Photo Destination: Ricketts Glen State Park
Ricketts Glen is a Pennsylvania State Park on 13,050 acres in Luzerne, Columbia and Sullivan Counties. It's home to 500 year old old-growth trees and over 20 waterfalls. It is such a spectacular place that it was originally considered to be developed into a National Park, but because of World War II it didn't receive the necessary funding for improvements and infrastructure to support National Park status.
In the fall the park comes alive with dazzling colors, and in early summer the waterfalls are running at their peak. But it's a wonderful place to visit any time of year (although winter conditions close the falls trail to all but experienced ice climbers).
all photos in this article courtesy of Dan's staff member Steve M.
Considerations for getting there
The park can be accessed via 309 or the PA turnpike, parking is best at the Lake Rose lot. Here's a Google Maps link to help you out.
There's a 3.5 mile glens loop that starts at the Lake Rose lot that goes onto the highland trail then onto the Glen Leigh side of the falls loop before climbing back up the mountain at Waters meet on the Ganoga Glen Side to take you back to your Car at the Lake Rose Lot, This loop allows you to see 17 of the 20+ falls within the park. The loop has over 1,000 feet of elevation change so it is a moderate to difficult hike depending on physical condition and is best done with a partner. Expect to hike for 4-8 hours depending on how often you stop to photograph and your physical condition.
Some of the largest Old Growth Hemlocks can be found near Ozone Falls and RB Ricketts and also along Boston run near the bottom of the mountain on the Evergreen trail.
Additional waterfalls are found on other parts of Red rock mountain such as on State Game Lands 13 on the following streams: Sullivan Run, Heberly Run, Lead run, Pigeon Run and Ore Run. None of these falls are easily accessible and are recommended only for experienced hikers.
Gear to bring
You'll definitely want a tripod, but make sure it's a lightweight model that you won't mind hiking with!
Lenses: Wide angle lenses wider than 24mm will help capture sweeping views of the foliage and waterfalls, and a 24-70mm type lens will give you extra versatility in the field. Macro lenses are great for close ups of moss and leaves, and summertime salamanders and insects.
Filters: Polarizer filters can help enhance fall colors or remove reflections from the water's surface, and neutral density (ND) filters will help you get longer exposure times for that classic waterfall motion blur.
This photo was taken from the same spot & same time of day as the photo at the top of this article, but without an ND filter to increase the exposure time. Look at what a difference it makes in the way the water looks!
Extras to pack: Bring a cable or remote shutter release, lots of lens cloths (or even a spare towel) for water spray from the falls, and a fast access pack such as the Mindshift Rotation Panorama series that carries a tripod, as well as snacks and jacket.
— Steve M. is a photo equipment specialist at Dan's and an avid photographer. He's got a particular skill for wildlife and landscape photography, and also enjoys riding across those landscapes on his mountain bike.
If you take the trip, don't forget to share your photos with us on Facebook or Instagram! We'd love to see what you get.