Our hike to Ricketts Glen State Park was a little wet, but we still had a great time. Mother Nature rained on us off and on, but we did not let that dampen our spirits. The falls were beautiful since it had rained a few days before and water levels were high. You could hear the roar of the falls all along the trail.
We had the privilege to hear Judy Adamac, the park naturalist, as she spoke about the history of Ricketts Glen, past logging practices, trail safety, and the best way to hike the Falls Trail. She recommended we change our plan and go down the less steep side and go up the steeper side since trails were so wet and slippery. We followed her recommendation on the Falls Trail, but chose to hike Highland Trail back to the beach parking lot where we started instead of taking Bear Trail back.
We learned a lot about Colonel Robert Bruce Ricketts, who fought in the a Civil War. At one time he owned or had control over 80,000 acres of land in the Ricketts Glen area. His heirs sold more than half of this acreage to the PA Game Commission in the 1920’s. During the 30’s the area was designated a national park. In the 40’s the heirs sold over a thousand acres of the Falls and Glen area to the Commonwealth of PA to be designated a state park.
We also learned about logging practices which resulted in the town of Ricketts Glen developing. The town is now a ghost town of building foundations and used by Judy Adamac for The Ghost Town Hikes at night. The logging practices resulted in clear cutting of most of the park area. Huge White Pines were cut and transported out for use as masts on ships. Huge Hemlocks were cut and stripped of their bark to be used in tanning practices, because of the high volumes of tannic acid found in the bark. There is one small area of the park that escaped the logging rush and exists as a virgin forest.
All in all everyone enjoyed the trip and now understand why Ricketts Glen is considered the most beautiful hike on the East Coast . You have got to go see it!!!!!!!!!
Thank you to Sean O’Shell for all the lovely pictures!