Scenic USA - Pennsylvania
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Points of Interest
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|Photos by Ben Prepelka
Featuring all the allure and appeal of a national park, Ricketts Glen in central Pennsylvania is often cited as the best day hike in the East. With over 20 waterfalls within a 3.5 mile loop trail, this state park always ranks in the top tier. Its 26 miles of trails are set in a rugged landscape, highlighted with rocky cliffs, old growth timber and 13,000 acres of scenic beauty.
Although a majority of the forest area was clear-cut during the late 1800s, the falls area was spared. Offering one of the main attractions in the area, R. Bruce Ricketts opened the North Mountain House hotel, taking four years to construct waterfall trails.
Following a typical pattern of 19th century logging abuse, the National Park Service made initial plans to rescue this section of Pennsylvania forestland. Depression Era woes and a costly World War II derailed the NPS plan, opening the door for the State of Pennsylvania to step in.
Among waterfalls ranging from nine to 94 feet, Ganoga Falls is the tallest waterfall in the park and attracts a great deal of attention. Ricketts named the majority of the falls, taking names from Native Tribes, family and friends. The full falls trail is just over seven miles, where the upper and lower falls areas cross Route 118. There are so many wonderful cascades and waterfalls folowing the branches of Kitchen Creek, Ricketts Glen State Park visitors can take in all or any part of the three glens.
Park Waterfalls Base Map
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