Water is fascinating and, of course, essential to sustain life. There is immense power in many water features, and those lucky enough to have traveled around the world and seen such wonders as the Victoria Falls in Africa and Iguazu Falls on the border between Brazil and Argentina are unlikely to forget the experience.
The citizens of Pennsylvania may not have such giants but there is a wide range of stunning waterfalls in the state.
The opportunity to see them on a day out – perhaps with a picnic – is priceless.
If you are looking for ideas, here are 15 Amazing Waterfalls in Pennsylvania.
1. Ganoga Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park
The Trail in Ricketts Glen State Park is a 7.2-mile hike, where you will see not one, but an impressive 22 waterfalls on Kitchen Creek.
The smallest is just nine feet and the largest, Ganoga, measures some 94 feet.
Some of those waterfalls actually blend into each other.
If you love the sight and sound of falling water, you must spend a day here.
The park covers 13,000 acres across three counties – Sullivan, Columbia, and Luzerne.
2. Cucumber Falls, Ohiopyle State Park
While Cucumber is not amongst the biggest waterfalls in Pennsylvania, many people regard them as the best.
At only around 30 feet high, the water falls in a single cascade onto the rocks below.
The best time to visit is in the spring when the snows have melted.
It can dry up in some weeks of the summer when there is minimal rainfall, but by the fall, it should be impressive once again.
There are other falls within the park, but Cucumber is the one you should certainly try to see.
3. Dry Run Falls, Loyalsock State Forest
The falls that run a close second to Cucumber Falls as the most beautiful in Pennsylvania are known as Dry Run.
It’s a strange name for them, because they are one of the very few in the state that never runs dry.
Few waterfalls are so accessible; you can park your car just 50 yards away.
They are just 20 feet high, but height isn’t everything when it comes to waterfalls.
Often, you will find the main watercourse and a smaller one at its side with the water diverted by rocks, so that the two sections of water descend at sharp angles to each other.
4. Main Falls, Bushkill Falls, Pocono Mountains
The mountains in the North East of Pennsylvania offer a great chance to get out into some lovely terrain, and the waterfalls add to the beauty of the environment.
Eight falls come under the name Bushkill, with the highest of them just over 100 feet.
They are privately owned but accessible to the public.
The water – clear as crystal – emerges from springs and rushes down to form Bushkill Creek, which flows into the Delaware River.
The variety of birdlife and the nearby marshes all add to a setting that is certainly worth a day of your time.
5. Bridal Veil Falls, Bushkill Falls, Pocono Mountains
These falls in the Delaware Water Gap Region get their name from the shape which the falling water creates, fanning out as it descends.
Either side, there are two smaller, more conventional waterfalls, both of which carry the name Bridesmaid Falls.
The walk is not especially strenuous other than the part known as the Red Trail; there are steps leading up and down.
The name is common to a number of waterfalls in different parts of the country which also look like a bridal veil.
6. Glen Onoko Falls, Jim Thorpe, Pocono Mountains
Glen Onoko Falls are an impressive 70 feet high and are one of four on the Glen Onoko Trail.
The trail starts in Lehigh Gorge State Park.
It is not a trail for inexperienced hikers because it is rough – some would even say dangerous.
Those who do negotiate the trail are certainly rewarded by what they see.
The views from the top of the falls are stunning, but you should take care if you go towards the edge because the rocks are slippery and people have been known to fall.
7. Fulmer Falls, Childs Park
Fulmer Falls make a stunning photograph.
You can capture the entire falls in one shot but there are several different shots of other sections that look impressive.
The falls are on Dingman Creek, within George W Childs Park in Pike County – the second of three you will reach.
They are the highest at 56 feet.
Fulmer Falls is very accessible along a boardwalk, but to get those beautiful shots, you really have to leave the boardwalk and it is safe to do so.
There are picnic tables and restrooms close by.
8. Deer Leap Falls, Childs Park
A second set of Falls on Dingman’s Creek – in the Delaware Water Gap in Childs Park – is known as Deer Leap.
They are of a comparable size to Fulmer Falls.
Access is easy, and because the water is fairly shallow, many take the invitation to splash around below the cascades.
After parking, walk down the boardwalk, passing Fulmer Falls before reaching Deer Leap.
There are visitor facilities so it is a popular place for families to enjoy the sight and sound of rushing water.
9. Dingmans Falls
Dingman Falls, in excess of 130 feet high, are the second highest in the state.
A winding road takes you down to the parking lot where there is a visitor center.
The falls are just a short walk away between tall trees, as you wander along the trail, you’ll hear birdsong competing with the roar of the water.
The smell of the pines is lovely and the setting makes the visit well worthwhile.
There are safety rails and observation points from which to take photographs.
It is a cool, shady place, with the tall trees partly blocking the midday sun.
10. Raymondskill Falls, Milford
The highest waterfall in Pennsylvania, at around 170 feet, is Raymondskill Falls in the Delaware Water Gap near Milford.
The falls stretch several hundred yards, but the three main drops added together almost add up to the height of the iconic Niagara Falls.
Observation decks have been erected, which attract plenty of visitors as soon as winter recedes.
The first deck is at the top and the second is at the top of the lowest tier – one of three.
In both cases, the views are stunning and perfectly safe.
11. Nay Aug Falls, Scranton
Nay Aug Falls’ proximity to the town of Scranton means that it has become a popular place with locals, especially families on a day out.
The falls are the highlight of a park, where you will find a swimming pool, hiking trails, as well as a small museum.
It is just a short walk to the falls, where there are viewing platforms on either side of the gorge from which you can take your photographs in perfect safety.
The height is just 15 feet, with the water dropping into Roaring Brook, but they are nevertheless impressive.
12. Quakertown Falls, Lawrence County
Quakertown Falls on Falling Spring Run are close to Pennsylvania’s border, just half a mile from Ohio.
A busy road runs nearby but the falls are hidden from the traffic – and the sound of water is as well.
Once you know they are there, it is easy to reach the falls that have two parts with a rock shelf in between.
There are no designated paths but you can get to the base without difficulty.
The height is around 40 feet in two tiers.
With two largely similar cascades of water, you will be able to capture some stunning images on your camera.
13. Buttermilk Falls, Indiana County
Buttermilk is a common name for waterfalls in the state, but the one to go and see is in Indiana County.
It used to be on private property but was donated to the county in the mid-1990’s, who later created the Buttermilk Falls Natural Area.
As a result, there is no restriction in visiting this 45-foot waterfall.
Families enjoy picnics here, with the parking lot and a restroom in close proximity.
The best time to see the falls is in the spring and then in the fall, as rains become more frequent after a dry summer.
14. Fall Brook Trail Waterfalls, Susquehanna County
Fall Brook Gorge in Salt Springs State Park is home to two beautiful waterfalls along the same trail.
They can be seen at their best in the spring then again in the fall.
The rocks near the falls have been eroded into steps over the years and you can get quite close; however, you should be aware that they can get slippery.
You will reach the upper falls as the trail starts to descend before it loops.
This state park does not seem to attract the volume of visitors of some others, so take advantage of the lack of people.
15. Mill Creek Falls, York County
These falls are the closest to Harrisburg and consist of the main waterfall and several rapids.
The overall drop is around 30 feet and the best time to visit is after heavy rains.
They are located on the Mason-Dixon Trail and fairly accessible.
The trail is 200 miles long and an adventure in itself, but families make do with these falls, which are only a five-minute walk from the car.
The drop is around 25 feet, but there are a couple of turns within the stretch of water which make for a great photograph.