Rickets Glen Falls Loop

MODERATE 283 reviews
#2 of 10 trails in

Rickets Glen Falls Loop is a 6.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Fairmount Township, Pennsylvania that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,010 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

trail running

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

muddy

rocky

scramble

Falls Trail in Ricketts Glen State Park is the classic hike in the park. It's also one of the best hikes in all of Pennsylvania and is considered by many to be the single best waterfall hike in the eastern United States. The 7-mile semi-loop through both Ganoga Glen and Glen Leigh visits 21 named waterfalls, the highest being 94' Ganoga Falls. Start your journey at the bottom of the glens along Highway 118, parking at either the Evergreen Parking Area on the south side of the highway, or the small picnic area and trailhead on the north side. If parking at the Evergreen Parking Area, pick up a park map at the kiosk and carefully walk across the highway to reach the start of the Falls Trail on the west bank of Kitchen Creek. If you're starting from the picnic area, a short connector trail takes you across a bridge over Kitchen Creek to join the main Falls Trail. For the first mile, Falls Trail follows an old roadbed on a mostly level course along Kitchen Creek. You'll be in a mixed hardwood forest for the entire hike. Because the steep terrain in the glens prevented logging, you'll pass through some old growth forest along the way. Spruce trees become more common as you climb in elevation. If you're hiking in the spring, look for blossoming dogwood trees and a variety of wildflowers. You'll cross two sturdy wooden bridges over Kitchen Creek before reaching a split in the trail. Here, the Lower Trail to the right descends to follow very closely along the bank of Kitchen Creek. This trail is occasionally quite exposed and can also be flooded if Kitchen Creek is running high. To your left, the alternate Upper Trail climbs briefly, then contours along the hillside on a wide path. Both the Lower and Upper Trails reunite at the first waterfall in the Glens: 16' Murray Reynolds Falls. While not particularly high, this waterfall is quite beautiful and provides a taste of what you'll encounter further up the trail. As you pass each waterfall, look for small wooden signs identifying the name of the fall. These signs are attached directly to the rock on the opposite side of the creek, usually near the crest of the waterfall. Continue on a gradual climb along Kitchen Creek, passing 36' Sheldon Reynolds Falls and 27' Harrison Wright Falls before reaching a major trail junction at Waters Meet. Here, the trails split, with the Ganoga Glen Trail continuing straight up the west bank of Kitchen Creek while the Glen Leigh Trail crosses a bridge to your right to climb up into Glen Leigh. Waters Meet is an idyllic spot, with waterfalls visible up both of the glens. For our hike, we'll climb up Ganoga Glen, then take the Highland Trail over to Glen Leigh, where we'll descend into Glen Leigh and eventually return to this spot. Starting up Ganoga Glen, the trail passes 47' Erie Falls, 47' Tuscarora Falls, and 17' Conestoga Falls. The trail gradually becomes steeper and more narrow as you climb up the glen. Staircases assembled from natural stone help with the ascent of the steeper sections, but lack guardrails of any kind. Water seeps down onto the trail from above, meaning that you are virtually guaranteed to encounter muddy, slippery conditions at any time of year. Continuing your climb up the glen, cross a side stream on a wooden bridge and come to 39' Mohican Falls. Pass 37' Delaware Falls and 12' Seneca Falls before passing a trail junction on your left. This signed trail connects to the Ganoga View Trail and the Old Beaver Dam Road Trail to the west of Ganoga Glen. Looking up the glen, you will shortly see Ganoga Falls. At 94', it's the highest waterfall in the park, and twice as high as any of the other waterfalls. Before climbing to the top of the falls, you'll want to take an unmarked side path to your right that leads to the base of the falls. This is where you'll find the best view of the entire waterfall. At the top of the falls, views are limited as the trail has to climb above a steep embankment rather than follow along the bank of the stream. Resist the temptation to wander off-trail down the embankment, as this is where many accidents occur. Continuing uphill, you'll pass 11' Cayuga Falls, 13' Oneida Falls, and 37' Mohawk Falls before reaching a major trail junction. Here, turn right on the Lake Rose Trail and continue uphill. The trail to the left connects to the Old Beaver Dam Road Trail. The Lake Rose Trail eventually leads up to the Lake Rose Trailhead, a possible alternative start if you want to do a shorter loop and still see most of the park's waterfalls. After 0.2 miles, turn right onto the Highland Trail for the traverse over to Glen Leigh. The trail here is very different than the one you've been on so far. It's mostly a level walk through the woods. Enroute to Glen Leigh, you'll pass through Midway Crevasse, a narrow passageway through a rock formation of Pocono sandstone.

7 days ago

Great hike, the rain made the falls magnificent. Glad we did what was recommended and went up the steeper side and wearing a great pair of waterproof hiking boots is essential.

hiking
13 days ago

What a spectacular place to hike! I definitely agree with others' recommendations to park at the Route 118 lot and head out from there, going clockwise around the loop. The steep steps are easier to climb up than to descend. Wear appropriate footwear, as everything is wet and can be slippery. Where the Falls Trail and the Highland Trails meet, we took a short walk to the Lake Rose parking area in search of picnic tables. We didn't find any, but instead sat on the ledge of the pavilion to eat. There are restrooms there, and trash cans in the restrooms. The descent takes you very close to the edge of some of the falls, and the steps are still a little steep, so if you have a fear of heights- as I do- prepare yourself for that. Swimming is prohibited, although that didn't stop several people from getting in the water (insert frowny face here). It did feel good to splash some cold water on our faces, though! We departed the parking lot around 10 am, and since I stopped multiple times to take pictures, it took us around 6 hours. Crowds weren't too bad for the first half, but increased as we went down the East side of the Falls Trail. I imagine if you go during the week, or get started even earlier, it probably isn't too bad. All in all a fantastic day!

