On Independence Day, Sarah and I decided to go hiking at Ricketts Glen, a nearby state park. While the park is best known for its Falls Trail, with over 20 named waterfalls, and that trail is on our list of things to do before we leave PA, we chose to put together a loop with the Old Beaver Dam Road Trail and the Ganoga View Trail. Here’s a map of our hike.
View Ganoga View trail at Ricketts Glen 07/04/2009 in a larger map
The park was quite busy. I’ve only been there a few times before, but this was the busiest I’ve seen it. Not surprising, I suppose, given the holiday. Fortunately, the trails we chose had relatively few people on them.
We started out on the Old Beaver Dam Road Trail, which as its name suggests is an old fire road. The scenery was maily ferns, various hardwoods and pine trees, and the wide trail. There was a fair amount of mud, as well, but hiking was mostly easy.
After a while, we saw a side trail with a sign saying 0.3 miles to the Falls Trail, and a view of Ganoga Falls. Despite the fact that we were largely avoiding the Falls Trail, we decided it couldn’t hurt to go check it out. The trail dropped a couple hundred feet rather steeply. The Falls Trail was very busy, as we expected, but the waterfall was impressive. My photos don’t really do it justice, apparently Ganoga Falls is the highest waterfall there, at 94 feet. We did not make the trek down to the bottom of the falls. We’ll go back sometime and hike the Falls Trail in its entirety.
We made our way back up and got on the Ganoga View trail. The trail was grassy and a bit overgrown in places. I wore shorts, but that might not have been the best choice, given all the brush we had to walk through. We crossed a few streams and saw lots of mountain laurel, much of it in bloom.
Sarah asked me to sit on a rock so she could take my picture. As I sat there, on a rock, surrounded by ferns, I noticed wild blueberries growing all around. Only some of them were ripe, but those that were ripe were quite delicious. A great find.
This trail was a little more difficult than the old fire road; it was a bit rocky and was somewhat overgrown. And we were climbing for quite a while. But overall, it wasn’t terribly strenuous. There weren’t really any mountain views, but there might be during the winter. Still, it was a very beautiful hike through the woods. Some even denser ferns nearly enveloped the trail.
We hiked about 4.6 miles. It was a great way to celebrate the holiday, and we managed to avoid the crowds that were on the Falls Trail. I look forward to going back and hiking that sometime. It’s long and difficult, so that will be a different experience altogether. But with 22 waterfalls, it should be worth it.