Monday, May 30, 2011

Glen Onoko Falls/Broad Mountain - Lehigh Gorge State Park and SGL 141, PA


ABOUT THE PARK:
Lehigh Gorge State Park - Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
Glen Onoko Falls - Pocono Record
The Legend of Glen Onoko - Pennsylvania Haunts and History
Turn Hole Tunnel - Wikipedia

DIRECTIONS:
GPS coordinates to Glen Onoko Access parking 40.883555, -75.760422

View Larger Map

The parking lot above is the last lot just on the other side of the bridge over the Lehigh River with direct access to the Glen Onoko Falls Trail and it fills up quickly.  You will notice many other parking lots on the drive in.  If this lot is full, drive back out to the next lot with available space and walk back on the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail which runs parallel to the road.

TRAIL MAP:
I have not been able to find any trail maps for this area. I roughly drew in trails for this hike but it is completely unofficial and is by no means accurate, just intended to give an idea of how this hike plays out.
Official maps that do not show hiking trails:
The Lehigh Gorge State Park map will give you an idea of the surrounding area but does not show trail detail for this hike.

HIKE DISTANCE: 5.9 miles

HIKE DESCRIPTION:
As you drive into the last parking lot, just after crossing the bridge, there will be a picnic table on the right with a sign to the Falls Trail and information boards.  Go down the steps at the Falls Trail sign. The maps at the sign are Lehigh Gorge State Park maps which do not show the trails for this hike.
The hike starts in Lehigh Valley State Park but immediately enters State Game Lands 141.  Avoid deer season, wear orange all other times or hike only on Sundays when hunting is not allowed.
At the bottom of the steps you will see the sign above.  While the trail is indeed steep and treacherous at times, wearing proper hiking shoes that provide good traction on wet rock surfaces, carefully watching your footing and staying away from edges of steep drops is all it takes to navigate safely.  I was worried about how my dog would handle it but she had no problems with the trail at all.  Keep in mind this is an unmaintained trail with inconsistent blazing and lots of erosion.  At times you will be walking on stone steps, remnants of stairways built into the mountain at the turn of the 20th century by a hotel/resort which was destroyed by fire in 1911.

Turn right at the sign, go under the railroad tracks, turn right taking the trail parallel to the tracks until it turns sharply left leading away from the tracks.  The trail starts out deceivingly smooth and easy:
You will notice a variety of trail markings, where they exist.  There are many orange blazes that have been blacked out - do follow those anyway. The trail is obvious and the arrows do help so be sure to watch for them.  I read that the trail crosses the creek several times.  I did not find this to be the case at all as I was on the same side of the creek throughout entire hike.  In fact, it seems kind of dangerous to be crossing over.
Various types of trail markers.
The trail becomes rockier as it follows next to the falls.
Remnants of old stone steps.
Eroded trail section.
Chameleon Falls
Looking down from the top of Chameleon Falls - better view on clear days
You can stand behind these falls - orange "UNDER" with arrow painted on rock directs you to behind the falls.
Upon reaching the fire ring at the top of the falls, turn right and follow the trail up stone steps along large rock formations.  This foot path follows the rim of Broad Mountain to views.  At the first view below, make note of a trail that makes a sharp right heading down the mountain. This will be the return route.
First view of the Borough of Jim Thorpe with mountains in the background on a hazy day.
Second view of Lehigh River at end of foot trail along Broad Mountain rim.
Woods road through State Game Lands 141 popular for mountain biking.
Power Cut
Oxbow Bend view reached by side trail on right just beyond the pipeline.
View of the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail from above.
For this hike, the Oxbow Bend view is the turnaround point.  The hike can be made much longer by continuing on the woods roads to form a loop but you might find the woods roads boring after having already experienced the best part of this hike so why not revisit the views on the way back? Returning to the first view of the Borough of Jim Thorpe, take the trail that bends sharply to the right to descend from Broad Mountain.  You will notice many more stone step remnants as will as old stone wall ruins.
Eastern Milk Snake on Trail
After rejoining the Falls Trail from the beginning of the hike, go under the railroad tracks and continue a short distance ahead along the river to see the opening of the Turn Hole Tunnel.
To enter this tunnel go back up the steps to the parking lot, turn left and cross over the bridge you drove in on.
 A short distance ahead, turn left into the first gravel parking lot.  Walk through that end of the lot to a wide trail on the left which brings you to the tunnel entrance.  It is very dark - step carefully over old railroad ties still in place.
Inside dark tunnel.
View from tunnel opening.

