Hike Through Unforgettable Snowy Scenery at Ricketts Glen State Park
Another frosty winter settles over NEPA. The joys of warm summer hikes and colorful autumn strolls fade into distant memories. Flowering spring meadows lie dormant beneath a blanket of frost and snow. And those picturesque mountain waterfalls have iced over – their sparkling majesty halted in suspension awaiting the sun’s return north.
Wait just a minute. That actually sounds kind of awesome!
It is. And you can get up close and personal to this stunning scenery on a Winter Waterfall Ice Hike with Valley to Summit. The Philadelphia-based outdoor adventure guide service operates a full winter schedule of icy waterfall excursions at Ricketts Glen State Park. They provide all the necessary gear and a team of experienced guides. All you need is your plucky adventurous spirit, your warmest clothes and maybe a camera.
It’s far from just a walk in the park.
Even during the summer months, the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park borders on rigorous. In late winter, when ice and snow have crept over the rocky paths and stone stairs, the the trails are off-limits to casual hikers. Only experienced and properly equipped hikers and climbers are allowed access to the trail system.
And, that’s where the pros at Valley to Summit come in. The seasoned mountaineers bring years of knowledge and experience, ropes, harnesses, crampons (ice spikes worn over the boot) and ice axes. Their professionalism, enthusiasm and love for nature help to create an unforgettable outdoor experience.
A fun, frigid alternative to a lazy weekend on the couch.
Valley to Summit’s Winter Waterfall Ice Hikes run every weekend from January through March. They set off on three hikes per day. Full day adventures last approximately 4-5 hours, and the shorter, half day excursion runs about 2.5-3 hours. Half-day trips use an in and out hike while full-day trips use a clockwise “V” hike. Each hike begins with the introduction of the guides, the gear and a discussion about trail safety. Full-day hikes also include a shuttle back to the parking lot. Hike groups are limited to a maximum of 16 and a minimum of 6 participants. Private trips are also available upon request.
The full-day hike features a 3.7-mile “V” trail and an up-close look at 17 frozen waterfalls. Half-day hikes cover 2.4 miles of out and back trail, and stop by 4 of the park’s gorgeous falls. Each excursion includes the majestic, 95-foot Ganoga Falls.
Get out there and meet winter head on.
Aside from the picturesque waterfalls, there’s no shortage of magnificent sights. Stand in awe at the base of towering, ice coated cliffs. Find tranquility in the sound of the clear mountain stream bubbling just below the ice. Snap those Instagram-worthy pics.
Just because the temperature dips below freezing doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. Go ahead and earn that cozy evening on the couch. Embark on a unique, icy waterfall excursion with Valley to Summit.
Article Updated from its Original Version Published on 1/11/21.