Mileage: About 5.5 miles Directions
Hike Time: about 3 hrs, 2 adults through snow and ice Facebook
Rise:866 ft Falls Map
Significance: Waterfalls Weather
Here is a some of what you need to know: Their is Parking off of Rout 118, or where we started at the park office off of Rout 487. This is the snow hike and I will post a summer hike in the spring. During the winter months the park will only allow you to use the trails if you sign in at the office and have gear such as crampons, ice axes, and rope.
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
After signing in at the park office we headed down an un-plowed road towards the Falls trail head. It was a little over 0.5 miles and the snow was almost up to our knees. The road is not closed in the summer so you can avoid this walk.
We started our way down the Falls trail. The snow was fairly deep and their were not many changes in elevation. The trail were lined with beautiful healthy Hemlocks. After about 0.3 miles we came to a split where the Highland Trail connects to the falls trail. We wanted to climb the 94′ Ganoga Falls which is near this point but we also wanted to do the loop, so it made sense to take the Highland Trail at this junction.
The Highland trail runs into an area named Midway Crevasse where large chunks of Pocono Sandstone travel high in the air. A brief narrow cavernous pass cuts through these rocks. The kids did not come on this hike, but on our summer trips here it is impossible to keep them off the rocks. They have lots of fun here and it is a great place to stop for lunch.
We took a marked short cut from Highland to Falls Trail skipping 2 of the falls. This is where the hike became more complicated. Instead of the stairs that you would normally see, their was a hill of snow. Underneath the snow at times was ice. That is not to say it was impossible, wearing crampons made each step feel as easy as walking on dry level land. The right foot-ware made a trip into adverse conditions fun and allowed us to see the incredible frozen waterfalls. And their was plenty to see.
Ice was everywhere. The waterfalls I expected to be frozen, but I was surprised by how much ice had formed from the water seeping out of the rocks. Some of the ice had this incredible blue contrasting against the white snow. Silent and still compared to summer, its like a closed amusement park after the the attractions have come to a stop and the crowds have gone.
After descending past several falls the ground levels out and we come to a 3 way intersection at Waters Meet. This is where the trail meets up at from the Rout 118 parking area, and where we start our assent up the other section of falls. The snow here was deeper in many spots and our hike up hill required more work, but it was worth every step.
Finally we reach our goal of the massive frozen Ganoga Falls. The largest falls in the park at 94′, it is a wall of ice in an amphitheater of rock. It was well worth the 3.8 miles of snow and ice to get to this point. It would be the same difficulty as the rest of the hike to just walk around the falls, but why walk around when you can go straight up. It is a short period of time every year when you can experience the views from the middle of a water fall.
Before you know it we were up and over the falls. It all happened too fast. The trail winds past a few more falls before making a right at the next intersection, and then turning left on falls trail. This is one of the best trails for hiking and to see waterfalls in NEPA and probably the east coast during summer or winter.