HIKE SUMMARY:
[  0.00]  Follow Falls Trail sign down steps; turn right at warning sign, go under railroad tracks; turn right parallel to railroad tracks; follow trail to left away from railroad tracks at top of hill
[  0.15]  At fork turn left up stone steps (trail on right is return route); left at T intersection top of stone steps
[  0.25]  Follow large blue arrow on tree as trail reaches the waterfalls
[  0.45]  Orange tape shows to follow badly eroded section, can be bypassed to the right;
[  0.50]  Chameleon Falls (wall of water coming straight down); trail veers right away from falls
[  0.55]  Top of Chameleon Falls - blue arrow says to cross over falls - no not cross, follow orange arrow straight to stay on same side; go up steps; continue following blacked out orange blazes
[  0.60]  Arrow pointing left indicates "Under" to go behind falls; retrace and take right fork with arrow to "Top"
[  0.65]  Top of falls at "You Made It" painted on rock; continuing straight, stream forks, take trail to right of the smaller right fork of the stream following blacked out orange blazes
[  0.70]  At fire ring turn right and go up stone steps to the right of large rock formations***
[  1.00]  View at right down stone steps; make note of trail veering sharply right for return route but go back up stone steps to continue on unmarked foot trail along mountain rim
[  1.05]  Left at fork
[  1.40]  Continue straight over rock field; trail continues on other side
[  1.60]  Right at fire pit to view; retrace and continue straight past fire pit on rock/gravel road
[  1.75]  At grassy intersection, turn right on woods road; blue blazes painted on trees
[  2.00]  Rock hop to left over small stream
[  2.20]  Cross power cut; stay on woods road with blue blazes go right
[  2.40]  Follow woods road to left when narrower path goes straight (path goes to limited views blocked by foliage)
[  2.55]  Cross petroleum pipeline (sign on right)
[  2.60]  Turn right on trail shortly after crossing pipeline; keep left at split
[  2.70]  View of Oxbow Bend; retrace
[  2.80]  Left on woods road
[  2.85]  Cross petroleum pipeline
[  3.00]  Follow woods road to right when trail to limited views goes to left
[  3.10]  Stay on woods road when blue blazes go to left
[  3.25]  Cross power cut; blue blazes along woods road
[  3.45]  Rock hop to right over small stream
[  3.65]  At grassy intersection, turn left on narrower rocky road leaving woods road
[  3.75]  Back at view beyond fire pit; turn right at fire pit on foot path along rim of mountain
[  4.25]  Keep right at fork
[  4.40]  Go down stone steps to left to view; continue downhill where trail goes sharply to the right - return route noted from earlier in the hike
[  4.75]  At bottom of steps at T intersection turn left (trail coming in from right comes down directly from the top of the falls at the fire ring from what hikers coming down that way told me)
[  5.15]  After going down stone steps and passing wall ruins, left at T intersection, hop over log, turn left at next intersection - this is the Falls Trail where the hike started
[  5.20]  Make sharp right at railroad tracks, follow downhill, turn left under railroad tracks; pass steps up to parking lot to side trails on right for river view; return to parking lot
[  5.40]  Back at parking lot turn left and cross bridge over river
[  5.55]  Left into gravel lot, left to railroad tunnel entrance and continue through tunnel; retrace
[  5.75]  Exit tunnel, right through gravel parking log, right on park road, cross bridge over river
[  5.90]  End at parking lot

*** This picture provided by Anonymous of July 15, 2012 for further clarification of where to go from the fire ring.  Thank you!
Per Anonymous of 7/15/2012:
"After making right and up after fire pit, if you don't see large rock formations and rock steps within 5 minutes (one landmark: two big, almost rectangular rocks standing 4-5 feet apart, a tree right in the middle, but on top of one of the rocks), you are going the wrong way. Retrace to fire pit and try to find these rock formations and steps."

LITTER REPORT:
Please take a piece of carelessly discarded litter out with you.  This is what my dog packed out in her backpack so you won't have to look at it.

88 comments:

  1. How long did this hike take you?

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  2. Hilary,

    I can't really say for several reasons. I don't pay attention to the time, stop a lot to take pictures, take breaks and take my time exploring things. I hiked farther out than this write-up and explored some side trails but did not include those since there wasn't much to see or the trails ended up going nowhere. Also, everyone hikes at a different pace. It will take a lot longer to hike up the falls than along the rim of the mountain. It took almost an hour to reach the top of the falls and that was less than a mile.

