Glenn Onoko Falls

Glen Onoko Falls


Glen Onoko and the Glen Onoko Falls trail near Jim Thorpe, PA

The Glen Onoko Falls trail near Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania .... waterfalls cascading almost 900 feet in vertical distance down the side of Broad Mountain in the Poconos.


This page is dedicated to the spectacular Glen Onoko Falls near Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.  About one and one-half hours' drive north of Philadelphia the hustle and bustle of urban and suburban Philadelphia suddenly gives way to wilderness.  Nestled in the Lehigh River Gorge, the town of Jim Thorpe is a gateway to the wilderness and the nearby Glen Onoko falls.  Those that hike the Glen Onoko Falls trail will find this an unforgettable trek.

The Glen Onoko Falls trail is a spectacular place to hike any time of the year. But many hikers will come in the summer and fall when the stream is low and the falls, while impressive, are not at their peak. I had the priveledge of visiting the falls in the spring just as the last remnants of snow melt were disappearing and shortly after torrential rains had drenched the area. The result was the spectacular video that follows. I encourage you to watch the entire three-minute video.

A rock formation near the start of trail is called Pulpit Rocks, generally considered the gateway to the Glen Onoko falls and cascades. At the turn of the century, when Glen Onoko was a main resort area with a fabulous hotel, the Hotel Wahnetah, now long gone, a footbridge crossed the stream at Pulpit Rocks, but now one has to take a more nimble approach and use rocks as stepping stones to cross the stream, perhaps a bad idea when the rushing waters are high.

Onoko Falls is the highest of the main falls in the glen, where legend has it that the Indian Princess Onoko, being denied marriage to the one she loved, lept to her death.

Other significant falls are Chameleon Falls and Cave Falls but there are numerous smaller falls and cascades.

The Glen Onoko Falls trail is a challenging hike up steep and rocky terrain that holds secluded wonders that many never see but are unforgettable to those that do.  The foot of the trail begins just outside of Jim Thorpe at Pennsylvania's Lehigh River Gorge State Park.  The Glen Onoko Falls trail is immediately adjacent to the park in the Pennsylvania State Game lands.

Want to take the hike ...follow your GPS to the intersection of Main Street and Adventure Lane at Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, which puts you almost at the entrance to the park.


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Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania in the Lehigh River Gorge

Jim Thorpe, PA


A few words about safety when hiking the Glen Onoko Falls Trail ...

This warning greets hikers at the beginning of the Glen Onoko Falls trail:

Warning sign at the Glen Onoko Falls trail

Don't let the warning sign scare you, but do heed the warning.  Reduce your risk of injury on the Glen Onoko Falls trail due to accidental falls from the trail and nearby Lehigh River gorge overlooks by wearing proper hiking shoes and otherwise exercising extreme caution. 

You'll find yourself hiking or climbing over rocks, sometimes slippery rocks, walking on loose soil on steep slopes or pulling yourself up sections of the trail by exposed roots or tree branches all the while with poor foot traction.  If you choose to hike in street shoes or sneakers you are taking serious risks of injury from loosing foot traction, slipping and falling, or twisting an ankle.  Above all, don't step out to the edge of waterfalls or overlooks to peer over the edge. 

An excellent selection of men's and women's hiking shoes in most sizes with gripping treads and ankle support can be found online. Enjoy safe hiking on the Glen Onoko Falls trail.  Make sure you have proper hiking shoes and don't leave home without them.   Here's a link. 



Be sure to have a couple bottles of water to prevent dehydration on the trail and in cooler weather use layered clothing.  You'll find that hiking up Glen Onoko Falls trail generates serious body heat so be ready to remove outer layers of clothing.  Don't rush hiking up or down the trail.  Give yourself several hours to ascend and descend the trail.  Plan your trip to end well before nightfall.  Descending the Glen Onoko Falls trail in approaching nightfall would be extremely dangerous and sunset approaches early in the Glen due to the steep walls of the ravine.

Also, be aware the Glen Onoko area is home to timber rattlesnakes.  As long as you stay on the frequented trails you should expect to have no problem, and probably never see or encounter one.  But stay away from those rocky outcroppings a short distance from the main trail areas. 


Winter Hiking on the Glen Onoko Falls Trail


Glen Onko Falls frozen in winter


Winter ice climber at Glen Onoko falls




Winter is a unique time for hiking the Glen Onoko Falls Trail.  The frozen waterfalls present themselves as a unique and spectacular winter wonderland.  Understandably, the Glen Onoko Falls trail becomes truly treacherous when covered in ice and snow.  Only experienced hikers that are properly trained and equipped should take this on.  Winter hiking boots with crampons are proper footwear.  An ice ax is also essential for winter hiking safety on the falls trail:



winter hiking boots with crampons and an ice ax








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