Dog Friendly Travel

Road Trip Day 1: Visiting Rickett’s Glen State Park

On the first day of this years road trip we visit Rickett's Glen State Park in Northeast Pennsylvania
Written by Kevin
  • Have you heard about our 2nd annual Dog Road Trip? Follow along to learn about great places to see and fun things to do with dogs across the East Coast!

Packing up and Heading Out

Let me tell you one thing, packing for a road trip with 2 dogs and a baby is a pretty stressful experience!

Since we are going to be heading in and out of new hotels all the time, we put a lot of thought into our organizational system, trying to make it as portable as possible. I am pretty happy with what we came up with and how we were able to fit everything into our vehicle. If you do not own one, I would highly recommend renting a van for a trip like this – there are so many different ways that you can configure the middle and back seats. We will detail our system in a later post because I think it would be really helpful for many of you!

Packing for our big dog friendly road trip!

Despite all the preparation, that feeling of forgetting something important was ever present!

We got on the road around 10AM, which I was pretty happy with considering that we had to venture out and pick up our rental van beforehand. On the agenda for the day was to make our way down to visit family in Baltimore, MD. I really wanted to find a spot along the way to stop and stretch our legs and a quick Google search recommended Rickett’s Glen State Park in Northeastern PA.

It was very close to halfway and only added about 45 minutes to the trip – perfect!

Rickett’s Glen State Park

We arrived around 1:30 PM and made a quick stop in the visitors center to pick up a map and get a trail recommendation. Here you will find plenty of space out front for your dogs to do their business plus drinking fountains and clean bathrooms inside for yourself.

The park ranger suggested the 3.2 mile Highland and Falls trail loop – where we would be able to see the majority of the more than 20 waterfalls within the park. This sounded perfect!

Hiking the flat and well groomed Highland Trail at Rickett's Glen

Highland Trail

It was less than a mile drive to the Lake Rose Trailhead where there is a good sized parking lot and access to several different trails. As suggested, we started along the Highland Trail which was an easy stroll on a very well groomed path through dense forest. There are tons of interesting rock outcroppings amongst the trees that Charlie in particular enjoyed exploring.

Charlie posing on the rocks at the Midway Crevasse

After 1.2 miles you will encounter a creek and your first small waterfall. Following the water to the right will take you down the Glen Leigh side of the Falls Trail.

Falls Trail

The Falls Trail winds along 2 branches of Kitchen creek to the point in which they meet.  This means you will be hiking down one side of the glen and up another giving you views of nearly 2 dozen beautiful waterfalls along the way.

These are impressive formations – the tallest of which being over 90 feet!

Getting started on the Falls Trail at Rickett's Glen

The Falls Trail is gorgeous and a must see – but it is by no means easy. There are lots of steep sections, narrow stone staircases, and slippery rocks.

Many of the “stairs” are also quite substantial in height and were a real challenge for Harley’s old legs to manage. I was amazed at how well he did even though I did have to carry him up one particularly rough section.

It took us almost 3 hours to climb this trail and we were moving at a pretty good rate the whole time! By the time we realized what we had gotten into, there was no other option than hiking our way all the way back up and out of the Glen!

Harley and I posing near 1 of the nearly 30 waterfalls along the Falls Trail

Though we really enjoyed the views, this was much more than we had planned to take on for the day – both in terms of time and difficulty.

To give you an idea of the elevation change, Rach’s Fitbit registered her climbing 100 flights of stairs!

Rickett's Glen is a great place to hike with your dogs, though the Falls trail is very challenging!

I felt so bad seeing Harley struggle and I was kicking myself that I hadn’t done more research into the terrain before venturing out.

Lesson learned – not all 2 mile loops are created equally!

Charlie was exhausted after our hike at Rickett's Glen State Park!

Charlie was so tired he fell asleep sitting up!

By the time we hit the road again it was nearly 6:30 (several hours behind schedule), and we still had about a 3.5 hour drive ahead of us.

Time for a Treat

After an exhausting hike, and with a less than thrilled wife, I was very pleased to run into an ice cream shop on our way out of the park.

Picking up some ice cream after our hike at the Red Rock Scoop!

Nothing like a little bit of peanut butter ice cream to smooth things over…

What’s Next?

Thankfully, tomorrow is going to be quite a bit more relaxed – with no travel and visiting with family (both human and animal!)

Golden Retriever along Kitchen Creek

What we Learned on Day 1

  • There is no cell service at Rickett’s Glen! Make sure you either pick up a map at the park office, or have one downloaded onto your phone before you arrive!
  • Hiking the entire Falls trail would not be recommended for small (walking) children, or elderly people/ animals. We didn’t realize quite how difficult the terrain would be and this was really pushing the limits for Harley at certain points 🙁
  • Allot an entire day for your visit. We would have loved more time to stop and admire the beautiful falls, but with a few hour drive still ahead of us, ended up rushing through the second half of our hike.

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