Waterfall Wonderland! Car Camping Trip: 2 Days and 1 Night At Ricketts Glen State Park!
Here’s the bottom line: Ricketts Glen is the best hike in Pennsylvania according to BackPacker magazine. It may also be one of the top hikes in the East. There are 22 named waterfalls, and the tallest, Ganoga Falls, is 94 feet. The other 21 falls range from 15 to 49 feet, plus, there are a dozen or more waterfalls that are unnamed.
At the center of the hike is Kitchen Creek, a torrential mountain stream that drops 1,000 feet down the face of the Allegheny Front. Starting at the bottom of the ravine, the trail runs a short ways then it’s up one branch of Kitchen Creek, a mile across the top, then down the other. The man-made pathway is stone steps, ledges, and wooden bridges, made of timbers the size of telephone poles. On your way through the bottom of the ravine, you pass through Glens Natural Area, where there is exotic flora growing beneath 500-year-old hemlocks, pines, and oaks. We will enjoy a well-worn forest path, shale walkways, and dirt roads through a natural area of 500-year-old trees; walk alongside a raging mountain stream past 22 naked waterfalls.
Photos courtesy of fellow group member and professional photographer,Tom C, owner of TCproimages. He took the pics on this page from the last time we were there with our group. As you can see, this area is truly spectacular!
Click Here to enjoy pictures from a past camping trip to Ricketts Glen!
What is Car Camping?
Several people have been asking about car camping. I will give you a hint...it does NOT involve sleeping in your car (unless that is what you prefer). Click here to find out what car camping is all about!
The Plan and The Hike
Saturday is for enjoying the lake or just exploring the area. The hike will be Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. at staggered times based on pace. Please remember that we do not hike in large groups because it is not as much fun for us, you, our leaders, or others enjoying the trail that day. Last but not least, it is not healthy for the trails and against our Leave No Trace pledge to hike in a big group. We have SEVERAL leaders for this trip. There are a lot of activities and adventures are limitless. Worlds End park is just up the road a piece and several members have enjoyed exploring that area and said it is very nice and most certainly with checking out. But, the main event will be the waterfall hike on Sunday and of course, roaring campfires and socializing Saturday evening, yay! We have found a near perfect balance (always room for improvement as nothing is perfect, especially when Mother Nature is involved) of being able to have a large, fun social the night before the hike where we can meet newer members and catch up with the ones we might already know and enjoy gathering around bonfires. But come morning, we breakdown into our smaller, more intimate groups to explore and hike the falls based on your pace and preferred hike time. We will NOT hike in large groups as we want this to be a stress free and relaxing experience for everyone.
Paddle and Fishing Opportunities Abound!
If you would like to paddle on Saturday I have heard a few people say they are bringing their kayaks/canoes along to enjoy the lake the day we arrive. We will be brining all 4 of our SOT kayaks with paddles, PFD's, and large dry bags. One of our kayaks is a fishing kayak with a fish finder, fish well, and plenty of rod holders. The other three are recreational kayaks. All are for anyone who is interested to use on a first come first serve basis. All paddling will be on the beautiful crystal clear lake so it is peaceful flat water paddling or kayak fishing. Also, you will have time to paddle and explore after the hike too, even in nearby Worlds End Park which is down the road a piece. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance as that is what I am here for. The fishing is supposed to be superb in this area too!
Note Regarding Cell Reception at the Campground:
The park has limited cell phone coverage.
We break down into groups no larger than 15 hikers per leader/sweep team for a more enjoyable experience for all of us and is better for the environment. Large groups really take away from the hiking experience. This also allows us to offer a variety of hike paces and for this particular hike you have 4 to choose from, which allows us to be put together with those of a similar pace. Paces should be not only based on your preference but also ability needs to be taken into consideration. This will not be a crowded hike.
