Ricketts Glen State Park

This a-corny 10 means this is a top 10 list.

Top 10 Things to do

There are dozens of fun activities at Ricketts Glen State Park, but here's a list to get you started.


Ricketts Glen harbors Glens Natural Area, a National Natural Landmark. Hike the Falls Trail System and explore the Glens, which boasts a series of wild, free-flowing waterfalls, each cascading through rock-strewn clefts in this ancient hillside. The 94-foot Ganoga Falls is the highest of 22 named waterfalls. Old growth timber and diverse wildlife add to the beauty. Ricketts Glen State Park is one of the most scenic areas in Pennsylvania. This large park is comprised of 13,050 acres in Luzerne, Sullivan, and Columbia counties.

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Hiking   -  Horseback Riding   -  Picnicking   -  Swimming   -  Boating   -  Fishing   -  Hunting   -  Education  -  Cross-country Skiiing   -  Snowmobiling   -  Ice Fishing   -  Organized Group Tenting   -  Cabins   -  Deluxe Camping Cottages   -  Camping

Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The park office is open specific hours. The beach, overnight areas, and other areas are open specific seasons and hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.

Picnic tables are near Lake Jean at Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania.Picnicking: Picnic facilities are located in the Lake Jean area and in the lower area off PA 118. A limited number of charcoal grills and hot charcoal disposals are located in the picnic areas.

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Swimming: The 600-foot beach is open from late-May to mid-September, 8:00 AM to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Please follow posted rules and regulations. A food and refreshment concession, boat rental and picnic facilities are nearby.

Swimming is permitted inside of the designated area only.

Smoking is prohibited on the beach and in the swimming area. For visitors who smoke and still want to use the beach, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided. The restriction includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars, e-cigarettes, and other handheld, lighted smoking devices.

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Food and Refreshment Concession: The snackbar is in the park's Beach Area. The concession can be accessed by Parking Lot 1 or Parking Lot 2 off of Main Park Road off of PA 487, 3.7-miles north of the town of Red Rock. The concession serves a variety of hot sandwiches along with cold and hot beverages and ice cream. Other items include candy, snack food, and ice. The concession is open (weather permitting) from Memorial Day through Labor day, 7-days per week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Boating: electric motors only
The 245-acre Lake Jean has dry mooring and two boat launches. A boat rental concession operates during the summer season and offers rowboats, paddleboats, kayaks and canoes.

Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.

A couple fish from shore by scenic Lake Jean at Rcketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania.Fishing: The 245-acre Lake Jean has warmwater game fish, panfish and trout. Fishing is prohibited in the Glens Natural Area.

Lake Jean Depth Black-and-white Map (.pdf)  (3,059 kb, 8/15)
Lake Jean Depth Color Map (.pdf)  (3,322 kb, 8/15)

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Hunting and Firearms: About 10,144 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey, grouse, bear, coyote, pheasant and squirrel. Common furbearers are raccoon, mink, muskrat, beaver, coyote and bobcat. About 83,000 acres of state game lands lie to the west and north of the park.

Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.

Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner’s vehicle or enclosed trailer. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.

Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.

Horseback Riding: 12.5-mile loop
Equestrian riders may enjoy taking a 12.5-mile loop by riding the Cherry Run Trail, Mountain Springs Road and Mountain Springs Trail. Sights to see include: old railroad grades, the dry lake bed of Mountain Springs Lake (formerly used to make ice) and an old concrete dam once used to hold back Lake Leigh (now a dry lake). Riders must bring their own mounts. Horses cannot be rented.

Hiking: 26 miles of trails
Trails vary from fairly level to very steep hills. The 26 miles of trails are a prime attraction of the park.

CAUTION: Hikers on the Falls Trail should be in good physical condition, wear sturdy boots, and use caution due to slippery/wet conditions and steep trail sections.

The following guidelines will help ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience while at the park.

  • Always wear sturdy boots. Wearing sneakers, sandals, “water shoes” and “street shoes” can lead to serious accidents in this park.
  • Be prepared. Have proper clothing and equipment (i.e. compass, map, matches, water, food, flashlight, etc.) available in case of an emergency. This is especially important when traveling remote trails or when hiking during non-summer seasons.
  • Give yourself plenty of time for your hike. The weather changes quickly in the park. Plan to be off the trails well before dark.
  • Let someone know where you are hiking and when you should return.
  • Stay on the trails. Leaving the trail causes damage to unique natural resources, promotes erosion and can be dangerous.
  • Don’t take shortcuts from one trail section to another. Taking shortcuts down switchbacks is dangerous and causes trail damage.
  • Double blazes indicate a change in the trail’s direction.

A hiker passes large evergreen trees and boulders at Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania.Falls Trail: 7.2 miles, most difficult hiking
The full loop of this trail is 7.2 miles if hiking both the upper and lower sections. To see most of the waterfalls, a 3.2-mile loop can be taken by going on Highland Trail and the Glen Leigh and Ganoga Glen sides of the trail. The trails follow along 21 beautiful waterfalls ranging in heights from 11 feet to 94 feet. The scenery is well worth the effort, however, the terrain is rocky, can be slippery and descends steeply on both the Ganoga and Glen Leigh sides. Hikers should take extra precautions with trail conditions, wear proper footwear, stay on the trail and be in good physical condition.

The Falls Trail is closed in the winter except for properly equipped ice climbers and hikers.

Beach Trail: 0.8-mile, easiest hiking
Campers in both camping areas can access the Lake Jean day-use and swimming areas without having to travel on a road.

