Happy Travelers, don’t put away those hiking boots just yet! Winter is the perfect time to experience the magic and majesty of Pennsylvania’s woodlands and waterfalls. It’s time to journey to one or more of these 10 captivating waterfalls, each transformed into a sparkling wonderland during the chilly winter months.
1. McConnells Mill State Park
Hell’s Hollow Falls is the largest waterfall in McConnell’s Mill State Park in terms of water volume. It offers a serene, isolated experience following a relatively flat, 0.5 mile hike along Hell’s Run through the park’s Slippery Rock Gorge Natural Area. Once there, you’ll be treated to the falls’ winter splendor and a 19th century lime kiln to explore. If Mother Nature cooperates with some bountiful rainfall, Alpha Falls is another of the park’s super scenic waterfalls.
2. Ohiopyle State Park
Ohiopyle State Park offers the perfect getaway for a cold winter day. A short hike along the Great Gorge Trail will take you to the spectacular, 30-foot high Cucumber Falls, one of the most photographed waterfalls in PA, to see it in all its glory. For the more fearless, the park offers several equally stunning waterfalls at more remote locales where you might be the only one around.
3. Bear Creek Nature Preserve
If you’re pressed for time but don’t want to miss out on the winter waterfall experience, check out stunning Buttermilk Falls (aka Bear Creek Falls) on the western edge of the Bear Creek Nature Preserve, only 200 feet from the parking area and a quick detour from the roadway. With step-like shelves of rock, the roughly 30-foot falls offer an accessible (and no less impressive) sight that’s easy to enjoy.
4. Laurel Hill State Park
The falling waters of Jones Mill Run Dam in Laurel Hill State Park offer a dazzling display of winter beauty. Take in the surrounding forest at this scenic historic site, built nearly a century ago by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
5. Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve
Watch your step on the steep and rocky trails on your way to the beautiful falls at Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve. You’ll be rewarded with some Instagram-worthy shots of nature at its wintry best with views of waterfalls nestled among the frost-tinged woodlands.
6. Roaring Run Recreation Area
Rock Furnace Trail in the Roaring Run Recreation Area serves up a magical journey to the trio of waterfalls known as Jackson Falls. At 5 feet, 10 feet, and 20 feet, each offers its own measured drama and magic. The falls are off trail, which makes hiking even more interesting.
7. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Milford and Dingmans Ferry
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is THE place to be with several, simply spectacular waterfalls to feast your eyes upon. At 178 feet, the triple-tier Raymondskill Falls is the tallest waterfall in Pennsylvania. Next up: Dingmans Falls, the second highest waterfall in the state, and Silverthread Falls, each beautiful in their own unique way and located along the same trail. You won’t want to miss the waterfalls along the Tumbling Waters Trail – the name says it all.
Traveler's Note: Check with the National Park Service to ensure the trails are open, especially following any type of winter weather.
8. Raccoon Creek State Park
Take the Mineral Springs Loop Trail in Raccoon Creek State Park, home to Frankfort Mineral Springs Falls, known for its thick winter ice and eye-catching curtain of icicles. The icicles are best viewed from outside the grotto – it will be love at frost sight.
9. Ridley Creek State Park
Lace up your hiking boots or strap on your cross-country skis after a winter snow to explore 2,600-acre Ridley Creek State Park. The park contains 13 miles of wooded and paved trails and hidden winter waterfalls, including the picturesque frozen spill waters of the historic Sycamore Mills Dam.
10. Ricketts Glen State Park
It’s difficult to find words that fully capture the experience of Ganoga Falls in Ricketts Glen State Park, but a picture’s worth a thousand words. During winter, the falls’ 94 feet of frozen water forms a castle of ice flows and icicles. The Falls trail is only open to the most experienced ice climbers and hikers with required ice gear in the winter. These thrill seekers must register with the park office prior to beginning this icy adventure. Not brave enough to try it on your own? Never fear, highly trained guides from area outfitters will lead the less experienced safely to and through this winter paradise.
To learn about more waterfalls in Pennsylvania, check out the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don’t forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.