My exploration of the Appalachians continued yesterday by a gorgeous hike through Ricketts Glen. In this part of Pennsylvania, a ravine is known as a glen. The hike mostly followed Kitchen Creek, a river that flows down the Allegheny Front (the divide that separates the Mississippi and Chesapeake Bay water sheds) through 23 named waterfalls. I have hike to many waterfalls before in my home state of Michigan and I have never seen so many falls in such close proximity. The approximately 4 mile loop of the Falls Trail and Highland Trail was a good length for a family, with some members not very interested in hiking.
The area is named Civil War colonel R. Bruce Ricketts. He made a fortune as a huge land owner through lumber, clear-cutting much of the area except the area around the ravines. There are many old-growth trees along the hike. Old trees are sacred to me and seeing the 300-year old behemoths is awesome. Ricketts’ ancestors gradually sold pieces of his properties to the Pennsylvania State Games Lands. Eventually conservations became involved after World War II and it became the Ricketts Glen State Park. Ricketts also put in three dams and today swimmers and boaters enjoy Lake Jean, named after one of his daughters.
The king of the waterfalls is 94-foot high Ganoga Falls. Many of the falls on the trail are named after Native American tribes, but the origin of Ganoga is unknown. The second highest falls are “only” 61 feet high, so Ganoga stands out. All of the waterfalls are beautiful in their own right and all of them would be enough to make a hike worth seeing. Walking by so many of them is incredible and I recommend the trail. I see why it is so popular.