I always love things that are hidden just out of sight. Things that people pass every day with no idea what’s hiding just around the corner. Blakely Falls in Lackawanna County is one of these things.
Somehow, this waterfall has managed to remain hidden from all but a few waterfall enthusiasts and, evidently, some local kids. Don’t let a bit of trash deter you, however, from a beautiful stream and a nice hike to a hidden waterfall.
What’s great about the hike along Hull Creek to Blakely Falls is how close the trail is to civilization, while still feeling very remote. The path along the creek is overgrown in many places, but is easy to follow and provides great views of this beautiful and interesting creek.
The hike to Hull Creek begins from the park around Swansee Baseball Field in Blakely, Pennsylvania (Complete directions below). The creek itself is hidden behind the small park.
Over the course of about a third of a mile, the creek has 4 small drops that range from 4-6 feet, as well as a very large slide. Above the slide is Hull Creek’s best feature, Blakely Falls (Also called Hull Creek Falls in some sources).
Tucked away in a narrow gorge just below the intersection of Route 6 and Route 347, Blakely Falls is a very nice 12-15 foot waterfall. This is a difficult waterfall to photograph or even get close to, and the trash and road noise distract from the serenity of the scene. However, if you love waterfalls, this is still a fun one to visit.
To get a good look at Blakely Falls, you have two choices. The first, is to hike up the stream. However, this is made difficult by the large slide just below the falls, and the very slippery rocks in the creek. Getting close is made even more difficult by a 5-foot waterfall about 50 feet downstream from the bigger waterfall.
The second choice is to climb the hillside on the left bank for a view overlooking the waterfall, which is what I did. From here, you get a good vantage point for the waterfall, but you can’t get much closer than about 100 feet without risking serious injury from the steep cliffs flanking the creek.
While hiking, keep your eyes open for several large holes in the rocks, especially on the far side of Hull Creek. If you hike up the bank to see Blakely Falls, you should also see a very cool balancing rock on your way back down the hill. The gap in the rocks was big enough that I could have fit through, albeit with a bit of squeezing.
All in all, while Blakely Falls and the rest of Hull Creek aren’t the most scenic or remote waterfalls in Northeastern Pennsylvania, this is definitely a great hike for anyone in the area looking to see something interesting that is a bit off the beaten path.
How to Get to Blakely Falls and Hull Creek
Hull Creek runs behind the Swansee Baseball Field in Blakely, Pennsylvania, just a few miles off of Route 6. Park in the parking lot located at the following coordinates: 41.478976, -75.613881.
To get to the creek, you have two options.
The easiest, is to head back down the road to the basketball court. Behind the basketball court, you will see a trail that goes over a small hill, and heads about 30 feet to a gate at the bottom.
At the gate, you will notice a large wooden sign that says, “Pennsylvania Archaeological Site 36LW55.” While the creek does have a few interesting things to check out, I’ve been told that the sign was placed there by a local land owner to discourage people from visiting the creek (Which is pretty funny to me, as I was really excited when I saw the sign).
Once you get to the bottom of the hill, follow the obvious trail along the creek upstream to your left. It gets a bit narrow and overgrown in places, but rather obviously follows close to the stream all the way to Blakely Falls.
Should you wish to avoid the potential private property, there is another, slightly more difficult route you can go.
If you walk behind home plate at the baseball field, you may (or may not) notice a small trail leading downhill. I had a bit of trouble finding the trail to be honest, but just keep in mind that you want to head downhill. If you drew a line from first base to home plate on the baseball field, you would just keep following that invisible line down to the creek below.
You will shortly run into the trail, but won’t be able to see the creek at this point. Head to your left.
From here, simply follow the trail and creek past a couple of small waterfalls and the large slide all the way up to Blakely Falls. (For those interested, the waterfall is located at approximately these coordinates: 41.483268, -75.612933.)
To get back, simply retrace your path. It can be hard to find the trail back up to the baseball field, so should you miss it, keep hiking for another 3-5 minutes until you come to the gate, and head over the small hill to your right to get to the basketball court, just down the road from the baseball field.
I should also note here that I have no idea about the ownership of this land. The home owner’s humorous attempt at controlling access, and the lack of private property signage, leads me to believe that he does not own the property. However, as always, make sure to steer clear of any private property and no trespassing signs, should they appear at a later date.
It’s also worth noting that despite the waterfall’s proximity to the intersection of Route 6 and Route 347, there doesn’t appear to be anywhere to park along the roads. While it would cut down the distance to Blakely Falls, your best bet is to hike up the creek from the community park.
[Click here for information on how to use coordinates to find your destination.]