14 days ago

I think this may have been the most beautiful hike we’ve ever done in PA!

21 days ago

I love this place! Started the Falls Trail at 9:30..Just, early enough before it gets to busy..Because of all the rain the past week, the water and the falls were roaring along! If your going to hike this trail, the one important thing you need to do is wear the right footwear!! It’s slippery, some parts are steep and rocky.. You should definitely take time and go enjoy Ricketts Glen State Park!!!

hiking
23 days ago

Gorgeous! Worth the sweat!

27 days ago

Worthy!!

hiking
29 days ago

1 month ago

This is beautiful

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike with the family yesterday. We hiked the outer loop and also all of the extension trails. It was a total of 8.5 miles and that took us 5 hours to complete.

1 month ago

Very awsome trail tons of water falls to see wonderful views

hiking
1 month ago

Challenging trail at times. Starts out generally flat from the parking lot until you reach the falls. The steps can be a bit hard for even a seasoned hiker. Take your time while walking up hill and make sure you keep an eye on your feet positioning! There are some narrow areas of the trail that are on bare rock and become very slippery with drop offs that can be very dangerous. Since the path follows a stream mosquitoes can be a "bug"I did this hike on a Monday evening after work around 5 pm. With very little stops, this took me about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

hiking
1 month ago

We started at the bottom, went around the loop, and back down again. It was phenomenal! We passed several people not very well equipped for the hike, so please dress accordingly. I wouldn't recommend it for small children.

2 months ago

This is a great hike. Be ready for the steps up, then down or in reverse order. We took our time, starting at Rt 118 lot, it was well marked out and we finished just in about 4 hours. A Tuesday day trip did not have the foot traffic we were warned about, we started at noon. It's not for you if you want a leisurely stroll or you don't do steps well.

hiking
2 months ago

Best hike ever! I imagine heaven looks very similar to the falls trail.

hiking
2 months ago

My favorite HARD trail! Beautiful and breathtaking waterfalls, old growth forests, steep steps, narrow muddy trails and stone features.

2 months ago

Went about a month ago and got there around 9:30am. There was just a hand full of people but it gradually got busier as the day went on. It is a great hike and the waterfalls are a amazing bonus. lol steep in some places but it didn't bother me. Wear hiking shoes because of slippery spots. I took my time and even ate my lunch at the bigger fall. I would do it again. I did the loop and even hiked another trail that was right there.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a super excellent trail. With a different entrance to the loop, you can select the appropriate length for your trip. If you start from the main parking lot as we did, you can spend the first half of your trip gaining elevation and end your trail heading back down.
I would rate the loop portion moderate-difficult because of the slippery rocks (the trail is always wet because of the proximity of the streams and falls) and also because some of the stairs are a bit steep. Get an earlyish start to avoid the crowds that appear midday.

2 months ago

This is the best trail we’ve ever done!!!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail! Perfect when it's really hot (yesterday was in the 80s) and the trail is mostly shaded and you also get a lot of cool mist off the waterfalls along the trail side so it didn't seem overly hot. Beautiful views. It is heavily trafficked with people and four legged friends.

2 months ago

Amazing trail. Our family had a blast! The falls were beautiful. Definitely a challenging trail.

hiking
2 months ago

I must have been there the time as reviewer Emily Goss below. Lots of water, excellent hike. DCNR has a gem here.

hiking
2 months ago

Perfect after a few days of rain! The falls were rushing and it was a nice challenge.

hiking
3 months ago

Done this hike many times, it is the best hike in PA.

3 months ago

This is a beautiful hike. Definitely more moderate than hard. There are so many waterfalls! Only thing is even on an unseasonably cold, cloudy, and a little drizzly/snowy day the trail was fairly crowded.

hiking
3 months ago

the waterfalls are beautiful and this hike is a must if you love waterfalls! I added in the old beaver damn loop for an extra 4.5 miles and for some seclusion (there's nothing special to see in this loop, but it was very nice and quiet) the only down side to this hike is the falls trails get very busy

hiking
3 months ago

If you live nearby you must do this hike! The falls are stunning! The trail is well maintained, and while there are a few steep parts, there are stairs the entire way up. Because of that, would rate this as easy to moderate. We took our dogs. The only downside was that everyone on the trail had their dogs out too. Took us about 3 hours. It was a lovely afternoon outing. Can’t wait to come back this summer.

8 months ago

This is a great hike.

Just an FYI for others going in winter. the Falls trail is closed unless you have crampons, rope and an ice axe. You have to register in the main office.

hiking
9 months ago

This is one of if not my all time favorite hike. If you go early in the morning you can have the trail all to yourself.

hiking
9 months ago

This hike is beautiful but most spectacular in the fall and the waterfalls continue to amaze me. The steps and rocks can get a little slippery when wet and with leaves. Good hiking shoes are recommended. In comparison to other hikes I would rate it moderate. This will always be one of my most favorite hikes.

hiking
10 months ago

A great hike! It is fairly narrow at points with a lot of people so it can slow you down. Wear boots! The rocks and steps can get slippery. We did the entire loop from Rte. 118, worth the extra miles. We took a left where the trails meet and went up the left side of the falls. Although it is steeper, I thought this was better than going up the right so we didn't have to traverse down the slippery rocks. It makes the Glenoga falls (94') even better when you see it first from the bottom.

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