How to Find Round Island Run Falls

Visiting One of Central Pennsylvania's Most Remote Waterfalls

The author at Round Island Run Falls.
The author at Round Island Run Falls.

Where is Round Island Run Falls?

Round Island Run Falls is located in a remote western corner of Clinton County in the Sproul State Forest.

A view of the Sproul State Forest DCNR map, showing location of the parking area and Round Island Run Falls.
A view of the Sproul State Forest DCNR map, showing location of the parking area and Round Island Run Falls.

It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as being in the nearby Quehanna Wild Area, but it is a few miles northeast of that.

So how do you get there?

Follow along as I give you turn-by-turn directions, maps, and some idea of what to expect when visiting the falls.

Directions to the Trail Head

I’m going to give you directions from the Quehanna Highway, since I will venture to guess the vast majority of visitors will be coming in from that direction.

From the Quehanna Highway, turn onto Pottersdale Road. This turn is located approximately 2 miles north of Karthus, or 2 miles south of the Quehanna Boot Camp, depending on where you you are coming from.

Travel 5.5 miles on Pottersdale Road until you come to the T-intersection pictured below. Take a left on Keating Mountain Road.

Sign for Keating Mountain Road.
Sign for Keating Mountain Road.

After driving approx. 2.2 miles on Keating Mountain Road, you will pass Birch Island Run Road. Don’t turn here – just giving you this as a reference.

Birch Island Run Road sign in the Sproul State Forest.
Birch Island Run Road sign in the Sproul State Forest.

Another 1 mile past Birch Island Run Road you will see Dutchman Road. Turn left here.

Dutchman Road sign in the Sproul State Forest.
Dutchman Road sign in the Sproul State Forest.

Travel 1.7 miles on Dutchman Road until you see Round Island Road on your right. Turn right here.

Round Island Road in the Sproul State Forest, Clinton County PA.
Round Island Road in the Sproul State Forest, Clinton County PA.

Travel 2 miles on Round Island Road (on some maps called Round Island Ridge Road). You will pass a pair of hunting camps on the left – the Liberty Bell Camp and the Stone Chimney Camp. The area right around the camps is also a spot I frequently see elk, like this one I saw there a few years ago.

A bull elk in velvet along Round Island Ridge Road.
A bull elk in velvet along Round Island Ridge Road.

0.2 miles further past the camps you will come to a spot where a pair of power lines cross the road.

View from the parking area for Round Island Run Falls hike. Underneath power lines, along Round Island Ridge Road.
View from the parking area for Round Island Run Falls hike. Underneath power lines, along Round Island Ridge Road.

Park in the obvious pull-off on the left side of the road, underneath the power lines. This is the trail head for your hike to Round Island Run Falls.

The GPS coordinates for the parking area are: 41.268613, -77.998115.

Hiking to Round Island Run Falls

How to get to Round Island Run Falls. Map shows the hiking route (in red) and important landmarks along the way.
How to get to Round Island Run Falls. Map shows the hiking route (in red) and important landmarks along the way.

The hike to Round Island Run Falls is a pretty straightforward affair.

It is a 2.2 mile out and back hike, with roughly 300 feet in elevation change from the parking area to the base of the falls.

From the parking area, head towards the right edge of the power line cut and a yellow gate. Walk around the yellow gate and follow the obvious trail/ATV path.

At approx. 0.2 miles you’ll cross over a small stream. This IS NOT Round Island Run. Continue following the trail over and past this stream.

Keep your eyes peeled for elk in the woods and along the power line cut. I spotted this guy in the woods one day while hiking out to the falls.

An elk I encountered in the woods along the power line trail to Round Island Run Falls.
An elk I encountered in the woods along the power line trail to Round Island Run Falls.

At approximately 0.4 miles into the hike you’ll come to the top of a steep, rocky road.

The steep rocky road along the power line trail leading to Round Island Run.
The steep rocky road along the power line trail leading to Round Island Run.