    Daniela

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  3. Thanks! So maybe 3 hours would be a good guess based on what you said?

    Also, could you skip the section along the rim of the mountain and just go to top of falls and back down? Or would this avoid all the nice views?

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  4. You would need to go to the specific overlooks to see the views mentioned.

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  5. beautiful pics! i must say you have some amazing camera skills and balls big enough to carry in a wheel barrow to take a pic of that snake! pam

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  6. Would you recommend this hike for mid November for someone who hasn't got a lot of hiking experience?

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  7. I would not recommend the trail along the falls in the winter - it is very steep, eroded and wet which would mean it would most likely be icy and slippery that time of year.

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  8. Great write-up! Just as I remember it!

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  9. We used your directions to find the falls and they were perfect! Thank you for guiding us...totally a tough hike up the falls with the errosion and trail damage (I suspect it even worse after Irene and flooding last fall...some of your pics look nice compared to what we say yesterday) but so totally worth it. Thank you for helping us find our way!!

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    1. When I was preparing to do this hike it was so hard to find any information about it so I am glad what I reported back was of help! I can imagine Irene did quite a number on that trail :(

      Daniela

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  10. If we ride down the D&L Trail Lehigh Gorge State Park Trail using a shuttle, can we lock up our bikes at Glen Onoko and do this hike? It seems like the Gorge trail goes right by the parking area, but kind of hard to know for sure. Thanks

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    1. Yes, the Lehigh Gorge Trail goes right through the parking lot. As you come up on a bridge, you will see the steps going down to the left at the far end of the parking lot just before the bridge - that is where you go to access the falls. Look at the state park map: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/ucmprd2/groups/public/documents/document/dcnr_003769.pdf
      Scroll down to the shaded box for Jim Thorpe. In the upper left corner of that shaded box is Glen Onoko and the parking lot with the Lehigh Gorge Trail going through it. That is the place. As far as locking up bikes, I did not notice a place for that - not saying there isn't one, just was not looking. You might want to check with the park to be sure but I would think it should be doable since it is on a bike trail. That is a great idea you have doing it that way. I know you'll love it!

      Daniela

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  11. I just discovered your blog while looking for a trail map of Glen Onoko (to try to extend the hike beyond just going up the falls and back down the backside of the mountain) and am looking forward to really exploring it more. I'm in Bethlehem, Pa., so you're doing some perfect hikes for my location and I'll look forward to going to a couple new places in DWG.

    Now I just need to figure out how you got your dog to never go to the bathroom on the trail, because that'd be a real nice training trick!

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    1. Would be nice to be able to train that but I can't take credit for it. My dog just happens to have this opinion that her yard is the only place to go. That is wonderful for hiking but when we travel, she will hold it for a good 36 hours until she can hold it no more and that is quite stressful - for me!

      Daniela

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  12. does anyone know if youre allowed to make your own fire in the pit?

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    1. You should probably contact the PA Game Commission to ask since the fire pits are on State Game Lands.
      http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/state_game_lands/11363

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  13. I have done this trail twice. You briefly mention crossing the water, and your opinion that this should be avoided. First of all, it was not dangerous, and was one of the fun parts of the hike. But more importantly, this seems to be the preferred way as it avoids that eroded area you show. I know because the first time I missed the upper turn across the creek on the way down, and ended up coming down that eroded area. That is a big mistake! Perhaps it depends on how strong the flow is when you go.

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  14. I came across your blog while planning another hike for Broad Mtn. Ive hiked up Glen Onoko Falls many times as well as the loop up on Broad Mtn, back down the trail along the Mountainside and cycled many miles north along the Lehigh River. I enjoyed reading your blog. You did a great job.

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  15. Hello,
    I am the Anonymous from April 17. I want to thank you for your detailed directions as the trail is ridiculously poorly marked. It is remarkably beautiful and pictures don't do it justice. The steep green hills on both sides of the water and the numerous falls really make it stand out and it is unique, probably for the whole northeast. It is amazing how unpublicized it is and that all there is to identify it is a small "Falls trail" sign. The trail really easily could be improved with a few blazes. Other people along the whole route were stopped at intersections of side trails trying to figure out which way to go, double-backing, and unknowingly taking more dangerous routes. We had some trouble even with the directions, partly because some markings had worn away. We did not see a single blue arrow. I saw the "You Made IT" but it was so worn that I could barely read it and would not have noticed it if I was not looking for it. At times we were unsure which part of the directions we were at and there are many side trails throughout the whole hike. For future hikers the one spot that caused the most confusion is where the directions read " [ 0.70] At fire ring turn right and go up stone steps to the right of large rock formations". Perhaps clearer directions would be, go right towards the fire ring, pass straight by it and go up the steps. Turning right at the fire pit leads you to this intersection, which you correctly presumed later "[ 4.75] At bottom of steps at T intersection turn left (trail coming in from right comes down directly from the top of the falls at the fire ring from what hikers coming down that way told me)". The steps were not immediately visible so we were unsure of which way to go. Also, I'm not sure, but it seemed like we could have not gone either of these ways and avoided repeating the pipeline section of the trail, by not turning right towards the fire ring, but staying left or straight (to the left of the fire ring) and heading around so that you would eventually turn left to go down stone step trail.

