Springfield Falls, Pennsylvania

I pulled into what I thought was the parking area for Springfield Falls, only to find out that I was just a bit off. There’s a jeweler’s shop right near the falls, but that’s not where you want to start your short journey. (Some place on the web says to start here. It’s not even a good place to view the falls.) After someone let me know, I went a bit further down the road to the official parking area.

From the official parking area, it’s extremely easy to get to Springfield Falls. There’s a short downhill hike to get a view of the falls. At about 15′ tall, it’s not a big waterfall, but I do find that it’s a very photogenic waterfall. Even on a sunny day (which isn’t usually great for waterfalls), you’ll likely get some good shots.

Directions:

  1. There are multiple different ways to arrive at Springfield Falls, so let me give you a general sense of it’s location. If you’re on I-80, you would take exit 15.
  2. You would head south on US-19 for just over 3.5 miles.
  3. If you were heading south, you’d turn left onto Leesburg Station Road (Road 2002). Go past the jewelers, and continue onto Falls Road.
  4. After a very short distance, you’ll come to a parking area on your right, and the falls will be to your left across the road from the parking area.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: ~15′
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip (at most)

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Springfield Falls in October 2015

Where in the World is Springfield Falls?

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Ohiopyle Falls, Pennsylvania

Ohiopyle Falls is an example of a waterfall that can end up looking less exciting when there’s more water. For many waterfalls, the higher the water levels, the bigger the rush. But for a few, the higher water levels make those waterfalls look smaller.

I visited Ohiopyle Falls in mid-April 2015. The snow was mostly melted, but this still led to high water levels. Because of that, the falls look like they’re only a few feet tall, when at lower levels, the drop approaches 20′. The waterfall is wide, so it is still powerful, but it’s visual impression is lessened. And it doesn’t help that another waterfall nearby, Cucumber Falls, is taller and more interesting to view (at least I thought so). Ohiopyle’s one major redeeming quality is that it’s wildly easy to visit. Because it’s found on a larger river, a short walk of only 100-200′ is required to view the falls. The area around the falls is handicapped accessible. I would suggest that if you’re going to visit the falls, visit when it hasn’t rained as much or later in the season.

Directions:

  1. There are multiple ways to arrive at the falls, so I’ll list the least complicated option. Drive along US-40. US-40 forms somewhat of a loop around the city of Uniontown, and you’d be heading east along US-40 if you started near Uniontown.
  2. In the town of Farmington, turn north onto PA-381. Drive for a few miles along PA-381 toward Ohiopyle State Park. The road passes through the park and town, so once you enter Ohiopyle, you just need to find the visitor’s center.
  3. From there, take a short walk to the falls. There are multiple viewing areas.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 20′ at low flow
Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

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Ohiopyle Falls in April 2015

Where in the World is Ohiopyle Falls?

Greg Falls, Pennsylvania

Greg Falls in October 2015

In Pennsylvania, waterfalls tend to be concentrated in certain areas. The western part of Pennsylvania has a number of waterfalls, though not as many on the eastern side of the state. One location on the western side that has four or five waterfalls located in a relatively small area is Oil Creek State Park. Of those falls, only one or two seem to be relatively easy to access. Some of the others require a bit more navigation to find them.

Of all the falls, Greg Falls might be the easiest to find, though it does require a hike. I found the hike to be relatively straightforward once I got my bearings at the parking lot. Much of the hike is along a paved, flat path. It’s only the final quarter that is uphill, and it’s a relatively gentle uphill climb. For a while, I did wonder whether I was on the right path to the waterfall, but that “worry” was pointless!

Once I did reach Greg Falls, I wasn’t really greeted with a whole lot. Even though it rained some the day before, Greg Falls was at very low flow on this October day. If you want to view Greg Falls at its peak, I’m assuming late spring or early summer is your best choice. And even though the waterfall wasn’t at high flow, visiting the park was very enjoyable.

Directions:

  1. From Oil City, head north on PA-8.
  2. The entrance to the park will be on the right if you’re heading north. The park entrance was about 4 miles after turning onto PA-8.
  3. After turning onto the park entrance (State Park Road), you’re going to drive until you come to an intersection with a stop sign. You will have an option of turning left or right. You want to turn right.
  4. After turning right, cross the bridge over Oil Creek (instead of turning left before crossing Oil Creek). Very shortly after crossing the bridge, you’ll find a parking area to your left. (There are also parking areas further ahead.) This parking area was very close to a visitor’s center.
  5. From the parking area, you want to start hiking along the paved road (labeled Russell Corners Road).  This will be heading northwest, and you will be walking near the Creek.
  6. At some point, Russell Corners Road turns into a dirt road (and I think was blocked from vehicles). You want to take a left to continue on the trail, which I think was paved (but much narrower now).
  7. This trail continues along the river, and then will cross over the river. (The bridge over the river leads to some beautiful views.)
  8. Approximately 500 feet or so after crossing the bridge, you’ll find a dirt parking area to your left. Walk through this parking area and start walking a bit uphill along Pioneer Road.
  9. On your left, you’ll find a trail. This is the trail that leads to Greg Falls. It will be about 0.5 miles to the falls.

