RICKETTS GLEN STATE PARK
Ricketts Glen harbors Glens Natural Area, a National Natural Landmark. Take the Falls Trail and explore the Glens, which boasts a series of wild, free-flowing waterfalls, each cascading through rock-strewn clefts in this ancient hillside. The 94-foot Ganoga Falls is the highest of 22 named waterfalls. Old growth timber and diverse wildlife add to the scenic area. Ricketts Glen State Park is one of the most scenic areas in Pennsylvania. This large park is comprised of 13,050 acres in Luzerne, Sullivan and Columbia counties.
At the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, Robert Bruce Ricketts enlisted as a private in the U. S. Army. Fighting for the Army of the Potomac, Ricketts led Battery F during the Battle of Gettysburg. Ricketts swiftly moved up in the ranks and when the war ended, was discharged a colonel.
Colonel Ricketts at one time owned outright or controlled over 80,000 acres of land in this area. His heirs, through the Central Penn Lumber Company, sold 48,000 acres to the Pennsylvania Game Commission from 1920-24. This left them with over 12,000 acres surrounding the Ganoga Lake, Lake Jean and Glens area.
Although the area was approved as a national park site in the 1930s, World War II brought an end to this plan for development and in 1942 the heirs sold 1,261 acres, the Falls and Glens area, to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a state park. Additional purchases from Colonel Ricketts? son, William Ricketts, in 1943 and 1949, resulted in a park nucleus of approximately 10,000 acres of former Ricketts holdings. Additional purchases from other individuals have brought the park to its present size.
Recreational facilities first opened in 1944. In 1950, the former Department of Forests and Waters replaced Lake Jean Dam with a larger, earthern dam, which combined Lake Jean with Mud Pond, creating the current 245-acre lake. Other facility improvements and constructions have been done over the years, like the beach house, restrooms and cabins.
Camping: modern sites
There are 120 tent and trailer campsites, some available year-round. The campground features hot showers, flush toilets, shaded sites, gravel parking spurs and a sanitary dump station. Six campsites are ADA accessible.
Organized Group Tenting:
Qualified adult and youth groups may use this 150-person capacity area that is equipped with picnic tables, water and flush toilets. The area is open from the third Monday in April to the third Monday in October. Advance reservations are recommended.
Ten modern rental cabins are available year-round. Cabins are furnished and have a living area, kitchen/dining area, toilet/shower room and two or three bedrooms. Cabin F is ADA accessible. Linens and dishes are not provided.
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The 600-foot beach is open from late-May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Swim at your own risk. A food and refreshment concession, boat rental and picnic facilities are nearby.
Boating: electric motors only
The 245-acre Lake Jean has dry mooring and one boat launch. A boat rental concession operates during the summer season and offers rowboats, paddleboats, kayaks and canoes.
Motorboats must display a boat registration from any state. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration from any state; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks that are available at most state park offices; launch use permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.