Pennsylvania Waterfalls: How to Get to Hawk Falls in Hickory Run State Park
The Poconos are well known as one of Pennsylvania’s best outdoor destinations. And, outdoor enthusiasts flock to the Delaware Water Gap and Glen Okono near Jim Thorpe to see some of the best waterfalls around.
However, for those looking for a bit more off the radar destinations, there are many great choices. One of those is Hawk Falls in Hickory Run State Park.
Hawk Falls is a 25-foot tall waterfall along Hawk Run in the southeastern corner of the park. The waterfall is actually located fairly close to Interstate 476 (you can even see a large bridge from the top of the falls), but it’s fortunately far enough away that the sound of traffic doesn’t impair the serenity of the area.
The hike to Hawk Falls is about half a mile and passes through a beautiful forest full of towering trees and beautiful rhododendron. And, while the hike is mostly downhill, it’s not a difficult hike by any means.
According to the park’s website, the stream is named for the Hawk family that used to own a farm across from the parking area. The trail itself was once used by wagons to go from Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe) to points north.
About two-thirds of the way through the hike, you’ll cross a beautiful wooden bridge over Hawk Run. After crossing the stream, head downhill a bit further until you hear the waterfall.
At this point, you won’t be able to see the falls, but you should see a small clearing with a rock outcropping on your right. Head about 20 feet off trail, and the waterfall will come into view.
The rock outcropping near the top of the waterfall gives you a great view of the waterfall, as well as the area where Hawk Run flows into Mud Run, just a few hundred feet downstream. Be careful when moving around on the rocks, as they can be very slippery, especially when wet.
If you want to see Hawk Falls from the bottom, return to the trail and continue following it until you come to Mud Run. Just before the stream, you’ll notice a well-worn path that heads off to your right and into the woods. While unmarked, this is the path that you need to take to reach the bottom of Hawk Falls.
From the bottom, the true beauty and size of Hawk Falls is evident, so I’d suggest taking this short diversion to see another view of the waterfall.
For those looking for more things to do in Hickory Run State Park, there are several other options. I was hoping to check out the boulder field, which is Hickory Run’s most well-known feature, as well as the fire tower, but ran out of daylight. If you have a chance to visit them, make sure to take it. I know I’m looking forward to visiting again so I can visit these areas.
Also worth checking out is the section of Hickory Run below Saylorsville Dam. Below the dam are two very scenic waterfalls that aren’t on the park map. While one of them is partially man-made, visiting them is well worth your time.
Overall, I was really impressed with Hawk Falls, and all of Hickory Run State Park for that matter. If you love PA waterfalls as much as I do, definitely add this one to your must-see list, and then save some time to visit the rest of this great state park.
How to Get to Hawk Falls
Hawk Falls is located in the 16,000 acres of Hickory Run State Park in Carbon County, just north of Jim Thorpe, PA. Because of its size, you’ll definitely need to pick up a map before visiting or check out the online map of the park. This isn’t a waterfall that you can easily find if you just show up to the park with no idea of where to go.
However, if you know where the waterfall is, it’s quite easy to find.
Parking for Hawk Falls is located along Route 534, just east of I-476. In fact, you can see the bridge that carries 476 over 534 from the parking area. When you arrive at the parking area, you’ll notice that there are places to park on both sides of the road. The trailhead is on the southern side of the road, so it makes sense to park there if there is room. The parking area can be found at the following coordinates: 41.010731, -75.633967.
After parking, the trailhead is located about 100 feet up the road towards the highway overpass.
Once on the trail, finding Hawk Falls is quite easy. As I stated above, you can’t see the waterfall from the trail, but you are close enough to easily hear it, and the trails to the top and the bottom of the falls are easy to find even if they aren’t marked.
For those that are interested, the waterfall is located at the the following approximate coordinates: 41.006320, -75.633958.
All told, the trail is about half a mile from the parking area to the top of Hawk Falls.
[Click here for information on how to use the coordinates in this article to find your destination.]