 foot-tall Bradford Falls on State Game Lands 36.

As with any hike on State Game Lands, be sure to observe the PA Game Commission’s blaze orange clothing requirements relevant to the time of year you are visiting.


How to Find Thomas Run Falls

The hike to Thomas Run Falls is simple enough – follow a flat, gravel game lands road for two miles, then hike off-trail up Thomas Run for a third of a mile to the falls themselves.

How to find Thomas Run Falls on State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County Pennsylvania.
A map to Thomas Run Falls and Little Schrader Creek on State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.

The parking area for the Thomas Run Falls hike is located at GPS coordinates 41.62444, -76.65978.

Thomas Run Falls hike parking area along State Game Lands 12 road near Laquin.
Thomas Run Falls hike parking area along State Game Lands 12 road near Laquin.

From the parking area, head west towards and around a game commission gate.

The gated road leading to Thomas Run Falls and Little Schrader Creek in Bradford County PA
The gated road leading to Thomas Run Falls and Little Schrader Creek in Bradford County

A half-mile into the journey, you’ll cross over Little Schrader Creek Bridge – remember this spot as I’ll mention it again at the end of this write-up.

Little Schrader Creek Bridge on State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County, PA.
Little Schrader Creek Bridge on State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County.

For the next mile and a half, you’ll be following the gravel road (a former railroad bed in the days of Laquin) as it runs parallel to the picturesque Schrader Creek.

Schrader Creek along the trail to Thomas Run Falls in Bradford County.
Schrader Creek along the trail to Thomas Run Falls in Bradford County.

Along the way you’ll pass many a photogenic scenes, including this beaver pond.

A beaver dam along the trail to Thomas Run Falls on State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County Pennsylvania
A beaver dam along the trail to Thomas Run Falls on State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County.

The forest floor along the road is also home to many massive beds of fern, which are always worth a photo or two.

A sea of ferns near Thomas Run Falls in Bradford County Pennsylvania.
A sea of ferns near Thomas Run Falls in Bradford County.

You’ll know you’ve reached Thomas Run when you see the old iron railroad bridge pictured below.

Thomas Run Bridge on State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County Pennsylvania
Thomas Run Bridge on State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County.

If you’re navigating by GPS, the Thomas Run Bridge is located at 41.60324, -76.67717.


Hiking Up Thomas Run

Crossing over the Thomas Run Bridge, look for the remnants of an old road (now looking more like a grassy meadow) and follow it up the left side of Thomas Run (the left side when facing upstream).

Thomas Run downstream from Thomas Run Falls in Bradford County.
Thomas Run downstream from Thomas Run Falls in Bradford County.

A quarter mile upstream, you’ll encounter a wonderfully-intact stacked-stone bridge abutment.

Remnants of a stacked-stone bridge abutment on Thomas Run on Bradford County.
Remnants of a stacked-stone bridge abutment on Thomas Run on Bradford County.

Continue up the left side of Thomas Run another few hundred yards, and Thomas Run Falls will come into view.

Approaching Thomas Run Falls on State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County PA
Approaching Thomas Run Falls on State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County PA.

Photographing Thomas Run Falls

Thomas Run Falls is most easily photographed from the right side, meaning you’ll want to cross over the stream somewhere immediately below the falls.

Thomas Run Falls surrounded by a mossy gorge on State Game Lands 12.
Thomas Run Falls surrounded by a mossy gorge on State Game Lands 12.

Keep your eyes open for the remnants of a prior industrial age in this area, for what looks untouched by man now was at one time stripped bare of trees to feed the lumber mills in Laquin.

Remnants of the industrial age near Thomas Run Falls in Bradford County PA
Remnants of the industrial age near Thomas Run Falls in Bradford County.

A graceful view of the falls is available on the right side of Thomas Run.

Side view of Thomas Run Falls on State Game Lands 12.
Side view of Thomas Run Falls on State Game Lands 12.

Even up-close, Thomas Run Falls is a cooperative subject, with the spray coming off of it tending to shoot off to the left, away from the photographer in front of it.

Thomas Run Falls near the ghost town of Laquin in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
Thomas Run Falls near the ghost town of Laquin in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.

There is hardly a rock in the vicinity of Thomas Run Falls that ISN”T covered by lush green moss.

The mossy, rocky gorge around Thomas Run Falls on State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County.
The mossy, rocky gorge around Thomas Run Falls on State Game Lands 12 in Bradford County.

When you’ve had your fill of Thomas Run Falls, simply backtrack downstream to the gravel road, and retrace your steps east towards the parking area at Laquin.


Exploring Little Schrader Creek

A half-mile before reaching your vehicle, you’ll once again find yourself at Little Schrader Creek Bridge.

If you wish to explore another dazzling mountain stream replete with incredible rock formations, hike up the left side of Little Schrader Creek and pick up the obvious (though unblazed) user trail.

The hiking trail along Little Schrader Creek in Bradford County PA
The hiking trail along Little Schrader Creek in Bradford County.

As with the hike up Thomas Run, you’ll encounter stacked-stone evidence of of an industrial age gone by, now being swallowed up by the Earth.

Remnants of the stacked-stone grade along Little Schrader Creek near the ghost town of Laquin in Bradford County.
Remnants of the stacked-stone grade along Little Schrader Creek near the ghost town of Laquin in Bradford County.

The hike up Little Schrader Creek is certainly reminiscent of scenes encountered along the more well-known Rock Run in Lycoming County.

One of the many twisted cascades along Little Schrader Creek on State Game Lands 12.
One of the many twisted cascades along Little Schrader Creek on State Game Lands 12.

And while I’ve seen references to “waterfalls” along Little Schrader Creek published elsewhere, you’d have to be defining the term “waterfall” very loosely to agree, although there are some exceptionally beautiful rapids and twisting chasms in this creek gorge.

Large rocks and small waterfall along Little Schrader Creek in Bradford County Pennsylvania.
Large rocks and small rapids along Little Schrader Creek in Bradford County

To me, the real highlights of this side-hike are the rock formations along Little Schrader Creek.

Little Schrader Creek in Bradford County PA
Little Schrader Creek in Bradford County.

When you’ve seen enough of Little Schrader Creek, simply retrace your steps back downstream to the gravel road and complete the hike to the parking area at Laquin.


Still not convinced you need to visit Thomas Run Falls?

Then check out this video!


Nearby Attractions

As mentioned earlier, the Bradford Falls Trail on neighboring State Game Lands 36 is home to three waterfalls, including Bradford Falls, one of the tallest in Pennsylvania!

Bradford Falls running high after heavy spring rains.
Bradford Falls running high after heavy spring rains.

Deep Hollow Falls is yet another excellent waterfall on State Game Lands 36, this one along an old road grade just a short hike from a roadside pull-off along Deep Hollow Road.

The author at Deep Hollow Falls in Bradford County PA
The author at Deep Hollow Falls in Bradford County.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-reach waterfall in Bradford County, it doesn’t get any easier than Holcomb Falls, located roadside along Leroy Mountain Road.

Springtime at Holcomb Falls in Bradford County Pennsylvania.
Springtime at Holcomb Falls in Bradford County.

If you’re looking for someting a bit more challenging, then be sure to check out my McIntyre Wild Area Waterfalls Guide, with directions to more than a dozen rugged waterfalls located off-trail and just south, in the Loyalsock State Forest.

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

The Ultimate Pennsylvania Waterfalls Guide is your source for directions to HUNDREDS of waterfalls across the Keystone State!

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

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

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