Dirtbags With Furbags With

Hector Falls PA: A 9-Step Hiking Guide

Hector Falls PA

Hector Falls is a breathtaking waterfall located between Ludlow and Sheffield in Warren County, Pennsylvania – Not to be confused with Hector Falls in New York. Its location deep within the Allegheny National Forest (ANF), paired with the large boulders that surround it, gives this waterfall a Lost World feel.

Hiking Hector Falls PA will take you on a 2.1-mile journey through the beautiful ANF. The falls are deep within a valley, lending to its Jurrasic feel. If you visit the Falls alone, it’s easy to feel like you’ve slipped back to a wilder time in history.

This article will provide a step-by-step guide to hiking Hector Falls and outline some things to expect while hiking this gorgeous waterfall in northwestern PA.

This post includes affiliate links but rest assured that we only recommend items we would use ourselves. And if you choose to make a purchase, we receive a small commission. No sponsorships, just the truth about our favorite finds.

What To Expect While Hiking Hector Falls PA

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service tells us that the Allegheny National Forest encompasses 514,029 acres of land. Hector Falls is situated in the northeastern portion of the forest and feeds the East Branch of Tionesta Creek.

Trails in the ANF tend to be very well-marked, and Hector Falls is no different. There are only a few tricky places where you might make a wrong turn. But don’t worry; I’m here to guide you through the trail!

Parking

The parking lot for Hector Falls PA is small. It can comfortably hold six cars, seven or eight if everyone squeezes in. Due to the remote nature of this hike, Hector Falls doesn’t get too busy. However, if you’re worried, it’s best to get there early in the day.

I went on a stormy, cold, miserable Thursday and was the only one in the lot. The parking lot itself is packed dirt with gravel. Even on stormy days, the lot doesn’t usually get rutted. You can make it here in a car, but a 4×4 would be better as the road to the lot is muddy, rutted, and filled with bumpy potholes.

The Trail

The out-and-back trail to Hector Falls PA is 2.1 miles. For the first 0.8 miles, you walk along a gated forest road similar to the parking lot—packed dirt and gravel/rocks.

For the final 0.2 miles, a trail leads along an unnamed tributary creek in the forest. The trail gets extremely muddy after rain—waterproof boots are highly recommended! When you reach this wooded area, markers with arrows guide you directly to the falls.

Hiking With Pets

The Hector Falls Trail is pet-friendly, so go ahead and bring your pooch or kitty on the adventure! I hiked this with our tripod, Pawdrick, and he had no problem navigating the trails. 

Some pet-specific things to consider when hiking Hector Falls PA:

  • Mud: If you want to see Hector Falls running, it’s best to go after a rainstorm. Unfortunately, this means the trail will be muddy. Bring pet wipes like Vetnique Labs Furbliss Pet Wipes to wipe your pet’s paws after the hike.
  • Ticks: Pennsylvania is one of the worst states for ticks and Lyme Disease. Keep your furbaby safe by using flea and tick prevention, and bring along a tick remover tool like the TickCheck Tick Remover.
  • Waterfall: Unlike most waterfall hikes, your approach will be above the waterfall, which is about 22 feet high. Please keep your pets close as you approach the top of the waterfall, as it is a sheer drop-off.
  • Elevation: The hike to Hector Falls is primarily downhill, meaning the way back is mostly uphill. You can expect to gain around 320-330 feet of elevation. It isn’t terribly steep, but it’s not flat, either. Make sure your pup is up for the challenge before you start.

Need help figuring out what to pack for your pet? Check out our guide on dog hiking gear essentials and cat hiking gear essentials!

Wildlife

The Allegheny National Forest teems with little woodland critters skittering, hopping, and trotting around. I didn’t see any forest creatures on my hike, but I also went on a rainy, cold day in the early afternoon when most sane animals (and people) were safely hidden away and beneath cover.