    Anyway, thanks for the help

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  16. Beautiful and adventurous hike. Directions and picture mentioned here were VERY helpful. Anonymous from Apr. 17 made a good point. I lost my way at [0.70] fire pit as well. I actually descended the mountain and then retraced back to the fire pit. After making right and up after fire pit, if you dont see large rock formations and rock steps within 5 minutes (one landmark: two big, almost rectangular rocks standing 4-5 feet apart. A tree right in the middle, but on top of one of the rocks. Wish there was a way to post pictures here), you are going the wrong way. Retrace to fire pit and try to find these rock formations and steps. This part is not marked at all. There are blazes that go towards left and up from the fire-pit, which take you to woods road. If you want to go to the rock formation mentioned above, DO NOT take this left.

    Trail markings are difficult to spot between [1.00] to [1:40] as well. Keep a watchful eye at this stretch.

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    1. If you have a picture and would like to email it for me, I'll include it. You can send it to: dvwag13 (at) gmail (dot) com As you can well imagine, it is very hard to describe a hike when there are no good blazes or maps to reference.

      Daniela

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  17. My wife and I hiked this on Fri July 20. At the very beginning, after turning left away from train tracks, we ended up going up one of the many paths in that area and wound up accidentally on the return trail first, and then took the hike 'backwards'. To go to the falls first, after turning away from the RR tracks, make sure you stay on the trail that goes across the hill away from the tracks until you reach the stone steps at 0.15 (the trail was slightly washed out and that is what threw me off), and do not take one of the paths that go straight up the hill. Although we went in the reverse direction, I have another suggestion to add to Anonymous July 7's suggestion for fire ring going the way described above. They say, " go right towards the fire ring, pass straight by it and go up the steps". I would add that when you pass straight by it, the trail is not a path in the dirt, but more like a path over rocks. Go straight up the rocks where you will soon see a second fire ring; continue straight past that to the large rock formation with the tree in the middle. The trail then goes to the right. As Anonymous July 15 says, find this formation, or double back to the fire ring and look again. If correct, I think you would see the second fire ring and the rock formation in less than 5 mins, more like 2 -3 mins tops. Thank you for the directions and posts. We really enjoyed the hike. I believe it would be easier to take in the direction described above as it would be easier coming down the mountain on the stone steps. The trails near the falls were very washed out and it is probably easier going up them vs going down them as we did.

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    1. When I did this hike there was almost no information available about it online. It's great to have so much input all on one place here. Thanks for additional information!

      Daniela

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  18. Awesome blog. My favorite hike around here, that's for sure! I'd always done the hike by going up the falls then taking the "foot path" described going right from the first fire pit. I did, however, discover part of the rest of the trail once when bushwacking for a geocache at the top of the mountain, and went down many stone steps. Going back up today, and going to try it your way.

    I think half the fun of this is that there are many ways to do it and self-discover paths. I was curious where the water started once and hiked up to determine its source -- found it under some rocks up further (maybe 1/2 mi?). There are footpaths paths up that way too. Go for it. :)

    Cary
    carybhall@yahoo.com
    Souderton, PA

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  19. First, props to Daniela for having this blog and documenting this hike more thoroughly than anyone. Today (about my 10th try) I did the entire hike including the second view and the oxbow. Distances are so deceiving - you need to keep going and going. The trail from view 1 to view 2 is poorly marked on the return, and not marked at all on the front end. I finally put it all together by going back to the first firepit, then up to the 'woods road' then across (seemed like forever) to view 2, then across the power cut to the tree with a blue 'T' which takes you to the seasonal view, then back to the 'woods road' PAST the pipeline to the straight-on view of the oxbow. We came back to view 2 and took the direct trail this time to view 1. There were extremely faint and rare red blazes. Turning my head around to see the view if I was going the other way from view 1 to 2, I realized the trail would be IMPOSSIBLE for me to follow at this time. Took 5 hours with 1 hour of mistakes, and a bum knee on way back. Went down the '1000 steps' from view 1 to the alternate falls down trail. Some day I would like to learn more about the history of the hotel that existed in the 19th century, whose workers, I believe, were responsible for all the steps going up the falls and down from view 1.

