SGL 36 features some of the most beautiful places in Pennsylvania, particularly when it comes to waterfalls. I recently returned to check out two streams-Long Valley Run and Falls Creek. Recent rains made it a perfect time to hunt for waterfalls. Both streams are described in Hiking the Endless Mountains.
My first stop was Long Valley Run. There is a parking area just west of Long Valley Run along Schrader Creek Road. No trail follows the creek, so just hike up it. I spent most of my hiking on the east side of the creek. Long Valley Run is a beautiful stream with large boulders, deep pools, and cascades and smaller falls over bedrock. In places the bedrock has been worn smooth with potholes. The large boulders make this an especially scenic stream, but there are no large waterfalls. Hemlocks and tulip poplars grow over the creek, and there is even some rhododendron.
After a half mile or so, you will reach a grassy forest road. Turn right onto it and hike back to your car.
My next stop was Falls Creek. I remember first hiking to Falls Creek years ago. I opened up my Delorme atlas for Pennsylvania and saw there was a creek called Falls Creek. There must be waterfalls, I thought. And there were, a lot of them. Falls Creek is a place of exceptional beauty and it is a little surprising it isn’t more famous.
Again, I parked along Schrader Creek near where a narrow concrete bridge crosses Falls Creek. There is a small parking lot east of Falls Creek, and some space to park along the road. The best way to hike Falls Creek is to hike down the road a short distance to an old forest road on the right, which is on the west side of the creek.
I hiked up the grade to a sidestream, crossed it, and followed a narrow path down to Falls Creek. The waterfalls soon came into view, beautiful cascades and deep pools adorn this stream. I then hiked up the creek with its boulders and trilliums. I enjoyed one falls with a symmetrical sheet of water falling into a deep pool. I entered a gorge with towering rock walls and through the trees saw the biggest falls of them all- 70ish foot Bradford Falls.
This is such an impressive sight. Springs drip from the cliffs. Large, old hemlock logs and cobblestones are strewn about at the base of the falls, making it a little difficult to get close. The beauty is stunning. This is surely one of the most scenic falls in the state.
Hiking around Bradford Falls is tough. Retrace your steps down the creek and then veer steeply up the slope and scramble up an opening in the ledges.
Falls Creek only becomes more scenic above Bradford Falls. Barclay Falls, about 30 feet high, soon comes into view next to a huge, fractured cliff. Above Barclay Falls is a stunning gorge with more cascades and slides as cliffs narrowly surround the creek.
A 15 foot falls comes into view, and then above that is Laquin Falls, about the same height as it tumbles over a broad ledge. It is possible to go behind the falling water.
Above Laquin Falls is a hemlock forest and some small cascades. Near the falls is an old mine, the opening hidden by hemlocks and a gravel pile. This area was one of the first to be mined for coal.
The old forest grade makes for an easy return hike back to Schrader Creek Road and your car. If you love waterfalls, check out these two beautiful streams.
Location of Long Valley Run.
Location of Falls Creek.