Pace Option 1: Take a Ton of Pics Pace! If you choose this pace, please note the hike will take much longer and I cannot tell you much longer because we won't know until we are out there. If you are looking for a walk in the woods pace to enjoy nature but without as many stops for pictures with time to setup tripods and adjust lenses, then please choose pace 2. If you choose this pace (Option 1), please... no complaints or comments about how long the hike takes because you are going into this well informed-grin
Pace Option 2: A "walk in the woods" or "social" pace which is great for those who want to soak up the nature at a little slower pace than the average hiker. This is also the pace for those new to hiking who might need some rest stops. But, it is not a stroll and we will keep a minimum pace of 2.0. Please join pace option 1, if you cannot keep a 2.0 pace.
Pace Option 3: A moderate pace of about 2.5-3.0mph (we will have multiple groups at this pace since it is the most requested pace). The pace of an average hiker and the focus is on keeping it moving but of course we will stop to take in the sights and take some pics or why even come here?
Pace Option 4:A very strenuous and fast challenging pace of about 4.0 led by Justin. No complaints about this pace being too fast because you knew what you were getting into when you signed up for it-grin!
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Williamsport
Length: 7.1 total miles
Terrain: Follow a well-worn forest path, shale walkways, and dirt roads through a natural area of 500-year-old trees; walk alongside a raging mountain stream past 22 naked waterfalls
Elevation Gain: 1,081 feet
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: Moderate but since we offer an easy pace option, it makes this a hike for everyone, yay! If you are a new hiker or uncertain of your skill level, please select the hike pace option 1.
Duration: Will vary based on which pace you hike
Season: Year round
Trailhead Elevation: 1,220 feet
Top Elevation: 2,200 feet
Local Contacts: Ricketts Glen State Park
Local Maps: USGS Red Rock
Food, Gear, and Getting There
Please note there are three main topics to chat about for this trip in the comment section below. One is to discuss food, another for carpooling and transportation issues, and lastly and most importantly, gear (who has what to loan, share, or borrow, etc.)
My suggestion is for carpoolers to meetup at Savage Station at 11:00 a.m. on May 4th, because check-in at our camp sites is not until 3:00 p.m. The drive is estimated to take 3.5 hours so it is not a very long drive and time flies by when you are talking with new or known friends (not to mention enjoying the scenery) on your way to this spectacular destination! Of course you may arrive earlier, however you will not be able to access the camp sites..but you can enjoy all the nearby parks, lake, and amenities!
Click Here for Directions to Savage Station Carpool Location.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations such as the DC area, please feel free to do so. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!
Directions to the Campground
Click Here for Directions to the Campground.
Fido is welcome on this weekend adventure if you stay in the parks dog friendly camp sites. We can accommodate dogs for this trip but we MUST have information about them as soon as possible. To reserve a dog friendly spot, please make your request via e-mail to [masked] and NOT in your RSVP, or the comment area because chances are I will not see it in time. Please note that simply writing that you will be bringing your dog does not get you a dog friendly spot. Thanks for your understanding. At this point and time I have rented enough of the dog friendly spots so that 4 dogs can come.
We are camping on the big loop and have lake access so there should be great views of the lake and not other campsites! I reserved these sites about 6 months in advance so we could good great spots!
I wanted to ensure everyone would have a great view of the lake, or if they prefer, near (not next to) the restrooms with hot showers!
"There are no refunds for this event. I paid for all sites for when I made the reservations so I take a hit if they do not fill, which is my problem and not yours. However, before you commit, I just want it to be clear that there are no refunds, exchanges, selling or giving away your space, or applying the money for this trip to a future trip if you pay and then are unable to go. Please keep that in mind before signing up as I do not want any misunderstandings. No refunds, period. If you disagree with this, please do not sign up. Thanks and let's have a great trip”
Call, text, or e-mail me if you have any questions as that is what I a here for. Let's have good times and see you on the trail!
Kellie Carlisle: [masked]
Mike Harris: [masked]
Bill Myette: [masked]
Justin C.: [masked]