Allegheny National Forest is a special place for me and I absolutely love showing it off to special people. One place that I’ve been wanting to find for some time is Hector Falls. Hector Falls is located in the Tionesta Scenic area. It’s tucked away off some forest roads that I wonder how I even found. The entrance is gated but there are a few small spots for parking. Along the trail are signs of logging. However, there are still nice old trees that provide shade along the trail. The trail isn’t all that long. At the Y in the trail take the left side. The right side is a dead end! I was drawn to this area because even though Hector Falls isn’t a particularly big waterfall, it is interesting because it is a 22-ft drop over a rock city formed of sandstone from the last ice age. Pennsylvania has so many places like this. It’s hard to think that the ice came down this far, but it did. During the last ice age glaciers didn’t quite make it as far as Tionesta. They actually stopped a little north of Warren, PA. The area where Hector Falls is was a glacial margin that resembled a tundra during the last ice age. The freeze-thaw shifts formed the rock cities in the area.
So with all of this in mind it was exciting to make my way and see the falls. The area is a neat geological area, although it is threatened by gas drilling and logging. We smelled faint wafts of gas from the wells near-by as we hiked. Taking the left side of the trail we eventually dropped down into the forest filled with 300-400 year-old beech, hemlock and sugar maples. East Fork Run the stream that forms the fall was running but not a lot even though it had rained quite a bit that morning and the few days before. When we arrived at Hector Falls it was dry, except for a small portion that flowed out between the rocks. It was neat to see that. We were able to check out the valley below. There was a ton of fallen timber. I wasn’t sure if it was from the logging or just from storms. We also found a small fire ring and a spot for a tent, so I assume someone was overnight camping here at one point. The area was cool but I overheard someone say that this was the driest they’ve ever seen it. Nonetheless, I was happy to finally find it and I cannot wait to go back. Hopefully it will be flowing more in the Spring.
I have read about proposals to save the area. I do not know if this was accomplished yet or if it is still in the works. I hope that it is still on the table as this area absolutely needs to be protected from the drilling.