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

My Pintrest                                                                         Hikes by region

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.


Make a right at the sign


walk under the bridge













Entrance to the falls trail


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 Fire Ring



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.





From near the parking area

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.

Nearby hike The Blue Mountain Loop, a section of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. Also you have to see Pinnacle Mountain, it is about an hour away and it is awesome.








  • Great pictures! Sounds like a lot of fun.

  • Marcus Lemoncelli

    Awesome pics. Great descriptions. Good stuff – thanks!

  • Lucas Pambianco

    I hiked Glen Onoko Falls last week and I must say that you were dead on with the description and the beauty of the hike. I’ve since been back 3 times in a week and the view of the valley from the top of the falls takes my breath away every time. Keep up the fantastic reviews!


      Thanks Lucas. When I first hiked this trail I had no directions and it was very stressful. Having written these directions I was not sure if it would make sense to people. So thank you for the feedback it makes my day.

  • Thank you for this! I printed it out and it was a very helpful guide.

    My boyfriend and I made a special trip this past Saturday July 16th from West Virginia and hiked from the bottom of the falls going up. It was a difficult climb but I loved the series of falls!! Great workout. Thanks again 🙂


      It is an incredible place, I am glad you had a good time. It is a place worthy of a long drive.

  • Your description of how to begin the trail and the loop really helped alot! Thank you for publishing this. A lot of article’s I’ve read on Glen Onoko have really good scare tactics, I guess. Haha.

    We hiked it in sneakers with our 10 year old chihuahua. It was worth climbing over the rocks!


      I agree Ely, it certainly can be dangerous but I feel if you are careful you will return to your car in one piece. My kids were pretty young on our first trip and while I kept a close eye on them they did fine. This hike is one of my favorites.

  • Just hiked this yesterday and it was great! thank you so much for your directions and pictures. It helped tremendously and we had no difficulty finding our way. Despite all the warnings, we were easily able to follow all the orange blazes up and back down.


      I really appreciate the feedback, it is important to me. I am glad you had a great time, it is an awesome hike.

  • I’m planning to do this hike in the beginning of October for some good foliage, and I printed out this guide and have been studying it. Thank you!


      To get one of the best pictures be sure you climb the hill above the old train tunnel. You will see the tunnel from the parking area. Make sure you climb above the entrance opposite the river, you should see the path.

  • When you reach the middle of the trail, it looks like it get more complicated. Can you turn back and go back the way you came in (redo the first half of the trail.) Thanks for the great description.

    Also, is there a place to park an RV about 28 feet long and walk to the beginning of the trail (how far would that be if we can?)

    Also, are dogs allowed on this trail?


      Yes you can turn back at any time, many people just go up and down skipping the loop. Dogs are allowed. RE the rv, look at the map on the webpage, their is an option to change to satellite image, I would bet the parking area on your right BEFORE you cross the bridge. Email me with questions

  • Thank you for all the information. Definitely want to do this!

  • What a great hike. Here & there U have to look a lil For trail signs. But we never got lost. Great loop. Enjoy!!!

  • I just visited Jim Thorpe for the first time. Beautiful! Your instructions were spot on. I was even able to help a mother and young child navigate the trail due to your descriptions. I felt like Bear Grylls. Thanks for posting this.

  • I was thinking about hiking this near Halloween, do you know if the trail will still be accessible then?

  • Did this yesterday with my 5 and 8 year-olds. A little technical going up but we had a blast! I’ll have to take them up again in the fall for the train ride.

  • We went on this hike for the first time today. Before we left home I found your directions and downloaded them to my phone. They were spot on! We followed your directions and had a successful hike. Thank you for taking the time to do this. I will recommend your directions to my friends in the future!

  • Have you ever done this in the winter time


      No, but I am told it is very icy this time of year. I would not go without crampons and micro spikes.

      • I’m a local. I’ve done hawk falls and Glen Onoko with regular good grip shoes. I’m in the woods a lot though, and have been all of my life, and would not recommend taking this or any Eastern PA trail lightly in the winter months because of the rock deposits and ice formations. Suggestions from veteran informed actual hikers on how to approach this should be taken with very high regard.


          I agree, this is the type of place you would see thick ice build up, the kind where micro-spikes would NOT be sufficient. In addition I would say that this is not the place to “learn” how to use crampons; get practice somewhere where the terrain is not so rugged. I would imagine that the thick canopy would make for a late ice melt. Please be careful.

  • We hiked this today. Temp was about 31 when we left parking lot. Took about five minutes to warm up. Ice wasn’t bad on the trail but a couple spots were slick. Seeing the icicles on the rocks and little pockets of snow made this trail breathtaking in a different way.

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