A Hike On The Little Falls Trail On My First Visit To Promised Land State Park In Pike County

A Hike On The Little Falls Trail On My First Visit To Promised Land State Park In Pike County

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I  enjoyed my hike to Bruce Lake in Pike County  two weeks ago.  I loved the  pristine beauty of the lake. that was formed  by glaciers during the  Ice Age.  The lake existed before humans walked in  North America. Mammoths and giant sloths could have swam in it’s clear waters. I decided to return to Pike County and hike to Bruce Lake last weekend. Rather then take the hour drive from my home in Luzerne County I decided to stay at the Rex Hotel, a micro hotel for the weekend. The hotel is  located a mile south of the Bruce Lake trailhead on Route 390. It was a good decision and a great place to stay.

I arrived at the hotel on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon around 3 p.m. I booked the smallest room, it was only me, and I found it modern,  clean, and ideally located.

 I discovered it is adjacent to the Promised Land State Park, which I hadn’t visited before.  It was too late in the day to hike up to Bruce Lake so it didn’t take me long to start exploring the 3000 acre  State Park, the 4th oldest in Pennsylvania. I decided to hike on the Little Falls Trail a short one mile trail that follows the  East Branch of the Wallenpaupack Creek  which flows out of the Lower Lake one of the two lakes in Promised Land State Park.

I parked at the trailhead and walked down a short path over a bridge across the creek,

and down the trail that followed along the fast flowing creek.

And, although the trail was wet, rocky

and covered with the roots of the trees growing along the creek,

it was still a  beautiful hike as the afternoon sun filtered through the thick canopy of leaves and needles of the oak and hemlock trees above the trail.

Lush, green intermediate  wood ferns ,

and Christmas ferns grew along the rocky trail.

They were larger boulders above the trail as it continued along the creek,

and there were a few small waterfalls on the creek as it descended down the gorge. 

There was not a lot of wildlife or bird activity on my hike. The only birds I heard were  ovenbirds singing in the tree tops and was able to get a photos of this one snacking on a caterpillar.

There were also many of these insects hovering along the creek, I believe they are dark fishflies.

There were a few Canada  mayflowers,

and blackberry flowers blooming along the trail.

I heard  a loud sound of rushing water and came to the largest waterfall on the trail. Here my solitude was disturbed by a young couple also admiring the scenic waterfall,

The Little Falls Trail continued along the creek but a sign cautioned not to proceed without a map. I decided to head back. The trail took me over a bridge and back up the other side of the creek and gorge.

The trail on this side was similar to the trail I had hiked down the gorge, rocky with a lot of roots. 

I hiked back  up to the bridge and finished the one mile loop trail. It wasn’t a long hike but it was a scenic one.

I wanted to get in a few more miles and wasn’t sure where I was going to hike next.  Looking across the bridge I saw this female whitetail deer  feeding along the trail.

It did not seem afraid of me as I approached.

I watched  her feed on some plants, occasionally gazing at me with her beautiful eyes.

She eventually left the trail and slowly walked into the woods.

I took her appearance as a sign to follow the trail across the bridge that continued up a ridge.  It was a narrow path surrounded by hay-scented ferns and in the shade of the trees towering over the trail. I later learned  it was the Mill Brook Trail and I was no longer in Promised Land State Park but in the surrounding Delaware State Forest. 

I followed it a short distance and came to a wider grassy trail with vehicle tracks also surrounded by hay-scented ferns and shaded by a second growth hardwood and conifer forest.

The trail did not appear to have been overgrown and I later learned it was more of a snowmobile trail. My AllTrail map said it was the Sawmill Trail but maps of the State Park called it the Loggers Trail.  The trail  continued through the second growth forest. There were mainly hay-scented ferns growing beneath the trees and I did not see much wildlife or bird activity along the trail.

Parts of the trails were wet, and there was a lot of insect activity. I saw a lot of dragonflies including,

mostly , I believe, chalk fronted corporeal dragonflies. Well I am no expert  but this is what Google lens says it is. 

There were also a few pearl crescent butterflies fluttering around in the warm afternoon sun.

The trail proceeded down a ridge and into an older hemlock and oak forest,

here I saw a few more oven birds,

red-eyed vireos,

and this veery.

The trail took me back to the Lower Lake Road which I followed to the dam at Lower Lake.

Here I saw a man fishing along the shores of the lake and a pair of mallard ducks,

the iridescent head of the male reflected the late afternoon sun.

I followed the road to the Lower Lake boat launch, where I  stopped and admired the tranquil scenery. 

I was serenaded by the song of some yellow warblers in the trees along the lake.. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos of the birds and other critters  from my afternoon hike. Promised Land State Park wildlife  May 31 2024. 

It was now after 6 p.m. and I was hungry so I ended my 3 1/2 mile hike and looked for a place to eat. I found the quaint Promised Land Inn and was able to get one of the last tables at the crowded restaurant. A pleasant waitress helped me order , I started with a Caesar’s salad,

and had pan roasted trout with garlic mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables for my main course.

And, as usual, when I am on the road, had some chocolate ice cream for dessert. It was a wholesome and delicious meal. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos from my afternoon hike. Promised Land State Park May 31 2024.

It was after 7 p.m. when I returned to my cabin, unpacked and was back out driving through Promised Land State Park and looking for a place to watch the sunset.  I drove out to Pickerel Point, passing crowded campgrounds and enjoying the smell of smoke from the many campfires that permeated the evening air. I couldn’t see the sunset from Pickerel Point but I still enjoyed the view of the lake in the evening twilight.   It was a great way to end the day, looking forward to exploring more of this beautiful area of our Commonwealth in the morning. 

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”– Gary Snyder 

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