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Backpacker Magazine – January/February 2010

Readers' Choice Northeast Hikes: Ricketts Glen State Park, PA

22 falls in a one day. Need we say more?

by: Northeast Reader Map Team

Ricketts Glen State Park, PA (P. Michael Photoz/AKA/AGEFOTOSTOCK)
Ricketts Glen State Park, PA (P. Michael Photoz/AKA/AGEFOTOSTOCK)

See which other trips made it into our annual awards.
Ricketts Glen State Park, PA | Panther Gorge and Mt. Marcy, Adirondack Park, NY | Bernard Mountain, Acadia National Park, ME | Vermont's Green Mountains Foliage | Maine's 100-Mile Wilderness | Burroughs Range Loop, Catskill Mountain Preserve, NY |

“Excuse the pun,” says Scott Adams, “but Ricketts Glen blows all other Northeast waterfall hikes out of the water.” The 7.1-mile hike averages three cascades per mile, the tallest of which tumbles 94 feet off Red Rock Mountain. In other words, it has both quantity and quality.

Start from the Falls trailhead off PA 118, 30 miles west of Wilkes-Barre, and follow the path as it crisscrosses gurgling Kitchen Creek for 1.3 easy miles through a forest of 500-year-old hemlock, oak, birch, ash, and maple. At 1.8 miles, you’ll reach the confluence of Kitchen Creek’s two branches. The trail lollipops up one gorge to the Highland Trail, which connects to another for the return. Head up Glen Leigh Gorge to approach Adams’s favorite falls from below. Forty-one-foot Huron Falls (the fifth falls in Glen Leigh) cascades over multiple steps through the narrow gorge to a rocky amphitheater with a natural bench.

Driving From Wilkes-Barre, take PA 309 six miles north to Dallas. Turn left onto the Memorial Hwy. and go 4.5 miles to PA 118. Turn left and drive 16.3 miles to the trailhead.

Map and Guide Download a free map at

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Reader Rating: -


Oct 27, 2011

is swimming allowed in/on the falls?

Fawn Jolly
Apr 10, 2010

I grew up about 20 minutes away from Ricketts Glen, and was a Lifeguard there in the summer....Great memories!! I really miss it, what a beautiful, historic park..

Mar 26, 2010

Does anyone know where I can find a trail map?

Mar 11, 2010

Can anyone who has hike this before hike with me April 2 or 3rd? - day hike only

Mike Ball
Feb 27, 2010

I have been makeing trips to Ricketts for more then 30 years now. For many years it was the best kept secreat of the PA Park system. When my boys were still at home we went there many times camping, fishing, kayaking, and hiking. I still make the trip at least once a year. Although at age 56 it is at a little slower pace. But at a slower pace I have learnd to really see things I would have missed years before. ( keep your feet dry )

Feb 20, 2010

I've done this hike at least once a year for more than 25 years. Most folks start at the top and come in from the state park headquarters side.Hiking up from the bottom is far better, you see the highest falls in front of you, rather than at your back or side. If you hike the falls trail in winters freezing weather, do your homework. The very narrow and occasional cliff edge trail can become very icy and dangerous. Crampons are sometimes necessary for traction. Weekends are very busy in spring, summer and fall, many tourists on the trail. Go on a weekday! And don't miss the additional falls on the other side of the highway. Afterwords, drive over to World's End and check out the view from the vista point. You see why they call it the Endless Mountains region!

Correct Links
Feb 19, 2010

The correct link to Pennsylvania's state parks: and to the park:

Correct Links
Feb 19, 2010

The correct link to Pennsylvania's state parks: and to the park:

Karen wernert
Feb 18, 2010

I used to live in Pennsylvania, and went there about 3 times. I LOVE it!! Whenever anyone says they are going to PA to hike around the Poc. Mtns. I tell them to skip the hype and go to Ricketts glen for a challenging hike and the most beautiful waterfalls on the east coast. I want to go back one of these days when I visit. I live in flat Florida now.

Patrick Gensel
Jan 28, 2010

Love this trail, I live about 20 minutes away, and get up there quite a bit, I did a recent write up on winter hiking on my website


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