Round Island Run crosses the road at the bottom of this hill.

Turn right at the bottom of the steep rocky hill and follow the trail and stream.

The trail along Round Island Run, leading to the falls.
The trail along Round Island Run, leading to the falls.

The trail itself has an almost magical quality to it. In places it is basically a tunnel through the thick laurel. Plenty of amphibians also scurry across it in the summer.

A newt I encountered on the trail to Round Island Run Falls.
A newt I encountered on the trail to Round Island Run Falls.

Arriving at Round Island Run Falls

The descent to the base of Round Island Run Falls.
The descent to the base of Round Island Run Falls.

After hiking 0.5 miles along the stream, you will come to the user trail pictured above that leads down to the base of the falls. Note the fancy rope hand rail.

A view of Round Island Run Falls from downstream in early spring.
A view of Round Island Run Falls from downstream in early spring.

From where the trail descent brings you out, this will be your first look at Round Island Run Falls.

The GPS coordinates for the falls are: 41.271800, -78.005947.

The three tiers of Round Island Run Falls, or Three Falls as it is sometimes called.
The three tiers of Round Island Run Falls, or Three Falls as it is sometimes called.

Round Island Run Falls is sometimes referred to as “Three Falls”, due to the three-tiered nature of it.

A view from Round Island Run Falls on a sunny February morning.
A view from Round Island Run Falls on a sunny February morning.

There are numerous vantage points you can photograph Round Island Run Falls from.

A side view of the top two tiers of Round Island Run Falls.
A side view of the top two tiers of Round Island Run Falls.

Left, right, and downstream are all worth exploring.

The greenery comes alive at Round Island Run Falls in the summer months.
The greenery comes alive at Round Island Run Falls in the summer months.

The one shot you MUST get though is from behind the upper tier. Access this angle from a trail on the left side of the falls (when facing upstream).

A summertime view from behind Round Island Run Falls.
A summertime view from behind Round Island Run Falls.

There is actually quite a bit of space behind the falls.

My daughter behind the upper tier of Round Island Run Falls.
My daughter behind the upper tier of Round Island Run Falls.

And even in the autumn months, when the water flow is sometimes barely a trickle, this is still a phenomenal scene as fall foliage covers the creek bed.

An autumn view from behind Round Island Run Falls.
An autumn view from behind Round Island Run Falls.

Be on the lookout for frogs in the pool at the base of the falls. This guy (or gal) was keeping a close pair of eyes on me as I shot there one afternoon.

A frog I encountered at Round Island Run Falls.
A frog I encountered at Round Island Run Falls.

If you continue up the trail on the left side of the falls to the top, you’ll encounter this set of picturesque cascades.

Cascades on Round Island Run, directly above the falls.
Cascades on Round Island Run, directly above the falls.

The Return Hike

Once you’ve had your fill of Round Island Run Falls, it’s a simple 1.1 mile back track to your vehicle.

As I stated earlier, be on the lookout for wildlife. This ruffed grouse and I crossed paths in the woods along the power line cut one day.

A ruffed grouse (the Pennsylvania state bird) I encountered on a trip to Round Island Run Falls.
A ruffed grouse (the Pennsylvania state bird) I encountered on a trip to Round Island Run Falls.

Final Thoughts

Round Island Run Falls is one of the most off the beaten path waterfalls in central Pennsylvania.

The falls themselves are a superb sight to see, and the wildlife viewing opportunities on the drive/hike to and from make it all the more rewarding.

And you can double your waterfall viewing pleasure by visiting nearby Table Falls in the Quehanna Wild Area!

Still not convinced you need to put Round Island Run Falls on your PA bucket list?

Check out this video to see/hear what you’re missing!

PA Bucket List - Discover Pennsylvania's Ultimate Travel Destinations

Discover Pennsylvania’s Ultimate Travel Destinations!

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