    Rich (I also wrote April 26th, 2012)

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  20. This is the Anonymous from April 18 with a possible caution: While 2012 was supposedly an epically bad tick season, I've never had a worse experience than along the fire road at the top of the hike.

    We'd gone most of the way to the end of the trail Daniela describes when we stopped for a bathroom break, during which we noticed a tick on our shoes -- at which point, it become something like the leech scene from "Stand By Me." TONS of ticks on all of our shoes and all over my poor dog's paws.

    We picked them off, started heading back and soon had to do it all over again. We ended up with more ticks on us than the rest of my (somewhat considerable) hiking experiences combined. If it's as bad as it was last year (and sadly I suspect it will continue to get worse thanks to global warming), I highly recommend avoiding the fire road at the very peak of tick season or bringing tweezers and lots of bug spray and scheduling stops to clean off ticks.

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    1. Did this just happen? I have had that happen a few times but not this early in the year, usually in the fall. On the other hand, I did pull a tick off of myself this past January. They are the most vile creatures ever! Thanks for the info.

      Daniela

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  21. Thanks for your blog, only wished I had seen it before hiking it last week and today. Poorly marked trails at the top of the mt. Great Views. We came down the steep side after passing the power lines and headed back on the RR tracks.

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  22. Hello Daniela, I recenly came upon your posts, and I must say, they are very interesting and well done. I also travel in this region and your blog will be a great resourse for my future travels. However, from my hiking experiance in Glen Onoko, I belive that the lowest waterfall is named Chameleon Falls, the middle is Onoko Falls, and the upper is Hidden Sweet or Cave Falls. Nontheless, I enjoyed reading this post as Glen Onoko is one of my favorite places. And I can't believe that I missed those trails overlooking the Lehigh River. I can't wait to explore them in the future. Thanks, Boris.

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    1. Thanks, Boris! I wish I had been there on a clear day but that just means I'll have to do it again someday.

      Daniela

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  23. thank you sooooo much for this blog. went hiking with a big group today and it helped immensely!

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, Eric! So glad it helped! I bet the falls were spectacular after all the rain yesterday.

      Daniela

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  24. Just hiked today, with my 6, (almost)5 and 3.5 year old girls on foot and my 23m old son in the backpack. This is one of our favorite spots. And, as you said, it is extremely dangerous. A lady fell off chameleon falls today and, sadly, did not survive. PLEASE BE CAREFUL!

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    1. Sorry, Rachel, but I am just a tad horrified that you did it with small children and several of them at that!

      Daniela

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  25. this is that lady
    her name was Perla Cabral R.I.P.

    http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/local&id=9203015

    http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2013/08/woman_killed_in_fall_at_state.html

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  26. Daniela - thank you so much for posting this blog! My 20 year old daughter and I hiked the falls today (after not finding it the first time last year). Your map was SO helpful. After the arduous hike up, more like rock climbing then hiking, I was a bit nervous about coming back down the same way - your map and directions sharing the alternate loop down through the woods was perfect! There were some points we were a bit concerned we were not going the right way, but then we would see a mark on a tree and we were on track. Much more relaxed hike back down, but so happy we were able to see the falls. We saw some crazy guys who hiked right up the water, and two families with small children - very scary to us, especially after what happened a couple weeks ago. Just a wonderful day, with a great dinner in Jim Thorpe afterwards, before my daughter heads back to college! Thanks for a GREAT blog!

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    1. Thank you! So glad you were able to enjoy the hike. I agree, it's not an appropriate hike for small children. Not worth the risk. Keep the place safe so it's there for them to enjoy when they grow up and can appreciate it more.

      Daniela

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  27. Is there spots to camp?

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    1. Sorry, I have no idea. You would need to contact the PA Game Commission regarding camping regulations.

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  28. We went here last January and it was beautiful! We hiked the whole way to the top of the waterfall and it was gorgeous!! This place will always be my special place since this is where my now fiance got down on one knee and proposed! We are returning this weekend and thrilled to hike the trail again!

