Family Fun

Exploring Pennsylvania’s State Parks: Ricketts Glen State Park

I recently saw a Facebook post by Pennsylvania DCNR stating that the Ricketts Glen falls trail has been closed for the season, due to ice buildup.  The pictures were beautiful!  It reminded me that I have not written about a Pennsylvania State Park in quite a while!

Ricketts Glen is probably my favorite state park to visit.  My family has gone there once or twice when I was younger.  My husband and I visited this state park a few weeks after we began dating.  He had never been there before, but he enjoys hiking, and he really enjoyed all of the waterfalls!  It is so naturally beautiful!  He even found me a heart-shaped leaf, and I commandeered one of his archery sponsorship hats (Stage1Strings…the best bow strings made), that I still wear to this day.

Located near the town of Red Rock, Ricketts Glen covers just over 13,000 acres and contains a beach on Lake Jean for swimming, fishing and boating.  There are also campsites and cabins available for rent.

But the real attraction, for me at least, are the waterfalls.  Ricketts Glen boasts 22 named waterfalls, the highest of which is 94 feet tall!  All of these falls are located along a falls trail that is shaped like an upside down triangle.  The top part does not run along the creek, so there are no falls along that stretch.  The rock formations are pretty intriguing though!

My husband and I chose to hike across the top portion first, so that we could enjoy the falls for the entire rest of the trip.  My family chose to hike down part of the falls trail first and end with the rock formation section.  Each way has its benefits, it is really up to you which way you hike.  Or, better yet, just go twice and try it both ways to see which you like better!

No matter which direction you choose, you will be hiking downward first, and the trip back will be all uphill.  The paths are made of rock steps.  It is pretty impressive actually, and I’m certain it took quite a bit of time to construct.  A word of caution: the trail gets wet easily and in turn gets slick.  Be sure to wear proper footwear (sneakers at least; hiking boots would be better).

The people who hike the trail are generally very friendly as well.  Many will say hello, and some will even stop to chat.  We met one older couple who needed to take a break and decided to have a brief conversation with us.  It was quite enjoyable!  We also happened to run into one of my husband’s co-workers at the base of one of the waterfalls, of all places!

Many people bring lunches with them and find a large rock at the base of one of the falls to enjoy it.  We underestimated the amount of time it took us to hike the trails and did not bring our food with us.  (It took approximately 4 hours.)  We were pretty much starving by the time we were off the trail!

Probably my favorite part of the hike was the mystery of walking down the trail.  We were hiking with the flow of the water, so we could hear the falls before we saw them.  I loved the surprise of seeing what waterfall was next as we hiked past it!

On the way back up the trail, we were hiking toward the waterfalls.  There was much less element of surprise this direction.

My short legs also did not do me any favors going up either!  Hiking down wasn’t so bad because I could put a hand on my husband’s shoulder as he was walking in front of me.  However, I could not do that going back up!  And some of the steps felt like I was stepping up to my mid-thigh!  I’m sure it was actually not that far of a stretch, but it felt like it by the end of the afternoon!

We had a very nice day.  It got a little hot and we got a little hungry until we were done hiking, but we had a very nice anniversary day trip!

If you’ve never been to Ricketts Glen State Park before, I would encourage you to take a trip there!  It is one of the most naturally beautiful places in Pennsylvania.  If you’ve been there before, I’d love to hear about your experience!  Feel free to share your pictures on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #stateparkblog!

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