Waterfalls are a big travel bucket list item for me and they’re also part of what I love about nearby Ridley Creek State Park. So many of these beautiful natural elements are far away; this one is in a scenic spot right in my region of Pennsylvania. A touch of spring began to show, with small yellow blooms complimenting the falls flowing into the creek.
It was during a previous park visit that I first came across the Sycamore Mills ruins. However, the crumbling structure makes for interesting photos in different shadow and light patterns throughout the year. You’ll get a unique look from capturing such sites at various times. Even though the ruins here have a known name and history, there is still a sense of mystery about them to me. Maybe it has to do with pondering long-ago daily life at this place.
Which way do I go? At a point that I hadn’t reached before in the park, I came to this fork in the road. Beyond the sign was an inclining direction and for the moment, I chose to keep following the way I was going and possibly trek higher ground on a future visit. Either option would lead my curiosity to areas I hadn’t yet seen and I always find it exciting to venture into new-to-me territory.
A large fallen tree among surviving ones to my left, the huge hole in its trunk caught my attention.
Spotting a picnic area up ahead, at first I thought it looked like a bridge. This was now the farthest into Ridley Creek State Park I’d ever wandered. As I walked closer, the creek water sounded like there was another waterfall beyond the picnic spot. However, it was only the rush of shallow water over rocks peaking out at the surface. I was exploring on my own at the moment, but thought this would make a nice outdoorsy date spot with someone.
The creek waters were calm as could be in this area, allowing for a sharp reflection of the trees and early spring color.
Back at the ruins, I decided to take a few more photos from another perspective; parts of the stony walls were better lit, revealing extra detail. I also love varying up the angles of surrounding nature.
A beautiful sight, indeed. Yet, visitors must heed this warning of getting too close to the waterfall: Danger. Keep Off.
I paused, looking back through the lens once more for a final capture of yellow petals and the park’s waterfalls. With several trees in the foreground, I wanted to show just how scenic this spot is for the eyes to enjoy. No question that Ridley Creek State Park is a local favorite for nature lovers.
At the time, information posted in an encased sign included a story about other state parks in Pennsylvania, featuring a photo of Kinzua Bridge. I’ve never been there, so this short hike through Ridley Creek gave me inspiration for another place to visit someday. Only glancing at the photo, I didn’t learn the full history of Kinzua Bridge and the state park where it’s located.
Shortly afterward, I watched an episode of a show called “Mysteries of the Abandoned,” which had a segment on the bridge. From that, I learned its story along with how it became a tourist attraction. As someone who is interested in old and abandoned places and structures, Kinzua is right up my alley. Located far northwest from where I live, I’m not sure when I’ll get the chance to visit.
Until then, I’m planning to explore a much closer spot to take in my home state’s nature, Evansburg State Park. Along with that, I’ve also got two upcoming blog posts about Ridley Creek State Park after a recent quick stop and another visit on the way. That will find me taking on another new-to-me hiking trail.
I hope to see many such parks throughout Pennsylvania, as well as those in every state. Accomplishing this and visiting more national parks are big goals I have for experiencing natural beauty and historic sites of America.