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    1. OK now, sorry to sound like your mom, but I would STRONGLY advise against going this weekend. Last winter was not as severe as this winter. It is way too cold and icy right now and you don't want it to be your last memory :(. Why not wait until it's a bit safer? It's a dangerous hike in good conditions. Just my $.02.

      Daniela

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  29. Four of us (all in our 60s) travel to Jim Thorpe about every 2 years for a fun weekend of biking and hiking. We just spent this past weekend there and biked 10.5 miles on Friday after arriving to town, and another 26 miles on Saturday. A few years ago we "stumbled" upon this trail but as it quickly became a rock climb rather than a hike, we turned back since we were ill-prepared. The second trip we decided to hike up using the return route you describe, which was great but it didn't have the beautiful waterfall vistas. This recent trip, we decided to attack the creek side trail (after getting more hiking experience on strenuous, steep trails) and we loved the challenge. We took our time and considered every path we followed (or created on our own), crab walking up rock faces or ladder climbing using sturdy tree roots. We were definitely the oldest hikers on the trail that day, and we saw a lot of sneakered walkers taking huge risks on the wet rocks and steep slopes. Your description of the trail is very accurate so thanks for the posting. We'll be back on this trail again.

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    1. Sounds like you all have a great time there! Thank you for being a responsible hiker and knowing your limitations. It is very scary to see the unnecessary risks some people take.

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  30. Did this hike May 11th, 2014. After the highest fall, I took the path through big rocks and finally arrived at the gravel road that has a wooden bridge over the creek. There were at least two ways to go from there: the gravel road leading away from the falls and a narrow woods trail that seems to go along the rim of the mountain. As I only had about 2 hours before sunset, I turned around to go back down. Too bad there were no trail marks past the highest fall. Will have to find the overlooks on my next hike up there.

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    1. My group made it to exactly this point as well, but then had no clue where to go next. As soon as we got onto the gravel road at the top of the waterfalls, we turned left, crossed the bridge and took the blue-marked path straight ahead. Well after miles of walking through this forest path we eventually arrived at the Carbon County Prison! It turns out we were walking for miles in the wrong direction so we had to take a taxi back...I just wish the trails were better marked or that the directions were more clear in regards to this area. It was still an exciting time nonetheless!

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  31. Sadly, there has been yet another untimely death at Glen Onoko Falls just a month ago. Twenty year old Jesse Michael Crossley fell to his death on April 14, 2014 at about noontime. I'm assuming it was from Chameleon Falls, but don't know for sure.

    Please do not underestimate this trail as many hikers have died and been badly injured here. There have been two deaths in the past year alone. I took my young kids two summers ago and it began to rain while we were descending. It was nerve-wracking to watch my kids bound down the trail. See article about Jesse M. Crossley below.

    http://www.wfmz.com/news/Regional-Poconos-Coal/hiker-falls-from-falls-in-glen-onoko-falls/25468278

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    1. So sad. And this is why I say time and time again it's not worth taking unnecessary risks on this trail.

      Daniela

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  32. Thanks a lot for writing this up! Going there today.

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  33. I was just up there yesterday. They now have it chained-off at the top of the second falls to prevent hikers from getting too close to the edge. Our group (who try to get up there twice a month) had our first rattlesnake encounter at the top in the boulder field. Make sure you're always keeping an eye out!

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  34. Hi Daniela: I tried to post this earlier and it doesn't seem to have worked -- I hope it doesn't show up twice here! But I wanted to say we really appreciated the trail directions here, and discovering this place through your blog. We're in Tarrytown, and made a day of it, first to this beautiful hike and then to the unique village of Jim Thorpe. And so glad we did. We accidentally hiked the return route first, and that turned out to be a good thing, I think, because we were able to sort of relax more and enjoy the falls on the way down.

    What a place! The falls trail reminded me of hiking in the Deep South, as the trail skirts under the rhododendrons. Or maybe the feeling is tropical. You are so right, too: you have to be very careful, because a fall would be tragic.

    I have to say I never would have found Jim Thorpe without stumbling into it after this hike. Well worth it to spend the late afternoon in the "Switzerland of Pennsylvania"! Like a little village in the Alps -- and they've figured out how to make outdoor active tourism work for them! Thanks again.

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  35. just hiked it with 4 teenagers and my husband! not what we expected but we had good shoes and it was beautiful! would not do it with small children especially one in a backpack...

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    1. Amazing the risks some people take, isn't it? Glad you enjoyed it responsibly.

      Daniela

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  36. Awesome hike! We loved it. Your directions were spot on. We traveled with a copy of your map and the detailed directions and we all agreed that it would have been difficult to know where to go in a few places without them. I think few people make it out to the oxbow bend, we had the trail to ourselves for most of the hike. Thank you again for your wonderful instructions!

