Visiting Stone Quarry Run Falls and Water Tank Hollow Falls

A Rewarding Out and Back Excursion along the Pine Creek Rail Trail

The author at Water Tank Hollow Falls, just off the Pine Creek Rail Trail.
The author at Water Tank Hollow Falls, just off the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

The Pine Creek Gorge (AKA PA Grand Canyon) is home to some of the most rugged, remote waterfalls in Pennsylvania.

But what if you love waterfalls, just not the rugged, remote part?

Then visiting Stone Quarry Run Falls and Water Tank Hollow Falls should be on your PA bucket list!

These two picturesque waterfalls, separated by just one mile of the easy-to-traverse Pine Creek Rail Trail, are exactly what you are looking for.

Read on to learn all about this scenic out and back excursion.

Where is Stone Quarry Run Falls?

Purple Lizard map showing the locations of Stone Quarry Run Falls and Water Tank Hollow Falls in relation to Blackwell.
Purple Lizard map showing the locations of Stone Quarry Run Falls and Water Tank Hollow Falls in relation to Blackwell.

Note: PA Bucket List is not affiliated with Purple Lizard Maps. I just happen to think they make the finest hiking maps available, and if you want to get your own Pine Creek map from them, click HERE.

Your hike/bike trip begins in the village of Blackwell, along Route 414 in Tioga County.

There is a large paved parking area right next to Pine Creek, complete with restrooms.

Pine Creek Rail Trail parking area in Blackwell.
Pine Creek Rail Trail parking area in Blackwell.

From the parking area you’ll want to head north, away from the parking lot towards the village.

The Pine Creek Rail Trail near the parking area in Blackwell.
The Pine Creek Rail Trail near the parking area in Blackwell.

The photo above is what you’ll see as you cross 414 and pick up the rail trail.

Information sign along the Pine Creek Rail Trail as you leave Blackwell headed towards Stone Quarry Run.
Information sign along the Pine Creek Rail Trail as you leave Blackwell headed towards Stone Quarry Run.

At 0.18 miles into your trip you’ll see the blue sign above. Continue down the trail.

Frozen section of the Pine Creek Rail Trail in mid-March 2019.
Frozen section of the Pine Creek Rail Trail in mid-March 2019.

On the day I visited most recently, in mid-March, portions of the trail were still frozen solid. This despite the fact that areas visible from the parking lot and town were completely bare. So be aware that is a possibility in late fall or early spring.

Stone Quarry Run Falls

Stone Quarry Run Falls in mid-March 2019.
Stone Quarry Run Falls in mid-March 2019.

You’ll come to Stone Quarry Run Falls at 1.25 miles into your trip (measured from the parking lot).

This waterfall is literally right next to the trail, and impossible to miss.

Frozen Stone Quarry Run Falls along the Pine Creek Rail Trail.
Frozen Stone Quarry Run Falls along the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

If you visit in the dead of winter, it’s a totally different scene!

I’d feel comfortable saying Stone Quarry Run Falls is 12-15 feet tall, between the two tiers, using my friend Steve in the image above for scale.

A close-up shot of Stone Quarry Run Falls.
A close-up shot of Stone Quarry Run Falls.

If you want to get a close-up view you can carefully pick your way down the bank to the stream bed.

The tunnel carrying Stone Quarry Run underneath the Pine Creek Rail Trail.
The tunnel carrying Stone Quarry Run underneath the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

Also worth mentioning (and photographing) is the old stone bridge that carries the Pine Creek Rail Trail over Stone Quarry Run.

"1903" construction date carved into the Stone Quarry Run Tunnel.
“1903” construction date carved into the Stone Quarry Run Tunnel.

If you’re already down at stream level, just turn away from the falls towards the rail trail, and you’ll see this “1903” inscription in the bridge.

Kudos to the builders for constructing a bridge nearly 120 years ago that is still being put to good use!

Where is Water Tank Hollow Falls?

Water Tank Hollow where it intersects the Pine Creek Rail Trail 2.3 miles north of Blackwell, Tioga County.
Water Tank Hollow where it intersects the Pine Creek Rail Trail 2.3 miles north of Blackwell, Tioga County.

Continue north on the Pine Creek Rail Trail another 1.05 miles from Stone Quarry Run Falls, and you’ll arrive at this bridge.

As you can see from the obvious sign along the trail, you’ve arrived at Water Tank Hollow!

The view of Water Tank Hollow Falls from the Pine Creek Rail Trail.
The view of Water Tank Hollow Falls from the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

Even from the rail trail you’ll have a decent (although partially obstructed) view of the falls.

But if you REALLY want to experience Water Tank Hollow Falls, take the obvious user trail up the right hand side of the stream (same side the sign is on) 0.2 miles to the base of the falls.

A downstream view of Water Tank Hollow Falls along the Pine Creek Rail Trail in Tioga County, PA..
A downstream view of Water Tank Hollow Falls along the Pine Creek Rail Trail in Tioga County, PA..

The stream is shallow enough to make easy rock-hopping crossings if you want to see/photograph Water Tank Hollow Falls from different angles.

Water Tank Hollow Falls in mid-March 2019.
Water Tank Hollow Falls in mid-March 2019.

On this day in mid-March the ice was still hanging tough in Water Tank Hollow.

A winter scene at Water Tank Hollow Falls, along the Pine Creek Rail Trail.
A winter scene at Water Tank Hollow Falls, along the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

But not nearly as tough as it was on a previous January visit!

Water Tank Hollow Falls is in the neighborhood of 20 feet tall, give or take a few feet.

The Return Trip

Standing at the base of Water Tank Hollow Falls, you’ve covered 2.5 miles of trail.

But there are still other sights to see!

Large ice formations along the Pine Creek Rail Trail near Blackwell.
Large ice formations along the Pine Creek Rail Trail near Blackwell.

For starters, there are some excellent ice formations at various points along the trek between Water Tank Hollow and Blackwell.

Assuming you are hiking in the winter, of course!

Looking south along Pine Creek towards Blackwell.
Looking south along Pine Creek towards Blackwell.

And then there’s Pine Creek itself, your constant companion as you hike/bike the rail trail.

Blackwell Methodist Episcopal Church in Blackwell, near the Pine Creek Rail Trail trail head/parking.
Blackwell Methodist Episcopal Church in Blackwell, near the Pine Creek Rail Trail trail head/parking.

As you make your way back into Blackwell, look off to your left, before you get to the parking lot.

There you’ll see the Blackwell Methodist Episcopal Church, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.

Arriving back at your vehicle, you’ve covered 5 miles of terrain.

Congratulations!

Final Thoughts

Visiting Stone Quarry Run Falls and Water Tank Hollow Falls makes for a pleasant introduction to the waterfalls of the Pine Creek Gorge.

A relatively flat hike with very short side excursions is all that is required to see two tranquil scenes along the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

If these waterfalls whet your appetite, there are countless others of various degrees of difficulty to visit in the immediate Tioga County area.

Stone Quarry Run Falls.

Water Tank Hollow Falls.

Put them on your PA Bucket List!

And if your STILL not convinced you need to see these falls, here are a few video clips that may change your mind!

Video footage from Stone Quarry Run Falls and Water Tank Hollow Falls along the Pine Creek Rail Trail in Tioga County, PA.

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