Cherry Run Trail: 4.6 miles, more difficult hiking
Near the Lake Leigh dam is access to Cherry Run Trail, where hikers will pass through groves of cherry trees and view evidence of the old logging railroads that passed through this area over 100 years ago. Hikers can connect to Mountain Springs Trail by walking 3.5 miles on Mountain Springs Road.

Little Cherry Run Trail: 1 mile, more difficult hiking
This connector between Mountain Springs and Cherry Run trails travels along a small picturesque stream, making a great loop for day hiking.

Evergreen Trail: 1 mile, easiest hiking
Self-guiding tours take visitors into old growth forest, one of the few stands remaining in all of Pennsylvania. Hikers can see a hemlock that stood on this continent before Columbus. This is an easy, 1 mile hike into the past.

Grand View Trail: 1.9 miles, more difficult hiking
This trail takes hikers to the highest point on Red Rock Mountain (elevation 2,449 ft). In mid-June, the beautiful mountain laurel is in bloom. In mid-July, the high bush blueberries bear fruit, and in the fall, there are awe inspiring views of the fall foliage encompassing the surrounding hillsides, making this trail a pleasant hike at any time of the year.

Highland Trail: 1.2-miles, more difficult hiking
The trail cuts across the top of the Falls Trail System and crosses through Midway Crevasse, a narrow passageway between large blocks of Pocono sandstone conglomerates that were deposited throughout this area by glacial movements. At least three times in the last one million years, continental glaciers buried this land under hundreds of feet of ice. This trail makes an excellent area for geological study groups.

Mountain Springs Trail: 4 miles, more difficult hiking
Heading off of the beaten path, this trail takes hikers on a 4-mile hike past the old Lake Leigh Dam and down the south branch of Bowmans Creek to the former Mountain Springs Lake, which is now a dry lake bed. Hikers can connect to Cherry Run Trail by walking 3.5 miles on Mountain Springs Road.

Old Beaver Dam Road Trail: 4 miles, more difficult hiking
Named for the old beaver dam, which can be seen just off the trail, this trail makes an excellent loop trail for hikers and cross-country skiers. It also brushes up next to Ganoga Falls, which can be accessed by using a short connector trail. Although the connector is easy to moderate hiking, use caution where it meets the Falls Trail System due to the switchbacks and drop-offs. Access is from a small pull-off of PA 487, or from the Lake Rose parking lot.

Old Bulldozer Road Trail: 2.9 miles, most difficult hiking
With its unique name (once used by a bulldozer to get to the top of the mountain to build the park), comes quite an elevation change. Accessed from the parking lot on PA 118, this trail is used by hikers and snowmobilers to access Mountain Springs Trail. Although most of the trail is easy to moderate hiking, a short section just up from the bottom is very steep.

The Bear Walk Trail: 1 mile, easiest hiking
Walk the trail of the bears - this short trail accesses other trails for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and hiking. It runs from the entrance of the cabin area to Lake Rose.

Stay the Night

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Tents sit near Lake Jean at Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania.Camping: flush toilets, warm showers
There are 120 tent and trailer campsites. The campground opens in April and closes in December. The campground features hot showers, flush toilets, shaded sites, gravel parking spurs and a sanitary dump station. Pets are permitted on designated sites for a fee. Six campsites are ADA accessible.

Explore the campground map.

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Free Camping for Campground Hosts: one host position
The modern campground host site has amenities that include 200-amp electric service and water hookup (septic is not on site, but a dump station is available). A long-term stay from April through October is preferred, but not required. The host is required to assist park personnel inspect buildings, light cleanup, greet people, litter pick-up, light maintenance and fire ring cleaning. Contact the park office for additional information and availability.

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible. Deluxe Camping Cottages: In the campground, five deluxe cottages are available from the second Friday in April until the third weekend in October. Deluxe cottages have minimal furnishings including a kitchen stove top, microwave oven, refrigerator, electric heat, lighting and bunk beds. There is no running water in these deluxe cottages. However, there is a restroom and shower facility for shared use. All deluxe cottages are ADA accessible.

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The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.A modern, wooden cabin is sheltered by trees at Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania.Modern Cabins: Ten modern rental cabins are available year-round. Cabins are furnished and have a living area, kitchen/dining area, toilet/shower room and two or three bedrooms. Cabin F is ADA accessible. Linens and dishes are not provided.

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Organized Group Tenting: Qualified adult and youth groups may use this 240-person capacity area that is equipped with picnic tables, water and flush toilets. The area is open from the third Monday in April to the third Monday in October. Advance reservations are recommended.

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Winter Activities

Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths. Please be safe on the ice.

Cross-country Skiing: Hiking trails may be skiied when snow cover permits.

Snowmobiling: Many trails allow snowmobiles after the end of deer hunting when conditions permit.

Ice Fishing: Lake Jean offers ice fishing. Ice thickness is not monitored.

Environmental Education and Interpretation

Natural wetlands, old growth forests and majestic geological formations, which helped produce 22 beautiful waterfalls, make Ricketts Glen an excellent choice for outdoor studies. From March to November, the environmental education specialist conducts hands-on activities, guided walks and presentations on the natural and historical resources for school groups, scouts, civic organizations and the general public. Call in advance to set up a program that will enhance classroom or group studies. Campers and visitors may check the bulletin boards and at the park office for listings of weekend programs and nature hikes.

Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming events.

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Access for People with Disabilities

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.