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    1. So glad it helps, especially since my cartography skills leave a lot to be desired :) Thanks!

      Daniela

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  37. I am planning to hike this trail in a few weeks. This is EXTREMELY helpful! Are you familiar with any camping near by? Either tent or cabin/shelter camping

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    1. Sorry, can't help you out with that since it was a day trip for me but there should be something since it is a very popular area.

      Daniela

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    2. we found one close by thanks!

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    3. Dearest Gone Hikin'
      Per whether to cross the creek or not: PLEASE change your comments in your blog so people DO cross the stream. I went up your way (entirely on Right side of creek) last week, But today, I crossed the creek. There are nice steps on Left side of creek. Then after a while the trail crosses back to the right side. We are causing TOO much damage on Right side as we struggle up steep dirt embankments, pull down bushes, and wear away the earth. Otherwise we love your instructions.

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    4. Sorry, Christine, but I will not change anything to what I have not personally hiked and I do not recommend crossing the creek as it can be very dangerous. The only way to minimize the damage is to have properly blazed and maintained trails but unfortunately, they don't exist.

      Daniela

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  38. I just did the hike this past weekend. It was really beautiful. It took us about 4 hours to do the hike exactly as described above, but we stopped several times to take pictures of the waterfalls and viewpoints, as well as a longer stop for lunch.

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  39. My husband was hiking on the trail with a friend last Wednesday (June 17, 2015). He had a sudden heart attach and died on the trail. I was not with him but I would really like to find the spot that he died. I am 45 years old and now a widow and we have a 11 and 14 year old sons. We miss him dearly and I need closure. I would like to thank the stranger on the trail who I was told tried to perform CPR. I heard it was hard for the paramedics to get to him. Was anyone there when this happened? (amylolli@comcast.net)

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  40. Would like to thank the Dirt Bags that feel the Need to Graffiti up the scenery and leave there trash behind ! ! Class acts.

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  41. Hello, my boyfriend and I just did this hike last weekend. It was beyond gorgeous! However, we only went up the falls and then came back down the gravel and steps trail back to the steps to get up to the parking lot. I am having a hard time piecing the instructions together for how to get to the other trails to see the views after reaching the top of the falls. Can you or anyone offer any advice? We can't believe that we missed an entire section of trail, and want to go back next year. Thanks!

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    1. Once you get to the top of the falls, if you're facing the falls, the trail continues to the right of the stream. Basically just keep going upward - I think the trails were recently marked better with orange. You can keep going up until coming to a clearing; at that point, you can continue to the right and loop around and down to the trail head.

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  42. Thank you for this description! I think this is the trail I was looking for. I hiked it a few times in '97 or so and want to go there next summer!

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  43. I did this hike about 37 years ago in the snow to see the falls all frozen over. It was awsome. Planning on doing it next week with my wife so I appreciate your blog with all the tips.

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  44. Yep, my wife and I hiked (I should say climbed) up Glen Onoko Falls a few days ago. It definitely requires hiking boots, which we had, especially on your way back down. We went up on the right side all the way and came back down the same way. I don't remember it being as strenuous as it is, but I was in my early 20's then. I am now 60. Anyway, IT WAS AWESOME!!! I want to do it again!

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  45. is this a loop trail?

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  46. My friend and I did this hike yesterday. First off, thank you Daniela for your information, not on just this hike but also all the others you've done. The trail is now (as of 12/15) pretty well blazed in orange to the top of the falls, past the large rock formations, and to the viewpoint with the return stairway, and back down. Hikers shouldn't have much trouble finding their way, but you will need arm strength as on many occasions you will need to pull yourself up while grabbing roots. Also, the places to cross the creek are self-evident along the hike, although we stayed on the right-hand side all the way up. It can be done either way, although care should be taken any time you attempt to cross a flowing creek. My question for Daniela (or anyone else that can help), is this: we found our way to the second view on the map very easily - however, we wanted to go out to Oxbow Bend, and for the life of us couldn't find the trail that connects up to the fire road. In that area, there is a evident rocky trail that runs along the mountain rim, but we didn't see the trail heading away from the mountain rim and toward the fire road. Estimating from my GPS / Google map locator, looked like it was a good 1/4 to 1/2 mile to reach the fire road from the second viewpoint on the map. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

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    1. Gosh, it has been so long since I was there I really don't recall but I don't remember having a very hard time finding Oxbow Bend after hitting dead end or two and turning back. But things could have changed over the years, too.

