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Wildlife Watching at Ricketts Glen State Park


Ricketts Glen is famous for its exceptional diversity of bird life, from 23 varieties of warblers to bald eagles, which is to why the park is highlighted for birding near the Susquehanna River.

This series of trails connects some of Pennsylvania’s finest birding and wildlife viewing sites, as well as important historical and natural areas.

The Bear Truths

Many Pennsylvania state parks are habitat for black bears. Although they appear cute and cuddly like a teddy bear, black bears are wild animals. A black bear can scramble up a tree like a raccoon and sprint as fast as a race horse. Bears use their claws to tear apart rotting logs to find food, and those claws also work well to open garbage cans and coolers. The size and strength of a black bear are astonishing.

Black bears have poor eyesight and fair hearing, but an excellent sense of smell. Aromatic scents coming from your personal items can attract a curious and hungry bear from a great distance. Bears are attracted to the smell of toothpaste, deodorants, air fresheners, food, and even the clothes worn while cooking.

Store all items inside a vehicle. At primitive, walk-in campsites, suspend food between two trees, 10 feet in the air, and three feet from either tree.

Black bears normally avoid people, but bears dependent on eating human food can become aggressive when people get between them and food.

If you come in contact with a black bear, try chasing it away by making loud noises like yelling, honking a car horn, or banging a pot. Notify a park employee if you have difficulties with bears.

Never approach a bear and be especially wary of mother bears and cubs.

Plant Guides

Hiker's Guide to the Trees, Shrubs, and Vines of Ricketts Glen State Park and Flora of Ricketts Glen State Park, by George P. Chamuris, Ph.D., Bloomsburg University.

Geology Guide

Detailed information about the geology behind the waterfalls is available from the Trail of Geology -- Ricketts Glen State Park Guide (PDF).