Falls Creek, like so many other streams with some form of the word “fall” in their name, was named for its waterfalls. This Falls Creek is in the vicinity of what was a coal-mining town with 2,000 residents; when coal mining ended that community was followed by another nearby town of 2,000, this time a logging town with a large sawmill, wood chemical plant and other wood using industries.
By the early 1900s both the coal and timber were exhausted and the people moved away; most of the land (roughly 75,000 acres) was subsequently sold, most to the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the remainder to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry.
Spring is the best time to visit Falls Creek and view its waterfalls although bright sun shining into the south-facing valley can make photography difficult. Even so, on a bright sunny spring day with plenty of water in the streams it was time for a trip up Falls Creek. There’s no trail along the stream, just trees and boulders and rocks – rocks large and small; some slippery, some not; some well-anchored, some loose – so care is necessary because a fall could result in serious injury and help is far away – cell phone service is non-existent.
A view of Falls Creek from the nearest road gives but the barest hint of its beauty –
I’d not gone far up the stream when, in stepping over a log, I almost stepped on the smallest porcupine I’ve ever seen, about the size of my fist –
The stream quickly assumed a steeper gradient with small cascades –
Not far along the way the first waterfall comes into view –
It’s not a vertical waterfall, but it's still beautiful –
For those who prefer a vertical waterfall the next one, although short, is just the ticket –
Further up the stream is a waterfall with a large plunge pool, although the view of the waterfall is somewhat obscured by fallen trees –
Then there are some cascades –
And two more small vertical waterfalls –
At the top of the second waterfall its wide veil of falling water is especially pretty –
It’s from the top of this last waterfall that the largest waterfall on Falls Creek comes into view –
A guide book describes this waterfall as being 100 feet high, but it seems obvious that it’s more like a 45-50 foot drop –
In any case, it’s a beautiful waterfall, but any possible plunge pool is filled with rocky debris –
Although there are more waterfalls and cascades further up the stream it was time to head back, those waterfalls will beckon me to return on another day. Rather than descend the stream I headed up out of the gorge to an old logging road on the sidehill –
Along the way there were quite a few sharp-lobed hepatica in bloom, some in each color (blue, white and pink) in which these hepatica are found –
Falls Creek is a beautiful place well worth visiting – carefully.