Nestled within Pennsylvania’s Delaware State Forest is a gem called Promised Land State Park in Greentown. Legend has it that the Shakers sarcastically named it “the Promised Land” because of their inability to farm the rocky soil and build a life for themselves. Prior to that time, it was hunting grounds for the Minsi Tribe.
Nearly 3,000 acres in size, the park sits on the Pocono Plateau, 1,800 feet above sea level. There are many recreational opportunities throughout the park, including hiking, fishing, horseback riding, etc. However, for this article I am going to focus on the Little Falls Trail area near Lower Lake.
As you enter the park on Lower Lake Road, the first things you will probably notice are the dense stands of rhododendron that line both sides of the road. As you pass the lake on the right, the banks of which are also lined with rhododendron, you will cross a small bridge and come to a roadside parking area on the right. The blue-blazed trailhead is just across the street.
Not far from the trailhead you will come to a bridge that crosses the East Branch Wallenpaupack Creek. You can either go over the bridge or take the trail to the right. I crossed the bridge, because I’m fun like that. Mid-December things were still very green. Ferns and large-moss-covered boulders combined with hemlock and rhododendron to brighten up an otherwise colorless landscape.
The creek was running fast and should be really rocking with all the rain we’ve had lately. About half a mile down creek you come to a little waterfall. People tend to poohpooh it, because of its size, but it is still beautiful. The rock that it cuts through adds to its charm.
At the bottom of the falls is another bridge, which you can take back across the creek, or you can continue on the same side. I crossed the bridge and followed the trail to the left. It winds its way along the brook and passes through a stand of rhododendron. Are you sensing a pattern here? It opens up a bit after that.
At some point I zigged, when I should have zagged and ended up at the intersection of the Big Dam Ridge Trail and the White Birches Trail. Both sounded promising. However, it was already about 3pm and, well, Eastern Standard Time. It would be getting dark soon, so I headed back.
Remember when I said, “…an otherwise colorless landscape”? That’s not entirely true. If you’ve been reading my posts, you know I’m all about not merely looking but also seeing. The beauty is in the details. From the bark of trees to the leaves still clinging to branches to the subtle hues of the rocks, there is plenty of color.
One thing to note is that, although the trail is relatively flat, it is rocky, which makes it somewhat challenging. Strap on your sturdy hiking boots and enjoy.