Beyond the Waterfalls: Hidden Gems of Ricketts Glen State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park, renowned for its majestic waterfalls, is a treasure trove of natural wonders that extends far beyond the cascading beauty of its renowned Falls Trail. In this exploration of “Beyond the Waterfalls,” we invite you to uncover the hidden gems and lesser-known attractions that make Ricketts Glen a haven for those seeking a deeper, more intimate connection with nature. From secluded trails and wildlife viewing areas to historical sites, these hidden gems promise a journey of discovery off the beaten path.

The Evergreen Trail:

Tucked away from the bustling crowds, the Evergreen Trail offers a serene and less-traveled path through ancient hemlock forests. This secluded trail provides a peaceful retreat, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquil beauty of towering trees, moss-covered rocks, and the gentle melodies of bird songs. Nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers will find this trail particularly rewarding, with opportunities to spot elusive forest-dwelling species.

Adams Falls: A Quieter Cascade:

While the Falls Trail showcases the park’s main waterfalls, Adams Falls often escapes the spotlight. Nestled along the Glen Leigh section of the park, Adams Falls offers a quieter and more intimate waterfall experience. A shorter trail leads to this hidden gem, where visitors can enjoy the soothing sounds of rushing water without the bustling crowds, creating a perfect spot for contemplation and solitude.

Old Growth Forests of the Highland Trail:

Venture beyond the well-trodden paths to discover the Highland Trail, which unveils the park’s old-growth forests. Towering hemlocks and hardwoods create a cathedral-like atmosphere, transporting hikers to a time when these forests were untouched by human hands. The Highland Trail is a hidden sanctuary, allowing visitors to witness the resilience of these ancient trees and appreciate the importance of preserving such pristine habitats.

Beach Area and Lake Jean:

While the waterfalls take center stage, the beach area along Lake Jean offers a tranquil retreat for those seeking a different kind of water experience. The sandy shores of Lake Jean provide a perfect spot for picnics, sunbathing, or a leisurely dip in the cool waters. Families can enjoy a day of relaxation and play, surrounded by the scenic beauty of the lake and the surrounding woodlands.

Historical Ruins of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC):

Delve into the park’s history by exploring the remnants of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) structures. These historical ruins, scattered throughout the park, serve as a testament to the conservation efforts that shaped Ricketts Glen. Interpretive signs provide insights into the CCC’s role in the park’s development during the Great Depression, adding a layer of historical richness to the natural wonders.

Encouraging Responsible Exploration:

As visitors embark on a journey to uncover these hidden gems, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of responsible and sustainable exploration. Leave No Trace principles should be embraced, ensuring that these lesser-known areas remain preserved for future generations. By venturing off the beaten path with respect for the environment, visitors can forge a more profound connection with the park and contribute to its long-term preservation.


Ricketts Glen State Park, with its captivating waterfalls, is also a sanctuary of hidden treasures awaiting discovery. From secluded trails and quiet waterfalls to historical remnants and serene lakeshores, these hidden gems offer a more intimate connection with the natural world. As visitors venture beyond the waterfalls, they unlock a tapestry of experiences that unveil the true depth and diversity of Ricketts Glen, reminding us that nature’s wonders are not confined to the well-trodden paths but extend far into the heart of the park’s lesser-known realms.

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