At the turn of the 20th century, railroads popularized the southern end of the Lehigh Valley in northeast Pennsylvania, paving the way for the opening of a resort called Glen Onoko. Hotel Wahnetah boasted 47 rooms, a dance pavilion, tennis courts, fresh air and hikes to the scenic Glen Onoko Falls. A fire in 1911 closed the hotel and a fire in 1917 ended the resort era. The falls lay forgotten. In the 1970s, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania began purchasing parklands and in 1980 the land was turned over to the Bureau of State Parks.
The trail to the Falls can be a challenge to find, in spite of a wonderfully informative kiosk at the parking lot. You need to descend a short bank of steps, turn right under a railroad bridge and turn right up a short hill (orange arrows may or may not be visible). The canine hike then begins. In about a mile the stream will tumble 900 feet over seven distinct waterfalls. Chamelon Falls, that drops 150 feet, is the highest and most colorful cataract. You will be moving almost straight up at times on the demanding Glen Onoko Falls Trail, hopping across the stream and picking your way to the top with your dog most likely in the lead. The return trip can be down a less arduous side route to complete a loop or back down the way you came.
Directions to Glen Onoko Falls: Glen Onoko is the southern access area of Lehigh Gorge State Park and may be reached by taking Exit 74 of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Follow US 209 south to Jim Thorpe. Then take PA 903 north across the river to Coalport Road. Turn off of Coalport to Glen Onoko.
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