For those who love to spend time in the great outdoors, there is no better stop than Ricketts Glen State Park.
With more than 13,000 acres saddled on the borders of Luzerne, Sullivan and Columbia counties, it will get everyone of all ages out to enjoy nature.
“The Falls Trail is our main attraction,” said Ricketts Glen State Park Ranger Mickey Maneval. “A lot of people come here to hike that trail. It’s rather difficult with a lot of steps and elevation changes of about 900 feet.”
There are a series of waterfalls that hikers — especially kids — will find awesome. The 94-foot Ganoga Glen is the park’s tallest and a must-see. Check the park’s Facebook page, where updates on water flows can be found.
When taking the kids, be sure to take plenty of water, Maneval said, and wear the proper footwear.
“You see a lot of flip flops, which is not the kind of thing you want to be wearing on the trail,” he said. “Wear good, sturdy hiking boots. Be sure to take a snack, too. Most of our trails are lengthy and take more than one hour to do.”
The Falls Trail itself can take up to three hours.
“If it’s your first time here, I always recommend to stop at the park office and get a park guide,” he said. “There are signs, but people seem to still get lost.”
Ricketts Glen also features Lake Jean, a 245-acre man-made lake with a beach, which is a perfect spot to take the kids for a dip. Picnic areas abound here as well.
Last summer, the lake was drained so crews could repair the dam, but it’s since been fixed and has been attracting anglers, swimmers and boaters alike.
For the more outdoorsy types, there are 120 campsites along with cabins and a few deluxe cottages.
To get the kids more involved, the park features programs to get them accustomed to the great outdoors. “There are programs all of the time, and if you have a group, we’ll often set something up,” he said. Most of the programs occur on the weekend.
Nearby is the Loysalsock Trail in Sullivan County. The LT as it is known to locals is part of the Loyalsock State Forest.
“There are some really steep places, and there are some areas that are not so steep,” said Ruth Rode of the Alpine Club of Williamsport, who has been with the club since 1967. Part of it runs along the Loyalsock Creek for about 60 miles. First laid out in the 1950s, it’s been a haven for hikers ever since.
“The Haystacks section of the trail is probably the best for families and kids,” she said. It’s even complete with a swimming hole. The 4.3-mile trail can take about three hours to do, depending on your speed. A large parking area is located at Meade Road along Route 220 south of Laporte. There’s also a comfort station at that location.
There’s a lot to see as well, including green summer vistas and the colors
“It’s got great geological features that are unique to the area,” Rode said. “There is sandstone rock there that is found nowhere else in the world.”
Rode encourages people to get a
map. “It’s really a wonderful hike,”