Wadsworth Falls State Park gets a lot of attention in the summer. It’s pretty common to hear that it has reached capacity. Some people may shy away from the park because of this, but there are ways to beat the crowds. First off, there is a swimming area with lifeguards and bathrooms at the main park entrance. Don’t park here in the summer if you don’t like crowds. But for winter, spring, and fall this is a great place to start. On our late winter hike, the “pool” was empty. All water had been drained from this man-made structure that looks more like a pond but is actually lined with stone cement. From the parking area, we headed out on the Main Trail (orange blazes.) The highlight of the hike was, of course, Wadsworth Falls in the southwestern corner of the park.
Half way to Wadsworth Falls we came to a fork in the trail and headed to the right along the Little Falls Trail (blue blazes.) Yes, compared to the main falls this was little, but if I wasn’t comparing it I would consider this a nice falls. The rock looks a lot like it could be stairs with a slow, but steady stream of water making its way down. Little Falls often gets overlooked with its bigger brother less than a half mile away. Don’t let the masses herd you past here, it’s worth the uphill hike you will have to do to get back to the Main Trail.
We continued along the Main Trail until almost reaching Cherry Hill Rd. Here we came across a trail that crossed the railroad tracks and brought us to the east side of Wadsworth Falls. This is the side slightly less traveled. To the west of the falls is a parking lot and field where people can enjoy the falls. Again, the crowds tend to go there so stay to the east. Plus, there is a much better view on the east side looking down on the falls.
After visiting the waterfall we headed back on the Main Trail from where we came from. We passed the link up with Little Falls Trail and found the Cedar Loop Trail (red blazes). This brought us to the eastern end of the Little Falls Trail and past the ruins of an old stone foundation. Trees are growing in around it and you might just walk right by it if you aren’t really looking around as you walk. We wondered if this was the spot of the old Gunpowder Mill that literally exploded one day, but looking back on the state DEEP website I don’t think this was it.
At the eastern most end of Little Falls Trail we headed north on Laurel Grove Brook Trail (yellow blazes). The trail runs right along the brook and once again we found old ruins for something. It looks as if at some point the brook was dammed up here, possibly for some type of industrial manufacturing.
Eventually, Laural Grove Brook Trail meets up with the Bridge Trail. As you can see there is a really nice looking stone bridge that crosses the brook. We spent some time here taking pictures of the bridge from different angles before heading west on the Bridge Trail back to the parking lot. In all, the route we took was a total of 4 miles. We crossed paths with other people, but at no point felt that it was crowded. There is a lot to see and do at Wadsworth Falls State Park yet most people never go more than 100 yards away from the parking areas. Get out there and explore!