The northern end of Ohiopyle State Park is remote and does not attract much traffic. With multiple waterfalls and a moderately easy hike, it’s hard to believe that this is one of the least visited areas in the park!
The Jonathan Run Trail begins with a downhill descent and joins Jonathan Run almost immediately. The trail’s terrain is mostly flat, with wooden bridges, steep staircases and rock outcroppings. Although the trail can be muddy, it is easily avoidable.
After passing through a forest of deciduous trees, a canopy of rhododendron envelop you, heightening your sense of seclusion.
Jonathan Run is a small creek that yields little more than a slow trickle, except during spring, when it is transformed into a torrent of white water rushing towards the Youghiogheny River.
Shortly after you pass the sign for Sugar Run and cross over a wooden bridge, the first waterfall can be heard. Upper Jonathan Run falls does not get as much publicity as the Lower Falls, but it’s one of my favorite waterfalls. The rocks to the right of the falls form a staircase leading to the brink of the falls. We spent an hour at the base of the falls taking photographs and didn’t see a soul around.
It’s far easier to get to the Upper Falls than the Lower Falls. You can get a glimpse of the Lower Falls through patches of dense undergrowth and rhododendrons.
It’s far too risky to climb down the sandstone ledge here for a view of waterfall, but if you follow the trail to its end, where it connects to the Youghiogheny River Trail, you can probably get to the falls without risking serious injury. Nonetheless, it is still steep and requires delicate footing. I didn’t trust my shaky legs to attempt this after running 20 miles earlier in the morning!
At the end of the trail, we turned around and followed the trail back to the Sugar Run Trail, hoping to photograph Sugar Run Falls. At the time, we mistook this waterfall for Sugar Run Falls. If I had done better research beforehand, I would have known to stay on the trail.
Both Sugar Run and Jonathan Run are out-and-back trails. The Jonathan Run Trail is 1.7 miles each way.
We stopped at both the Kentuck and Tharp Knob overlooks to take in the scenic views.
We managed to catch Cucumber Falls with a higher water volume than previous visits. The water was too high and too cold for us to risk rock hopping to the other side, but we delighted in watching this man attempt it. He even managed to get on the big rock beside the waterfall!
Even Ohiopyle Falls seemed to have more water!
For more information on Ohiopyle’s numerous attractions, see https://hikinginpennsylvania.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/ohiopyle-state-park/#more-11