You may also be able to find a way to Pioneer Road, and then driving to that dirt parking area and starting the hike there. It would be significantly shorter, but it would involve driving down what looked like a bumpy dirt road. I’m glad I didn’t risk that in my rental car.  

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: ~4-5 miles round trip

Where in the World is Greg Falls?

Cucumber Falls, Pennsylvania

Waterfalls are spread all around Pennyslvania, so the likelihood that you’re near a waterfall there is pretty high. Due to geology, certain regions seem to have more. In western Pennsylvania, there are a number of waterfalls, though the distance between them seems to be a bit longer.

One clustered concentration of waterfalls in Pennsylvania can be found in Ohiopyle State Park. There are five or six waterfalls in a relatively short radius. While the main attraction often might be Ohiopyle Falls, Cucumber Falls comes pretty close. While Ohiopyle Falls is wide, it isn’t as tall. Cucumber Falls isn’t as wide, but it is taller. It also ends up seeming more personal, as you can get much, much closer to Cucumber Falls. You can actually walk behind the falls, which makes it pretty awesome.

No hike is actually required to view the falls, as it can be seen from the top of the trail leading down to the base. If you want to see the falls from the base, then a pretty short hike is required. Since the falls aren’t extremely tall, the hike down to the base isn’t very strenuous. It does mean it can be pretty popular, though. Still, it’s totally worth the visit!

Directions:

  1. Head toward the town of Ohiopyle, which is found along PA-381.
  2. If you are heading north along PA-381, the turn for Cucumber Falls will come before you enter the town. If heading south along PA-381 toward Ohiopyle, you will pas through the town.
  3. Turn onto PA-2010. If heading north, this would be a left turn.
  4. Head a short distance along PA-2010 to the parking area for Cucumber Falls. When I visited in the middle of the day, the parking area was relatively busy, but I still managed to find a spot. (There is no cost to visit this park.)

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 30′
Distance of Hike: 0.1-0.2 miles one-way

Cucumber Falls in mid-April 2015

Where in the World is Cucumber Falls?

Tuscarora Falls, Pennsylvania

Tuscarora Falls in May 2009

Instead of viewing some waterfalls as isolated, you have to think of the whole. If Tuscarora Falls were all by itself, it would be a very nice waterfall. It’s 47′ tall, it isn’t a skimpy little waterfall, but it’s also not extremely tall.

And yet it’s one of the 20+ waterfalls found in Ricketts Glen State Park. As a whole, this is one amazing set of waterfalls. If you decide to take the 4 mile round trip journey, you won’t see the same waterfall, and that’s what makes it great! Some of them are smaller but wider, while others are tall and narrow. You won’t keep thinking you’ve seen this before!

You should exercise caution as you go on this 4 mile + hike. I didn’t find it to be extremely strenuous from a energy/fitness standpoint. While you will be climbing uphill for a portion, it’s punctuated by stops along the way to view each fall. The caution really comes from the narrow paths that sometimes show up right next to a significant drop. This would be very stupid to do in flip-flops. You want good hiking shoes, water, bug spray, and common sense. With those things, you should be fine.

Directions:

  1. From your starting point, get to the area around Red Rock, PA.
  2. Turn onto PA-487, heading north. Go to the entrance to Ricketts Glen and turn right into the entrance.
  3. Follow the signs to the Falls Trail. You can access the Falls Trail using the Lake Rose parking area or Beach Lot #2 parking area, though you’ll be starting on different creeks. Start your hike on the loop by connecting into the Falls Trail.

Accessibility: 5/10 (moderate)
Height: 47′
Length of Hike: 4 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Tuscarora Falls?

Luke’s Falls, Pennsylvania

Luke’s Falls in June 2013

So one of the waterfalls I just recently posted about, Buttermilk Falls, is a very nice waterfall in east-central Pennsylvania in Lehigh Gorge State Park. Well, from the start of the trail, there’s another waterfall, and it’s in the opposite direction.

If you turn start walking to the left at the parking area, you will come to Buttermilk Falls. On the other hand, if you head right, you’ll find Luke’s Falls. Luke’s Falls wasn’t as impressive, and the likely cause was the dense green shrubs surrounding the falls. Not that I’m suggesting anyone cut down the shrubs, but it would be more impressive if a better view could be obtained. It’s still not as scenic as Buttermilk Falls, so if you’re pressed for time, I would skip this one. Even so, it’s not a long walk to the falls, and it’s along the rail trail anyway. The best views are probably to be had in the early spring before any trees have leaves.