Here are some of the more common animals you might spot while hiking Hector Falls PA:

  • Turkey
  • White-tailed deer
  • Chipmunk
  • Squirrel
  • Salamanders
  • Ruffed Grouse

You may spot more elusive animals like gray foxes, black bears, river otters, or owls if lucky. If you’re hiking in the warmer months, keep an eye out for the Timber Rattlesnake and Copperheads – these venomous denizens like to hide in leaf litter and along the forest floor.

If you bring your pup along for the adventure, check out our guide on what to do if your dog is bitten by a snake to be prepared for any adverse events. Bringing your cat? We have a guide for that, too!

The Falls

Now it’s time to talk about the waterfall itself! Hector Falls is not always flowing. During the dry summer months, it is little more than a trickle.

The best time to see Hector Falls flowing is after a significant rain event or in the spring when the snowmelt increases the flow. 

Hiking Hector Falls PA: A Step-By-Step Guide

Now that we know what to expect on your journey through the ANF, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of the hike itself. I’ll take you from the parking lot down to the falls and back to complete this beautiful hike to one of the most remote waterfalls in PA!

If you love hiking waterfalls in Pennsylvania, check out our article on the best hikes with waterfalls in southwest PA.

Where To Park

Hector Falls PA Parking Lot

The parking lot for Hector Falls is relatively easy to find with Google or Apple Maps. Even if your phone doesn’t take you to the exact location, the lot has an obvious ‘Hector Falls’ sign that is sure to catch your eye as you drive by.

The lot is located on Forestry Road:

A car can probably make it to the parking lot, but the road can be muddy and rutted on rainy days, so a 4×4 vehicle is your best bet to reach this hike.

Step-By-Step Guide

Once you’ve parked your vehicle and leashed up your pup, it’s time to hit the trail! This trail is considered easy-moderate. Make sure you pack plenty of water for you and any four-legged companions you bring along!

  1. Head toward the gate across the access road to begin your adventure. The trail is wide and easy to follow.
Hector Falls Trail

2. Follow the road steadily downhill. Around the 0.6-mile mark, you’ll run into a fork in the path. Continue left to stay on the access road toward Hector Falls.

Hector Falls Fork In Trail

3. At the 0.8-mile mark, you’ll come to the end of the access road. There will be a well on the left side of the trail. Continue straight to the trail, which will bend slightly into the woods.

Hector Falls Trail Into Woods

4. As you enter the wooded section of the trail, you’ll see white diamonds nailed on the trees with arrows pointing you in the correct direction.

Hector Falls Arrows

5. There is one misleading arrow near a fallen pine tree. The arrow sends you to the right, but the trail goes straight. The trail is obvious, so don’t be fooled by the arrow and continue straight!

Hector Falls misleading arrow

6. Continue on the wooded trail for about 0.1 miles. If the falls are running, you can hear them by now. Just off to your left will be the top of the falls (use caution here). The arrows will lead you to the right, taking you to the bottom of the falls.

Hector Falls Trail Split

7. Take the trail to the right and head to the bottom of the falls. The white diamonds with the arrows are plentiful here to direct you. Towards the bottom, you’ll see a wooden bridge. Cross the bridge to get your first glimpse of Hector Falls.

Hector Falls Wooden Bridge

8. Take in the views of Hector Falls, one of the most unique waterfalls in the ANF. When the water is really flowing, you can see two waterfalls cascading over the enormous rock formation.

Hector Falls with Pawdrick

9. Once you’ve drank in the views, reverse the trail to return to your vehicle. Remember to pack a post-hike bone for your canine companion or a catnip toy for your adventurous feline!

Wrapping Up Our Hector Falls PA Journey

Hector Falls is among the most unique waterfalls in the Allegheny National Forest if not all of Pennsylvania. Its location deep within the woods and the unusual rock formations surrounding it make it an exceptional experience.

Be prepared for some mud, especially after rain, which is the best time to see Hector Falls. Enjoy the scenic views and breathe in the fresh forest air in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest!

If you’ve hiked Hector Falls PA let us know how it went in the comments below! We love hearing about your adventures. And if you’re looking for more hikes in Pennsylvania, check out our hiking PA page!

Robyn and Pawd at Hector Falls
Facebook
Twitter
Email

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles