Boasting 22 named waterfalls amid old-growth forest and deeply-incised canyons, Rickett’s Glen State Park encompasses more than 13,000 acres around a high bluff known as the Allegheny Front. On top of the bluff, several lakes—Lake Jean being the largest—are the source of the many creeks that tumble down the canyons and create the spectacular falls. The area was mostly logged out in the early 1900s by the landowner, R. Bruce Ricketts, before he decided to preserve the woodlands in the falls’ three glens. Following efforts to turn the area into a national park in the 1930s failed, he began selling the land to the state of Pennsylvania, who turned the area into a state park in 1944. The park is now a year-round destination for camping, hiking, fishing, bird-watching, paddling, skiing and ice climbing.
Just an hour’s drive west of Scranton, the campground at Rickett’s Glen offers 120 drive-in campsites in two areas near the shore of Lake Jean. Sites can accommodate trailers and RVs up to 40 feet; some sites are ADA accessible, and a few group camps are available. Hookups are not available, but there is a dump station outside the camping area. Facilities in the campgrounds include restrooms with showers, drinking water, an amphitheater, a trail to the lake’s beach, and a designated dog area. The Big Loop campground also has five deluxe cottages available to rent. In a separate area, there are 10 cabins available, as well as a boat ramp (rentals available) and snack bar. Campsite rates range from $15–$20/night; cabins and cottages range from $60–$115/night.
The most popular activity at Rickett’s Glen is to hike through the three waterfall glens. This can be done via several looping trails ranging from 3.4 miles to 7.2 miles. Two trailheads are located above the falls, from the lakes area, and one is located below the falls, from PA Route 118. Other summer activities in the park include paddling and fishing on Lake Jean, or just soaking up the sun at the beach. An onsite naturalist offers guided walks, nature activities and interpretive programs. There are also limited hunting opportunities. If visiting during the winter season, many of the trails are open for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Ice fishing is popular, as is ice climbing on the waterfalls. Check the park’s website for off-season services, accessibility, and ice climbing requirements.
The biggest draw to this state park (which no one in Pennsylvania I spoke with seemed to know about) is the 22 waterfalls! We saw 18 of them on a four-mile moderate hike, but if you want to see the additional four, you could make it a seven-mile hike. The trails are very well marked.
We stayed in the large loop, which is a peninsula on Lake Jean. Many of the sites have lake views. The bathhouse was clean but not adequate for 73 sites. The campground was about ¾ full and there was often a wait in the bathroom. Showers looked reasonable but I did not use them.
There were many tent campers in this loop, which does not allow pets (the other, smaller loop does allow pets). There are no hookups at all in the park. The water had been tested earlier in the season and unsafe levels of manganese were detected. All water spigots were shut off and covered but we were told it was safe to wash our dishes and brush our teeth. However, the water for the dishwashing sink was turned off as well as the water in the restroom at the trailhead. Since we had a reservation, we received a phone call in advance of our stay letting us know about this.
There are trails to the beach, but we woke to rain the next morning, so we did not explore this.
One trash/recycle area a distance away from the campsites which seems typical for PA state parks. Alcohol is strictly forbidden– we were warned that if a ranger saw any alcohol outside of our vehicle, we would be cited. Quiet hours are 9 pm– 8 am, which is more restrictive than other state parks, however, some did not observe these quiet hours (a guitar-playing singing camper thought he was talented, but I disagree!)
Been camping here twice and both times were a lot of fun. It is a wonderful spot, which means it does get crowded but besides that, it's a place I will continue to come back to.
Surrounded by Lake Jean at the top of Red Rock Mtn, this clean campground offers spacious pads for tents or campers. Lots to do and see nearby: hiking, swimming, horseback riding, and catch & release fishing are all available. Open year round so snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing are also options. I can't wait to go back again!
This state park is just beautiful with a nice lake and beautiful trails. The campground is a bit crowded during peak season without much privacy. But this is the spot to be if you wanna hit up some trails and see some gorgeous views.
Ricketts Glen State Park has amazing waterfall lined hikes and recreational lake activities.
The campground is comparable to many PA State Parks with a variety of different sized sites, some very close& small and some more private. There are no hook-ups in the campground. While Ricketts Glen has a lot to offer, the repeated conditions of the restrooms/bathhouses throughout the campground will be a deterrent in the future. The bathhouses were not maintained throughout the weekend and were very filthy by Saturday evening. Since there are no hookups, the number of bathhouses to camping sites is significantly lacking. Be aware that PA State park campgrounds are alcohol free and quiet hours start at 9:00PM.
The campground is nice, bathrooms are clean, and the waterfalls are awesome!
Great time camping despite the rain. We stayed in the big loop for the first time, normally we stay in the small loop, but it was just as good.
First if you have a pet your sites are limited to the pet loop which we has in, site are single car parking and any other car must be parked in a wooded parking area a bit sketchy but no issues, sites are small two tents or one big tent, campground is kept very clean and bathrooms where very clean as well, it offers great trails to the Glenn they are well maintained and kept. Trails are good even for novice hikers. One bad thing was when we stayed there’s was a power outage leaving us with no hot showers..
Trails & waterfalls can't be beating. Definitely the best.
There is quite a lot of hiking available, as well as great views. A lot of vertical hiking as well as a lot of steps. Be prepared to stop several times to either take a break or allow others to pass on the narrow walkways. Not very pet-friendly because of being so close to cliffsides.