Directions:

There are at least two ways to get to the falls, depending on the direction your arriving from:

Option 1: If coming from I-80, take exit 273 and head south along PA-940. After just a few miles, veer left onto PA-2055 (N Lehigh Gorge Drive). (This may turn into PA-4010 at some point in time.) Turn left onto PA-4014 (Rockport Road), and head to the end of the road, where you’ll find the parking area.

Option 2: If you’re coming from I-476, you’ll want to take exit 74 onto US-209. Head west along US-209, going through the towns of Lehighton and Jim Thorpe. You will see signs for Lehigh Gorge State Park for Glen Onoko, but continue on a short ways until you get to PA-93 (Hunter St). Turn right onto PA-93. After a few miles, turn right onto Brenkman Drive, and go into the town of Weatherly. Find E Main Street, and continue heading northeast out of town. This will turn into PA-4010. Turn right onto PA-4014 (Rockport Road), and head to the end of the road, where you’ll find the parking area.

Option 2 is more complicated, but if you’re coming from the south, it might be quicker. Lehighton and Jim Thorpe can become very busy on weekends and nice summer days, so be prepared for “delays.”

From the parking areas, head to your right to find Luke’s Falls. It’s no more than a 1/4 mile hike one-way (if that much).

Accessibility: 10/10 (very flat, gravel pathway)

Where in the World is Luke’s Falls?: map

Buttermilk Falls, Pennsylvania

Buttermilk Falls in June 2013

I first went in search of Pennsylvania waterfalls back in May 2009, and had a chance to visit Lehigh Gorge State Park. I had limited amount of time before I needed to arrive back at PHL, so I chose a strenuous hike up Glen Onoko! It wasn’t nearly as awful as advertised, and saw a number of lovely waterfalls including Cave Falls and Onoko Falls. I had a chance to visit the area again in June 2013, and discovered that there were a number of other waterfalls in the park. I had expected there would be, but I don’t remember if the main book I use had these falls… It might have required some additional searching.

There are at least two waterfalls in the park, though they are about 15 miles driving distance from Glen Onoko. A very enjoyable rail trail runs along the Lehigh River, and as you’re enjoying a stroll, you will come across these two falls. Instead of hiking much of the trail, I drove to a parking area which allowed very easy access to these two falls. If you are in a rush, these two are the quicker visits.

One of the falls, Luke’s Falls, is partially shrouded by shrubbery in summer. The other waterfall, Buttermilk Falls, is much more photogenic, and I found it to be much more interesting than I had expected. I am a very bad judge of height, but I expect this is about 40-50′ tall, with two visible drops. (Apparently, it’s closer to 60′.) The two drops make the falls visually interesting. The falls seem to drop to the left, and then veer to the right, almost as an optical illusion. And even though there wasn’t an insane amount of water flowing, it seemed like just the right amount to create the wispy effect.

(Oh, if you’re trying to find another Buttermilk Falls in Pennsylvania…it’s a very popular name for waterfalls in the region. There’s a Buttermilk Falls in Monroe County along the Delaware Water Gap. There are also Buttermilk Falls in New York, New Jersey, and Ohio!)

Directions:

There are at least two ways to get to the falls, depending on the direction your arriving from:

Option 1: If coming from I-80, take exit 273 and head south along PA-940. After just a few miles, veer left onto PA-2055 (N Lehigh Gorge Drive). (This may turn into PA-4010 at some point in time.) Turn left onto PA-4014 (Rockport Road), and head to the end of the road, where you’ll find the parking area.

Option 2: If you’re coming from I-476, you’ll want to take exit 74 onto US-209. Head west along US-209, going through the towns of Lehighton and Jim Thorpe. You will see signs for Lehigh Gorge State Park for Glen Onoko, but continue on a short ways until you get to PA-93 (Hunter St). Turn right onto PA-93. After a few miles, turn right onto Brenkman Drive, and go into the town of Weatherly. Find E Main Street, and continue heading northeast out of town. This will turn into PA-4010. Turn right onto PA-4014 (Rockport Road), and head to the end of the road, where you’ll find the parking area.

Option 2 is more complicated, but if you’re coming from the south, it might be quicker. Lehighton and Jim Thorpe can become very busy on weekends and nice summer days, so be prepared for “delays.”

From the parking areas, head to your left to find Buttermilk Falls. It’s no more than a 1/4 mile hike one-way.

Accessibility: 10/10 (very flat, gravel pathway)
Height: 60′
Length of Hike: 0.5 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Buttermilk Falls?