Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Wait, you’ve never seen a waterfall?

This past summer I worked at a camp where I met a college student from Illinois. Somehow through conversation I found out she had never seen a waterfall. That’s when I decided we’re going to Ricketts Glen.

Ricketts Glen State Park is a not-so-hidden gem in our own backyard. It’s located about 45 minutes north of Bloomsburg and is full of fun (and free!) activities.

I’ve probably hiked all or most of the 7.2-mile Falls Trail System at least 25 times in my life, and my family visits Lake Jean at least once a year to go kayaking. Hiking at Ricketts Glen is my favorite thing to do. If I’m planning on walking slowly, I make sure to bring my camera along to take some beautiful nature shots.

Ricketts Glen is mostly known for its 26 miles of hiking trails, especially the Falls Trail System — home to 22 waterfalls on a 7.2-mile loop. There are multiple places to begin and end, and you don’t have to hike the whole thing if you don’t want to.

The waterfalls on the Falls Trail range in size from 11-feet-tall, to the monstrous 94-foot Ganoga waterfall. I love seeing the look on people’s faces when I take them hiking for the first time.

The whole time they ask, “Is that the big waterfall?”

I always reply, “You’ll know when we get to it.”

Photos never quite do it justice, either.

Autumn is one of the best times of year to visit Ricketts Glen, because it boasts some beautiful foliage when the leaves start to turn. According to some reports, this year could be one of the best seasons for it!

This year, I found most colorful leaves at Ricketts Glen were on the trails and near the Western Boat Launch of Lake Jean. During the summer though, Lake Jean is definitely the place to be.

There are multiple cabins and campsites, and a beach for those who can’t make it to the ocean over summer vacation. The beach has sand, water and a lifeguard. The only difference between Lake Jean and the Jersey Shore is a boardwalk!

From Memorial Day until Labor Day there is a concession stand and rental station where you can rent boats, kayaks, paddle-boats and canoes. The cabins and campsites are open most of the year, and the lake is open year-round to those with their own boats to go boating or fishing.

Like I said, the park is open year-round. However, hike at your own risk!

The Falls Trail System is the most difficult trail in the park and can lead to serious injury if you’re not careful. Another thing to note is no cell phone service in the park. If you get injured, calling 911 should still work, however it will take responders quite a bit of time to reach your location since there is a lack of access roads for vehicles and ATVs.

— Dallas Kriebel, senior mass communications major #AGreatPlaceToBeYou

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