Legend of Glen Onoko hike

We will meet at the picnic table in the parking lot.  Please use the coordinates above on your gps or in google maps.

Manual waiting list available, you will get an email when a spot opens and first person to respond gets in.

Should be around 4-6 mile hike, or bail out point at 2 miles if you want something shorter.

Glen Onoko, located in Carbon County, was known as Hatchet Falls back in the day, and it has an ancient legend of love and denial attached to its falling waters.

Its said that the spirit of Indian princess Onoko haunts the Falls, on the east side of Broad Mountain. There are two stories involving her.

The first is that she was in love with a white settler, upsetting her dad, the Chief, no end. He had the guy thrown over the falls to his death, solving one problem but causing another when his daughter, witnessing her Romeo's execution, also threw herself over the falls to join her lover eternally.

The second is pretty similar, except the suitor rejected by her pop was Opachee, a mere brave and thus unworthy of his daughter's hand in the chief's eyes. She tossed herself over the falls when the Chief forbid their marriage. Pretty picky guy, if you ask us.

At any rate, legend goes that at 9:15 AM of any bright, sunny morning, the "Spirit of the Mist," as Onoko's ghost is known, appears as a veiled Lady in White floating over the boiling waters below the Falls.

Charles Skinner, in his 1896 book Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, has his own tale. In his story, Onoko is a mighty Lenni-Lanape chief. He was big, strong, and daring. Onoko was engaged to Wenonah, the fairest of her tribe, and had known nothing but success in peace, war, and love.

And as we all know, nothing tweaks the gods as much as a godlike mortal. The envious Miche Manitou, a Delaware tribe evil spirit akin to the Norse Loki, had all he could take of the noble Onoko.

One day while the happy pair were paddling around in a canoe whispering sweet nothings, Manitou struck. Skinner described him with "the scowl of hatred...on his face, thunder crashed about his head, and fire snapped from his eyes..." He was one peeved spirit.

He split the mountains, creating a huge crevasse 1,000 feet deep. The waters rushed through them, carrying our suddenly star-crossed lovers to certain doom. They wrapped their arms around each other and met their fate together. Manitou stormed back to his mountain lair, no doubt thinking it was good to be a god.

No ghosties came from the Skinner lore, just a couple of geographic tidbits. The watery chasm that Manitou created is now known as the Lehigh River. And the memory of Onoko is forever preserved in the name of a glen and cascade a short distance above Mauch Chunk.

Be careful if you want to take a little trek and try to spy Onoko. Glen Onoko Falls Trail is a very intense loop hike with 875 foot rise. A sign at the trail head warns hikers that several people have fallen to their deaths on the path. But if you can get there in one piece, it's worth the trip.

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  • Jim M.

    Nice meeting you all and thanks Salve for setting it all up. The ridge hike you recommended afterwards was excellent as well!

    March 25, 2013

  • Tom

    Great hike, thanks Salve!

    March 24, 2013

  • Salve

    Great weather!

    March 24, 2013

  • Charlie

    I always enjoy a new hike. That was a good one. Thanks Salve.

    March 24, 2013

  • Laura H

    Great hike - thanks Salve for organizing and leading!

    1 · March 24, 2013

  • Kevin W.

    No traction for my boots either. Hopefully someone from the list can take my spot.

    March 23, 2013

  • Salve

    David/Cindi, we are doing the glen onoko water falls trail in the lehigh gorge state park, if you plug the coordinates above into your gps or into google maps it will take you right to the parking lot.

    March 23, 2013

  • Cindi R.

    Hi. where are you meeting?

    March 23, 2013

  • Donna

    I wish spring would hurry up and get here so we don't have to worry about ice.

    March 23, 2013

  • David C

    Where are you hiking? I'm looking at the dcnr map of the park and the only loop trail I see is near the Rockport access area. Or are you taking the Lehigh Gorge trail and starting near marker 107?

    March 23, 2013

  • Salve

    Folks, I don't know what the conditions are like up there, usually with water falls, there can be icy spots if it's cold enough, hence my suggestion for traction devices. If you don't have them, you have to ask yourself if being in an icy or slick enviornment going up hill or down hill can freak you out. If it does then I suggest you sit this one out. If you have an adventurous spirit then you could probably get thru it.

    March 22, 2013

  • Eugene

    I have to leave town earlier than I expected so my spot's available too- enjoy everyone! Hope to try this hike another time!

    March 22, 2013

  • Christie C.

    I don't have traction devices, so I'm dropping out. Someone from the wait list can have my spot.

    March 22, 2013

  • Olimbi

    my +1 is not going to make it, so one spot opens for the waitlist. I will be driving from west philly/university city if anyone wants to carpool. depending on the number, may carpool with Salve from Quakertown.

    March 22, 2013

  • Salve

    Forgot to mention, there are restrooms at the park. The cold weather will make using them tolerable.

    March 21, 2013

  • Salve

    Folks due to the colder weather, I highly recommend having traction devices for your feet. I'll be able to carpool from quakertown park and ride and can fit 3 more, email me.

    March 20, 2013

  • Pam W.

    Love this hike. I couldn't go this Sunday anyway but would love to go again in the spring.

    March 18, 2013

  • Charlie

    Hey all fellow hikers, I drive a crew cab F350 & my gf & I wouldn't mind some company on our trek north. We hail from the NE philly & Bristol area. Any takers?

    March 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Have a great hike everyone. I am not able to attend any longer. So I am giving up my spot to the wait list. Enjoy!

    March 17, 2013

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