Tuesday, August 13, 2013

7.5 Miles, 1000 Vertical Feet, 22 Waterfalls!!! Do you know where your Nitroglycerine Tablets Are??

While on a hunting trip on Loyalsock Creek in 1850, brothers Elijah and Clemuel Ricketts were frustrated at having to spend the night on a hotel's parlor floor. In 1851 or 1853 they bought 5,000 acres, as their own hunting preserve, and built a stone house on the lake shore by 1852 or 1855. The stone house served as their lodge and as a tavern; it was known as "Ricketts Folly" for its isolated location in the wilderness. 
The Ricketts family was not aware of the glens and their waterfalls until about 1865, when they were discovered by two guests from the stone house who went fishing and wandered down Kitchen Creek. There the two branches fell through dozens of waterfalls, cascades and slides falling  over 800’.  The family named 22 of the falls, built pathways along  each branch and hosted hikers and enthusiasts.  At one point the Ricketts Glen was considered for National Park status.  MUCH MORE HISTORY HERE.

Modern Ricketts Glen State Park is a hard place  to get into.  We were fortunate to reserve two days, one of which we spent on various adventures with a trailer hitch and a two mile climb up an 18% grade to the park.  We were comforted that our jerry rigged hitch seems to perform well and that one fellow camper told us that he had “pulled all over the Rockies and never saw a hill like that.”  

The campground was near full, mostly with tents and families with kids.  We shoehorned into our site and decided to worry about how to get out another day.
The Hike:  We didn’t see all the waterfalls, but we probably could have;  we are feeling pretty buff after  two weeks of 25 mile bike rides.  We paced ourselves,  oohed and awed a good bit, and returned to the car pleasantly tired.  OK, so that’s the medical report, 

We figure we climbed up and back down 700 vertical feet to the highest waterfall -- 92' (size does seem to matter.) and walked about 6.5 miles, and saw 10 waterfalls.  We're happy to leave a few for the next time when you can  come along.


  1. It's the drive out of the campground, 18% grade DOWN, that I would fear the most. I trust you made it or you wouldn't have posted this blog. :)

  2. Hi Frank, You aren't the first to ask about our exit strategy. Alan (a second generation Airstreamer) told us his father had to apply the emergency brake to stop their '56 on the pavement half way down the incline. Time passed, brakes cooled, and they lived to Stream On. We took the recommended route --487 to Lopez -- where we got a little cyber guidance and "proceeded on" to bike some more on Pine Creek