Glen Onoko Falls Hike
Mileage: about 3 miles GPS Directions 40.883237, -75.762165
Hike time: 3.5 hrs with 3 kids Facebook
Rise: 1188 ft Weather
Significance:Rock scrambles, waterfalls, views East Coast Fire Towers
Here is some of what you need to know: This is one of the coolest trails around; it is a technical trail with rock scrambles and high waterfalls. Use good footwear and watch your step, people have died here. My kids were 7 and 3 when I first brought them here.
The beginning of the hike is a little confusing so I will do my best to walk you through it.
1. Scroll the mouse over the altitude line to see where it lines up on the map
2. Click on the flags for more information
3. Click on the pictures to make them large
When you walk down the steps from the parking area you will meet this sign. Make a right, walk under the bridge, and follow the river for about 0.2 miles.
There is an easier way to start this hike, unfortunately the lack of signs makes it too difficult to direct you there. So if you have traveled the 0.2 miles along the river you will start to hear rushing water, then you will see the fast stream. To the right of the stream you will see a trail going into the Rhododendrons. Do not worry, it is worth the work.
The trail is filled with big rocks that you will have to climb over. Where there are not rocks the ground is steep. This can be a tough trail, but it is awesome and the kids loved it. I carried the baby on my back as I always do, the 7 and 3 year old did it with no problem.
Their are 3 main falls, but almost the entire hike along the creek is made of a thousand tiny waterfalls. Here are some photos:
On the path between the bottom of the second falls to the top of the second falls is an area of stacked rocks. The actual name for this is Cairn, and aside from this rock garden you will find stacked rocks all over this park.
The only vista on the trail is from the second falls. It is difficult to see since a chain has been place to block people from walking out onto it. *Their is a lookout above the old train tunnel you saw when you came in.
It may seem the trail disappears at the top of the second falls. As you face the water turn around and look behind you for an orange arrow spray painted on a rock.
It is not far to the third and final waterfall. This one has a little cave behind the falls I was able to duck into. To make this hike a loop you will have to follow the trail to the top of these falls and beyond.
If you want to make a loop out of this hike then your next goal after the falls is to find the fire ring. This could be very easy but a lack of signage makes it a little more work. I do not want to discourage you, we found it by verbal directions and you can to. So… as you leave the top of the third falls you want to continue in the up stream direction but baring slightly Right, you should see some kind of trail. In a short distance you will come across a large open area with a fire ring. Too the right of that fire ring is a well defined trail heading in the down hill direction.
The path down is a sharp contrast from the chaos of Onoko falls. The loudest sounds come from the birds, the boulders are gone, and it did not feel as steep. It is only about 1 mile to the bottom from the fire ring.
This hike is so much fun we usually do it every year. I feel it is worth a couple of hours of driving to get there. In fact, you should spend the night. Nearby Jim Thorpe is one of the coolest old towns around. It has that artsy fartsy stuff and the Lehigh River runs through it with opportunities for Kayaking and canoeing. Their is a spot to hop on an incredible section of Rails to Trails right at the Onoko parking area. Lastly the old steam powered train takes people on tours through the Lehigh Gorge (great in the fall). It is hot spot in NEPA you should not miss.