By Adam McCully
In life, we are presented with very few problems where the sage advice and wisdom put forth by the 90’s R&B/Hip-Hop group, TLC, does not present us with an ideal solution. I Don’t Want No Scrubs, who does? Creep, always a good idea, especially when tracking wildlife. Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg, if only we were all so humble.
But, Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls? That’s where I draw the line. Especially in the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors, where chasing waterfalls is one of the most adventurous and rewarding activities presented by our scenic waterways and verdant forest landscapes.
You might not find the next Niagra Falls while exploring our region, but the thrill of discovering something secluded and exclusive is what draws many amateur adventurers into the PA Great Outdoors region. Not to mention the level of serenity that comes with losing yourself for a moment in something so completely natural.
Make no mistake, in most cases these waterfalls are not only hard to find, but difficult to get to. Some hiking is required and it wouldn’t hurt to have a GPS on hand either. However, those willing to traverse the wild terrain and brave the elements are rewarded with a truly unique and unforgettable outdoor experience.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of some known waterfalls in the PA Great Outdoors, in order to get you started on your journey of waterfall discovery. Keep in mind that these are just some of the waterfalls that can be found in our area. Some waterfalls are hidden, some are seasonal, only popping up after periods of heavy rain. Hopefully the waterfalls listed below will help you wet your beak on waterfall discovery (no pun intended), and who knows, maybe next year we’ll include a new waterfall discovered by you!
Pigeon Run Waterfalls
Heads towards Marienville via Route 66. You’ll eventually come to a 6-way spoke intersection right in the middle of town. Turn onto East Spruce Street (T377). East Spruce Street eventually turns into Lamonaville Road (and changes from paved to dirt), and you’ll stay on that for approximately 3 miles. Once you reach a “T” intersection, head straight onto Duhring Road (Forest Road 130) and don’t mind the “No Outlet” signs. You’ll reach your destination before coming to the end of the road. Head past the sign for Buzzard Swamp, over the one lane bridge, and keep an eye out for a sign that says Horse/Walking Trail Number 17. This is where you’ll want to park.
Head up the trail and follow signs for Horse/Walking Trail Number 17. Cross over Mill Run (sorry, no bridge so you might want to bring your mucks) and be careful not to venture off Trail Number 17, as another trail intersects with it. The whole hike is less than a mile, and if the water levels are good, you should be able to hear Pigeon Run Falls before you see it.
Allegheny National Forest
Starting in the small village of Ludlow, head west down Main Street and veer left onto Water Street. Go 0.2 miles on Water Street before making another left onto Scenic Drive. After 1 mile, the road splits, and you’ll want to make a right onto Forestry Road 258. You’ll see a few gated roads leading off Forestry Road, and the one you’re looking for will be on the left and marked with the number 258H. You can park near the gate, just be careful not to block it.
Past the gate, you’re looking at a hike of about 1.4 miles. Follow the dirt road until it splits and then head left down a steeper, rockier path. There should be an old blue gate here at the entrance. Eventually you’ll come to a gas field with a blue gas pipe. Make a right past the gas pipe and follow the single-track path through the woods (remember what I said about hard to find, difficult to get to?). There will be a small, unnamed stream on your left, and following that downstream will lead you to Hector Falls.
Three Falls on Round Island Run
Quehanna Wild Area
From the town of Medix, follow the Quehanna Highway for 19.3 miles until you reach 3 Runs Road on your right. After 5.7 miles, 3 Runs Road comes to an intersection and becomes Dutchman Road. Stay straight through the intersection and hold on to your fillings as the road becomes bumpier than a herd of turtles. In 3 miles make a left onto Round Island Road. In 0.8 miles make a left onto Merry Lane and keep an eye out for a wooden trail marker for Round Island Trail Waterfalls.
You’re looking at a lengthy hike from here on out (about 25-30 minutes), but the good news is that there are no more turns. Just follow this trail down its steep and rocky path until you reach Three Falls on your left. Once you’re there, take your time enjoying it, because you certainly won’t enjoy the climb back.
Logan Run Falls
Allegheny National Forest
From Marienville, take Route 66 north of town for 8.1 miles until you see Blue Jay Creek Road (Route 1003) on your left. In 1.7 miles, you’ll make another left onto Job Corps Road (Route 128). Stay on Job Corps Road for approximately 5 miles, until you see a wooden cross marking the upcoming Deadman’s Crossing Intersection. Turn right onto the road marked 180 and then go exactly 2.5 miles. Look for a large, car-sized boulder on the right. Next to the boulder is a small pull-off for parking.
From the parking area, you’ll find a one-person path that leads to a slightly larger track down a steep hill. From here on out you’ll have a tough walk over roots and rocks, but soon enough you’ll hear the sounds of Logan Run Falls.
Rapp Run Falls
Starting in the middle of town, take North 5th Avenue out of town and across the Clarion River. In 1.3 miles, turn left onto Paint Mills Road/Bigley Road. Immediately after you cross the bridge, you’ll see a small pull off for vehicles around the first bend.
From here it’s just a short hike through the woods to Rap Run and Rap Run Falls. There’s no marked path, so tread carefully.
Wykoff Run Waterfalls
Last, but not least, are a couple of smaller waterfalls that you’ll have a much easier time getting to. From the Quehanna Highway, turn onto Wykoff Run Road. You’ll pass two bridges within the first half-mile, and then a third bridge after 3.6 miles. After the third bridge you’ll find a parking area, and both waterfalls are just a few yards off the road.
Find more natural wonders to explore online at VisitPAGO.com call the PA Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau at (814) 849-5197.