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Ricketts Glen State Park

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Ricketts Glen State Park: A Nature Lover’s Paradise

Nestled in the heart of Pennsylvania, Ricketts Glen State Park is a breathtaking natural sanctuary, renowned for its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities. This 13,050 acre park is a treasure trove of lush forests, diverse wildlife, and hiking trails, which lead adventurers past 22 stunning waterfalls. In this article, we’ll explore the wonders of Ricketts Glen, from its rich history to the plethora of activities that await nature enthusiasts.

Ricketts Glen State Park ranks among the most extraordinary places in Pennsylvania. Hiking its trails gives you the sensation of wandering through an almost mythical, wild landscape.

The land that is now Ricketts Glen State Park has a story that dates back centuries. Originally inhabited by Native American tribes, the area was later acquired by Colonel R. Bruce Ricketts in the late 19th century. Initially intended for timber harvesting, Ricketts’ appreciation for the land’s natural beauty led him to preserve much of it. In 1942, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased the land, establishing it as a state park. This rich history adds a layer of depth and appreciation as visitors explore the park’s trails and waterways.

Ricketts Glen State Park is a haven for biodiversity. The park is home to a variety of plant species, from towering hemlocks and oaks to delicate wildflowers. Wildlife enthusiasts may spot white-tailed deer, black bears, and various bird species, including the elusive barred owl. It’s a living classroom for nature lovers and an opportunity to connect with the area’s natural inhabitants.

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Lake Jean, the sparkling centerpiece of Ricketts Glen, is a hub for water enthusiasts. During the warmer months, the lake invites visitors for swimming, with a well-maintained beach providing the perfect spot for sunbathing and relaxation. For those interested in exploring the lake’s serene waters, kayak, canoe, and rowboat rentals are available, offering a peaceful way to enjoy the scenic surroundings. Fishing is another popular activity, with Lake Jean being home to a variety of fish species such as trout, bass, and panfish. The park often stocks the lake, making it an ideal destination for both novice and experienced anglers. Remember to have a valid Pennsylvania fishing license if you plan on fishing.

When winter blankets the park in snow, Ricketts Glen transforms into a playground for winter sports. Cross-country skiing on the park’s trails offers a tranquil way to explore the winter landscape, with the snow-covered waterfalls providing a stunning backdrop. For a more adrenaline-pumping experience, snowmobiling is permitted on designated trails, allowing visitors to traverse the park’s wintry terrain. Additionally, ice fishing on Lake Jean becomes a popular activity, offering a unique fishing experience amidst the serene, snowy setting. It’s important to check the thickness of the ice for safety before venturing out for ice fishing.

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These activities provide visitors with various ways to engage with the natural environment of Ricketts Glen State Park, creating memorable experiences for all ages and interests. Whether it’s paddling on the gentle waters of Lake Jean, casting a line in hopes of a catch, gliding through snowy trails, or enjoying the quiet beauty of ice fishing, the park ensures a delightful visit.

For those wishing to extend their stay, the park offers a range of camping options, from rustic sites to modern facilities with electric hookups. The park’s campground is well-maintained, with amenities such as hot showers and flush toilets, ensuring a comfortable experience for all campers. Additionally, nearby towns offer charming bed-and-breakfasts and hotels for those preferring more traditional accommodations.

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Ricketts Glen State Park is a splendid fusion of natural beauty, historical significance, and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat in nature, this park promises an unforgettable experience. As you walk the trails, gaze at the waterfalls, or relax by Lake Jean, you’re not just visiting a park; you’re immersing yourself in a piece of Pennsylvania’s natural heritage.

Ricketts Glen State Park Trails

Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania is a paradise for hikers, boasting a diverse array of trails that cater to various skill levels and interests. Each path offers a unique experience. In this section, we’ll delve into the specifics of the park’s most popular trails.

The Ricketts Glen Falls Loop, often the highlight for many visitors, is a stunning 7.2 mile trek that takes you past 22 breathtaking waterfalls. This trail is considered moderate to difficult, featuring some steep and rocky sections. As you meander through this path, you’ll encounter the majestic Ganoga Falls, the tallest in the park at 94 feet. Proper footwear and caution are advised, especially in wet conditions.

The Ricketts Evergreen Trail provides a more tranquil experience. This 1 mile loop is perfect for those seeking a shorter, less strenuous hike. It winds through lush evergreen forests, offering a peaceful ambiance. The trail’s relatively flat terrain makes it a great choice for families and those looking for a leisurely stroll in the woods.

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The Cherry Springs Loop is a lesser-known trail in the park. This 4 mile loop is moderately challenging and less crowded, making it ideal for hikers looking for solitude. The trail is named for the beautiful cherry trees that line parts of the path, offering a splendid display of blossoms in the spring. The loop also provides glimpses of the local wildlife and diverse plant life.

The Ricketts Glen Highland Trail is a 3 mile loop that offers a different perspective of the park. Situated at a higher elevation, it traverses through a variety of habitats, including wetlands and mature forests. This trail is moderately challenging and is known for its birdwatching opportunities, as it is home to various bird species, including woodpeckers and songbirds.

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For those seeking breathtaking panoramic views, the Ricketts Grand View Trail is a must-visit. This 1 mile hike leads to one of the highest points in Ricketts Glen State Park. The trail is moderately challenging, with some steep sections. Once at the top, hikers are rewarded with spectacular views of the entire park and surrounding countryside. It’s a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts and those looking to take in the grandeur of the landscape.

Ricketts Glen State Park’s hiking trails are a testament to the natural beauty of Pennsylvania. Each trail offers a unique experience, from the enchanting waterfalls to quiet beauty, from solitude and diverse habitats to stunning vistas. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a peaceful walk in nature, Ricketts Glen State Park has a trail that will fulfill your desires. Remember to respect the park’s natural environment and stay safe while enjoying the breathtaking beauty of these trails.

What’s Nearby Ricketts Glen State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park is surrounded by other remarkable destinations, each offering its own unique natural and recreational experiences. Hickory Run State Park, located in the western foothills of the Pocono Mountains, features over 40 miles of hiking trails, a stunning boulder field, and opportunities for camping and fishing, making it a great spot for outdoor enthusiasts. Dingmans Falls and Raymondskill Falls, situated in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, are two of Pennsylvania’s most spectacular waterfalls.

Moving to New York, Robert H. Treman State Park is a haven for hikers and nature lovers, famous for its rugged gorge known as Enfield Glen and Lucifer Falls, a dramatic 115 foot waterfall. Each of these locations, within a reasonable drive from Ricketts Glen, enriches the experience of visitors to the region with their unique natural and recreational offerings.

Ricketts Glen State Park Parking Information

Ricketts Glen State Park offers several convenient parking areas, with the most popular being the Lake Rose Parking for access to hiking trails, and the Beach Area Parking near Lake Jean for swimming, fishing, and picnicking. Parking can fill up quickly during peak times, so arriving early is advisable.

Located in northeastern Pennsylvania, the park is accessible via PA-487. From Bloomsburg, take PA-487 N for about 30 miles. From Wilkes-Barre, head west on PA-118, then north on PA-487. The park entrance is well-marked and located near the town of Red Rock. GPS systems usually provide accurate directions, but it’s wise to have a physical map as backup due to spotty cell service in the area.

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Ricketts Glen State Park Photos

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Ricketts Glen State Park Address & Directions

Ricketts Glen State Park, 695 PA-487, Benton, PA 17814


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