Are you searching for the best hiking trails with breathtaking waterfalls in PA?
Pennsylvania is a land chuck-full of trails winding through lush green forests and mountains. With so much to see, It is no surprise that thousands of nature loving tourists are drawn to the keystone state each year. The state has over 120 state parks and nearly 200 official hiking trails. You’d be surprised just how many of those trails lead to pristine waterfalls. So, for those interested trekking to waterfalls in PA, we’ve taken the liberty of putting together a list of the top 10 hiking trails with waterfalls in PA.
Looking for the best hiking trail in your state? Check out our recent article on the best hiking trails in every U.S state!
1. Glen Onoko Falls and Lehigh Gorge Overlook Trail
Glen Onoko Falls and Lehigh Gorge Overlook Trail is one of the most beloved trails with waterfalls in PA. It is a heavily trafficked 3.7 loop trail featuring a waterfall and an elevation increase of 1003 feet. The trail is rated difficult, is dog friendly (as long as they are on a leash), and open to hikers all year. Starting at the bank of the river, follow the shore until you hit the mouth of the stream, and then head up the right side of the stream and onto the orange marked trail. Once you hit the trail, it’ll be easy to find your way to the waterfall. However, be warned, this is no trail for rookies. The waterfall at the end is well worth the difficult route. There are also several picturesque points to stop and take photos along the way.
2. Ricketts Glen Falls Trail
The Ricketts Glen Falls Trail is a moderately traveled loop trail 3.3 miles long. It has an elevation gain of 715 feet along the way. The trail is one of the most popular trails with waterfalls in PA due to the fact that there are 17 beautiful waterfalls along the well-manicured trail. Dogs are welcome on the trail, though if they are not used to hiking this one may not be the one to take them along on. The trail stays a bit wet and slippery all year although it is otherwise extremely well-maintained. It is a simple trail that leads through a large amount of the waterfalls in the Ricketts Glen State Park. Start at the trail-head sign and follow the signs to the Falls Trail split. After a few minutes you will start experiencing falls after beautiful falls.
3. Wissahickon Creek Gorge Loop Trail
Wissahickon Creek Gorge Loop Trail is a lightly traveled 9.2 mile long route. It has an elevation rise of 643 feet located right outside of Philadelphia. The trail is friendly to hikers of all skill levels and features a gorgeous waterfall. You’ll want to schedule a hike on the Wissahickon Creek Gorge Loop Trail during the summer or early fall as it is closed from November through March. Dogs are allowed on the trail, and truthfully, it is one of the better trails in PA for hiking with your fur buddies. There is a river along the trail and scenic hills and forest. The trail is excellent for traveling by foot or mountain bike.
4. Kelly's Run Loop Trail
Kelly’s Run Loop Trail is a heavily traveled trail located outside of Holtwood, PA. The trail is 3.7 miles long with a 616 feet elevation increase and more than one picturesque waterfall to boot. The trail has also features several options for various activities and including horseback riding and mountain biking. It runs along the Susquehanna River and offers some seriously breathtaking views along the way to the stunning waterfalls. Four-legged beasts are also allowed on the Kelly’s Run Loop Trail as long as they are leashed.
5. White Trail Loop
The White Trail Loop is a lightly traversed 4.8 mile long trail. It has a 626 feet increase in elevation along its course. It is located outside of Newtown Square, PA, and features a moderately rated waterfall. The trail is accessible all year long and is also dog friendly (as long as they are leashes of course). White Trail Loop is one of the more secluded trails with waterfalls in PA, so be prepared for some peace and quiet if you decide to tackle this one. The main falls at White Trail Loop is situated slightly off of the trail, although easy enough to find. Just make sure to pay attention to the maps before you head out.
6. Hawk Falls Trail
Another excellent trail featuring waterfalls in PA is the Hawk Falls Trail. It is a relatively short trail, measuring just under one mile, with an elevation increase of just 131 feet. The trail is great for beginners and intermediate hikers and offers a number of activities. Dogs are welcome on the trail although they must be on a leash. The trail has plenty of shade trees and is a bit slippery at times. Hawk Falls Trail is one of the best trails with waterfalls in PA for hiking with children or those with physical disabilities. If you are considering making the short trek to Hawk Falls, be sure to avoid the trail on weekends as it tends to be packed out with local hikers.
7. Bushkill Falls Red Trail
The Bushkill Falls Red Trail is another short and scenic trail located outside of Bushkill, PA. The trail is just under 1.5 miles, has an raise of 354 feet in elevation, and is moderately traveled. This is one of the most well-maintained and best manicured trails in the entire state. Nature lovers will enjoy this relaxing hike to the waterfall, which is truthfully more of a walk, and so will their dogs. Bushkill Falls Red Trail is one of the best trails with waterfalls in PA to visit as a family or group due to the small amount of effort it takes to reach the waterfalls.
8. Tumbling Waters Trail
The Tumbling Waters Trail is a lightly traveled 3.3 mile trail with a 521 feet elevation increase. It is located not far from the Bushkill Falls Red Trail. The trail is rated as moderate and is popular with hikers, bird watchers, and nature lovers of all sorts. Spring through Autumn is the best time of the year to hit this scenic trail and visit the beautiful waterfalls. You can spend several hours on this trail and view multiple waterfalls along the way. There are stairs inserted in the trail from place to place, however, some parts of the trail are not for the faint of heart. This is not a great trail for dogs or children.
9. Hell's Hollow Trail
Hell’s Hollow Trail is another of the smaller trails featured on our list of the best trails with waterfalls in PA. It is 1.2 miles long and has a non-noticeable increase of 65 feet in elevation. This lightly traversed trail is for all skill levels and is excellent for hiking, bird watching, and picnicking near the falls. Dogs on leashes are also allowed on the trail. The waterfalls are located about half a mile down the trail and are easily reached in less than half an hour. It is an excellent trail for a quick hike or job to the falls and back.
10. Great Gorge Trail
The Great Gorge Trail is another heavily traveled trail with waterfalls in PA. It is just under 5 miles and has a 751 feet elevation raise. Located just outside of Ohiopyle, PA, the trail boasts a moderately rated waterfall with breathtaking views. The trail is open all year-round though it is recommended to hike it from spring to early fall for the best results. Dogs are welcomed as well. The trail features gorgeous rock formations, forest, and a lovely stream. It is the perfect hike for a family with children as the falls includes excellent wading pools sized perfectly for children and dogs.
So, there you have it, 10 of the most breathtaking trails with waterfalls in PA!
As you move from planning hike in PA to actually hitting the trails remember to keep trail safety as a priority. Always bring a hiking buddy if possible, check the weather before heading out, and carry plenty of water, some snacks, and a first aid kit. Also, make sure to sign in to the trail registry or call a friend before starting your hike. And last but not least, never attempt to hike a trail that is beyond your skill level.
Related Article:8 Beautiful Must See Waterfalls in NY