Pennsylvania Waterfalls: Hiking to Cottonwood Falls in Worlds End State Park
Despite there being many great waterfalls in the surrounding forests, there is only one waterfall one the official map for Worlds End State Park: Cottonwood Falls.
Cottonwood Falls is located along the Double Run Nature Trail. This trail is 1.2 miles in length and offers a relatively easy, but great loop hike for those looking for things to do in Worlds End State Park.
The Double Run Nature Trail starts from a parking area along Route 154 near the intersection of Worlds End Road. The parking area and trailhead can be found at the following coordinates: 41.465875, -76.578623.
The trail begins as a nice, flat walk through the woods for the first few minutes. Along the way, green blazes help guide you along the trail as it follows Double Run passed several small cascades.
After about a quarter-mile or so, the trail intersects with the Loyalsock Trail. From here, you have two options.
Continuing straight on the Double Run Nature Trail will take you up a short, but steep hill. If you are planning to do the loop, I’d recommend doing it this way (counterclockwise) because the uphill will be steeper if you do the loop in the clockwise direction.
If you’d rather just head to the waterfall without doing the loop, turn right to follow the Loyalsock Trail. After a few hundred yards of hiking, the Double Run Nature Trail will bear off to the left. Follow this trail to Cottonwood Falls.
If you hike just to the waterfall, the hike is about half-a-mile long one way and relatively flat the entire way, minus a short descent to the bottom of the falls. For those that use coordinates, the waterfall is located roughly at this spot: 41.462592, -76.584832.
Cottonwood Falls sits in a wide, circular hollow and is surrounded by rock walls and towering trees. By comparison, this waterfall, which is only about 10 feet in height is a bit dwarfed. However, it’s incredibly beautiful as it plunges between a narrow slit in the rock before landing in a pool at the base of the falls.
While it is one of the smaller waterfalls in Sullivan County, I’d also venture to say that its one of the most beautiful. The fact that it’s easy to reach makes it perfect for the entire family and a must when visiting Worlds End State Park. It’s also a great detour while hiking the Loyalsock Trail.
A Few Notes About Hiking to Cottonwood Falls
The parking area for the Double Run Nature Trail is quite small and can only accommodate a few cars. If that lot is full, the best place to park is at the park office and follow the Link Trail to the area. While this will probably double the distance to the falls, it’s a pleasant walk along the Loyalsock Creek.
If you look at a park map, you’ll notice that both the Loyalsock Trail and the Double Run Nature Trail intersect with Worlds End Road. While this would cut out some distance to Cottonwood Falls, there is no room to park your car along the road. These extensions of the trail are only useful if you are looking to do a longer hike the incorporates a stop at the falls.
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See map below for other area attractions.[webdirectory-map height=500 ajax_loading=1 start_latitude=41.462592 start_longitude=-76.584832 start_zoom=12 show_readmore_button=0]
Jim Cheney is the creator of UncoveringPA.com. Based in the state capital of Harrisburg, Jim frequently travels around Pennsylvania and has visited, written about, and photographed all 67 counties in the state. He has also traveled to more than 30 different countries around the world.