      Daniela

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  47. A PLEA TO ALL HIKERS THINKING OF DOING THIS HIKE:

    Please read Daniela's suggestions about safety carefully, as they are on the mark. And this I cannot overstate: please use common sense and FOLLOW RULES!
    This means don't go up there wearing sneakers. There's a reason the State of Pennsylvania spent all that money on signage warning about wearing hiking boots. I've never appreciated mine as much as on this hike. You wear sneakers, you are a risk. Sneakers are not meant nor do they grip well in muddy and on exposed wet rock, which you will encounter. And every time an unprepared hiker gets hurt (or dies) up there, not only do you cause other people to risk their safety to help you, you start the whole "should they close Glen Onoko" debate again at the Carbon County Municipal Building. Meaning, your behavior puts the trail at risk for EVERYONE. Prepared, responsible hikers should not have to pay for the senselessness and lack of common sense of dilettantes whom should know better but are above following someone else's (in this case, the PA State Game Lands Commission) rules. Please, follow the posted rules or stay off the trail.
    You should not do this as your first hike. If all you've done is la-di-da flat trails, try Mount Minsi in the Delaware Water Gap before this to see if you can handle it. Work your way up to this trail and you'll be rewarded; rush to it and you will be punished. Same thing goes for your fitness level. You need not be an triathlete, but if you are out of shape and tire easily, or aren't flexible, have a bad back or bad knees, this isn't the place for you. There are many easier hikes for persons to enjoy who aren't able to tackle this one. Please assess your own fitness level and avoid biting off more than you can chew. Please don't be one of the disrespectful clods that do graffiti up there and don't litter the trail with your garbage. Again, have respect for others using the trail behind you, as well as respect for the trail itself.
    Again, this trail only gets its bad publicity from persons not following rules, disrespecting its challenge, and tempting fate too close to cliff edges. Sadly, some have paid for that behavior with their life, others with trips to hospitals, and that is a damn shame. Sadder still, we all pay for that behavior, and should the trail be closed permanently one day when the State of PA has had enough, I'm sure it will be for exactly the reasons I've outlined above. Some common sense BEFORE heading to the trailhead goes a long way - and goes even further while on the trail.
    I wish you all safe hiking!!!

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    1. Shoes are important, and so are physical and mental fitness. Let me just add that trail condition is probably even more of a factor. If it is covered in snow and ice, the fact that the ice-climbers made it up there, is no guarantee that you will. If it just rained, it will be slippery, and it takes a while for the sun to get into the valley. On a good day, most hikers won't have much of a problem.

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  48. Would you know if you are allowed to hike in what is considered the off season. ? I am looking to go tomorrow , 64* and sunny.

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    1. As far as I know but there could still be ice and it is especially dangerous when icy. You really need to contact the park to find out for sure. It has been years since I hiked there.

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  49. Just went on the hike today, and it was perfect! Thank you for your amazing directions!

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  50. I printed out and used your directions when I hiked Glen Onoko Falls today! Thank you so much for your helpful descriptions. The falls were breathtaking, and I noticed a lot of sidetrails. Does anyone know if there are any remnants of the hotel that used to be there? I'd love to go back and do some more exploring.

    Anyway, your blog is awesome, and please, never stop writing! I'll definitely be using this as a source of reference for future hikes.

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    1. Thanks so much, Gabbie! Glad you enjoyed the hike.

      Daniela

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    2. Hi Gabbie,
      How long was the hike for you? I am thinking of visiting in the next two weeks with a 13 and 9 year old. Were there any tricky spots to watch out for?

      Thanks.

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  52. gone hiking can you email me palthea112160@aol.com i have a question for you
    thanks trisha

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  53. Looks like a wonderful place--thanks for sharing!

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  54. I went hiking to Glen Onoko Falls and trail yesterday!! Loved every bit of it! This guide is very useful, since there is not provided there, except scary warning signs. If you're wearing proper hiking shoes, you're good to go. Great experience!

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  55. Thank you so much for packing out that trash. If you don't who would, well, I would, but who else?
    Thanks very much!! - John

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    1. At least there are two of us :) Thanks!

      Daniela

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  56. Just hiked the trail today for the second time (first time was May of 2016). We were confused getting started, but followed the sign to the left and arrived at the falls. We continued up to 'the top' and continued on the Red trail 'loop' to the rock ledge and the view of the town of Jim Thorpe. Then followed down the steep rocky path.

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