(Above photo taken by Jim Murphy at Linn Run.)
Few things are as inexplicably beautiful as a waterfall.
The sight of falling water. The roaring of water crashing on rocks below. The mist gently rising and then falling. Waterfalls are exquisite reminders of the beautiful gifts nature provides us, as long as we’re willing to go find them.
Pennsylvania is fortunate to have so many incredible waterfalls. The 13,193-acre Ricketts Glen State Park has 22 named waterfalls alone. But some of us aren’t comfortable hiking for hours into the woods to take part in nature’s beauty. Some of us want to run and hike trails that have easily accessible waterfalls.
There’s no shame in it. We all have to start somewhere.
During my visit to all 121 Pennsylvania State Parks this year, I identified some very easy hikes and runs that feature a waterfall.
Ricketts Glen State Park – Adam’s Falls
We have to start this list off with the mack daddy of Pennsylvania waterfall viewing experiences: Ricketts Glen State Park. There are 22 named waterfalls to see at Ricketts Glen State Park and all of them are worthy of your time and effort. However, if you just want to go on a quick hike or run AND see a waterfall, you’ll want to take the Evergreen Trail.
From the parking lot, you’ll hop on the Evergreen Trail for a few a couple minutes before reaching Adam’s Falls
Adam’s Falls has two drops and provides visitors with an easily accessible and beautiful waterfall within a short walk. The mile-long trail provides runners a fun, challenging experience over a rooty and rocky path. Connect it with other trails for a longer, more challenging run.
Ohiopyle State Park – Ohiopyle Waterfall
If getting close to a waterfall with little effort is your aim, be sure to take the Ferncliff Trail in Ohiopyle State Park. While you can see the waterfall easily from the park in town, the rocky, difficult trail brings runners and hikers within feet of the Ohiopyle Waterfall as well as several rapids in the Youghiogheny River.
However, be careful of the slippery bounders as you make your way along the trail.
Linn Run State Park – Adam Falls
The 612-acre Linn Run State Park is a great place to spend an afternoon running, hiking, picnicking and sightseeing. One of the highlights is the Adam Falls Trail, which leads to, you guessed it, Adam Falls. It’s an easy short walk, hike or run from the picnic area and parking lot.
I recommend linking the Adam Falls Trail with the Flat Rock and Iscrupe Trails for a nice 2.25-mile run through beautiful scenery. There’s lots to see.
McConnells Mill State Park – Hells Run Falls
The Hells Hollow Trail in McConnells Mill State Park provides runners and hikers with a half-mile path that goes along Hells Run and ends at Hells Run Falls — a beautiful waterfall. Along the well-groomed trail, you’ll pass several very small waterfalls before reaching Hells Run Falls.
Be sure to bring a camera, you’ll want to capture these awesome sights.
Hickory Run State Park – Hawk Falls
You can spend a lifetime exploring Hickory Run State Park and still not see everything the park has to offer. While many visit to see the Boulder Field — which is a National Natural Landmark — I’m going to draw your attention to Hawk Falls.
This 25-foot waterfall is accessible through the Hawk Falls Trail. While only 0.6 miles long, it is a difficult hike through rhododendron thickets. But your perseverance will be rewarded with the beautiful Hawk Fall.
Christian Alexandersen ran one mile in each of Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks in 2021 and has been sharing with us stories and tips from his journey! To read more blog posts from Christian and other PPFF guest bloggers, visit our News page.
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