Rickett's Glen State Park

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Ricketts Glen State Park is in Columbia, Luzerne and Sullivan Counties, Pennsylvania. Region: North Central

Reviewed by: Bill Ames
Best reason to go: waterfalls, fishing
Cost: prevailing rates, ~$15-$20
Prime Campsites: 36 and 37, if you can get them both
Rating: 8/10

About the campsites:

Many of the camp sites at Rickett's Glen are right on the shore of Lake Jean, but shore fishing isn't so hot. The shore sites are built up on a bed of fine red gravel, and there's plenty of room for a car and a tent, but not much more. I was slightly concerned about the gravel punching holes in my tent, so I used a sturdy tarp under my tent.

There are hot showers and flush toilets, and the sites have a picnic table, of course. There is the standard fire ring, but available firewood was picked through pretty good when I was there in the early part of the season.

Sites 36 and 37, if you can get them both, stand out from the rest of the sites. Not only do they offer a bit of privacy, but being a little away from the other sites, they have their own little isthmus that you would essentially have to yourself. The other sites don't really stand out from each other, except that some are on the shore of the lake and others are not. I would warn against anything near the restrooms, since they are prime spots for RV'ers, camping in force.

I see state parks as a place to 'base camp' for hiking and such, not as an extension of the local trailer park. Your mileage may vary, but I would recommend any of the sites on the shore of Lake Jean over the 'interior' sites. I stayed at site 31 with my girlfriend, and although it rained the whole time we were there, it was quite acceptable.

Visit the DCNR for a camp map.


My reviews are biased towards the hiker's perspective, since that's my interest. It is worthy to note that many folks camp here for the fishing. For me, the best reason to go to Rickett's Glen is the nearby trail full of waterfalls--it is nothing short of spectacular.

The park is situated near a high lake, Lake Jean, which feeds two different mountain streams that cascade down a steep ravine. The result is 21 named waterfalls that are nothing short of spectacular. Now, when I hiked this, it was early spring, and it was rainy, but the falls, some of which drop 100 feet, rivaled anything I've hiked all day to see in Shenandoah National Park. Here, you get to see 21 of them over a 5 mile trail.

Any one of these falls is worthy of a full day's hike, but here, you nearly get more than you can take in. Budget a full day for this hike, and certainly bring your camera and a tripod. The trail is steep, but well maintained and easy to follow.

Rickett's Glenn is pretty far from any cities, so figure on bringing all your food and stuff with you. There is a nice ice cream stand just outside the park, but no real grocery stores.

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Photos by William Ames




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