Chameleon Falls, Pennsylvania

Chameleon Falls (?) in May 2009

Well, I have to admit that I’ve been rather confused by Chameleon Falls. The picture I’ve posted here is unlikely to be Chameleon Falls, but is probably in the general vicinity….

In Glen Onoko, there are three main waterfalls: Cave Falls, Onoko Falls, and Chameleon Falls, from downstream to upstream. There are other drops that are better classified as cascades. Now, when trying to more clearly identify which pictures corresponded to which falls, I discovered that nobody seems to identify the same falls with the same name. I’ve seen what I posted for Cave Falls as being also identified as Chameleon Falls. Now, searching on google doesn’t produce many clear results, except that it might make sense that Cave Falls has a cave somewhere near it…The picture I have does not. So maybe I missed Cave Falls?

Well, after hitting what I thought was the second falls, I continued a little bit further upstream. I really didn’t want to go that far since the hike is relatively strenuous to begin with, and I had limited time. There was a path heading further upstream, though it seemed less used (though still popular on that beautiful day), but I really didn’t quickly come upon any waterfalls that had significant drops. This is the last waterfall/cascade I photographed on my hike. I called it Chameleon Falls because I wasn’t sure what waterfall is missing. Maybe some signs with names would be useful…

Note: As of 2019, the Glen Onoko trail has been closed. I’m not sure when it will (or if it will) reopen.

Directions:

  1. From I-476, take exit 74.
  2. Take US-209 South toward the village of Jim Thorpe. Go for about 6 miles.
  3. Turn right onto PA-903. You will cross the bridge over the Lehigh River and go 0.4 miles to a stop sign.
  4. When you get to the stop sign, turn left. I remember the name of the road not being what I thought it would be (it was not Main Street, as expected).
  5. After turning left, head down that road, which will veer left again. Take that left. I think you now may end up on Main Street.
  6. After about 0.3 miles, you will take another left into the entrance to Lehigh Gorge State Park.
  7. Keep driving for a little less than 2 miles to the end of the road, which will be the parking area for the Glen Onoko trail head.
  8. From the parking area, you are going to follow the signs and head under the bridge to the trail head.
  9. From there, just try and follow the trail. The trail doesn’t seem to end. Cave Falls is the first major drop.

Accessibility: 2/10 (strenuous)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip

Where in the World is Chameleon Falls?

Cave Falls, Pennsylvania

Cave Falls in May 2009

When I read about Glen Onoko, I got the sense that there was a high probability of death. Everybody had warnings about the hike being dangerous, sometimes precariously close to cliff edges. And while you need to exercise caution when going to see the waterfalls in Glen Onoko, the hike didn’t seem nearly as dangerous as I expected.

That’s not to say that the walk isn’t difficult. It is a half-mile of consistently steep trail. Unlike the waterfalls of Ricketts Glen, which is sections of steep trail punctuated by sections of flat trail, in Glen Onoko, there are no flat sections! But what you are rewarded with is at least two very impressive waterfalls and an almost continuous set of cascades due to the nature of the Glen. Cave Falls is the first major drop on the trail, and while not the tallest of the drops, it was the most impressive to me. In order to get a good view of the falls, you do have to do some rock jumping.

Note: As of 2019, the Glen Onoko trail has been closed. I’m not sure when it will (or if it will) reopen.

Directions:

  1. From I-476, take exit 74.
  2. Take US-209 South toward the village of Jim Thorpe. Go for about 6 miles.
  3. Turn right onto PA-903. You will cross the bridge over the Lehigh River and go 0.4 miles to a stop sign.
  4. When you get to the stop sign, turn left. I remember the name of the road not being what I thought it would be (it was not Main Street, as expected).
  5. After turning left, head down that road, which will veer left again. Take that left. I think you now may end up on Main Street.
  6. After about 0.3 miles, you will take another left into the entrance to Lehigh Gorge State Park.
  7. Keep driving for a little less than 2 miles to the end of the road, which will be the parking area for the Glen Onoko trail head.
  8. From the parking area, you are going to follow the signs and head under the bridge to the trail head.
  9. From there, just try and follow the trail. The trail doesn’t seem to end. Cave Falls is the first major drop.

Accessibility: 2/10 (strenuous)
Height: 35′
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip

Where in the World is Cave Falls?