Apparently they are cracking down on illegal swimming on the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen. Although the trail always had "No Swimming" signs posted in the past, they were largely ignored. I can tell you that they are not ignoring them now. It is an expensive swim- 4 of us paid $250 a piece, including "court costs". From now on we will swim at the beach.
Wear Bugspray! Especially in Spring. There were so many flies that if you stopped walking they would swarm your head. I had to pull my shirt over my head for any releif! When I went to sleep that night I had nightmares of them buzzing around my head!
I would suggest visiting later in the summer into the fall. On our visit here in late August we hardly encountered any flies at all.
My only other suggestion is maybe to buy one of those beekeeper hats with the netting....
In the spring, there are SO many bugs here. It's really pretty irritating. The Falls Trail is long enough that you want to bring something to eat, but good luck finding a place to sit down for awhile. You don't want to remain in one place for more than a minute or so or there will be so many mayflies and gnats swarming around you that you'll go crazy. The strange thing is that I didn't notice it at all until I got down to Waters Meet, the dividing point of the trail. After that, they didn't leave me alone. Take bug spray/repellant--this might drive away the gnats, but it didn't seem to help much with the flies.
There are also large pools of stagnant water up on some of the other trails, so just be aware of mosquitos--West Nile Virus is present in Pennsylvania. (though, presently, only in the county where I live)
You might want to consider going in the autumn when none of these things are concerns--just before the it gets below freezing or the trail will ice up.
Most aren't poisonous, but still, I wouldn't want to pi$$ off a snake by stepping too close or even on him. I had just had the thought "I bet there are lots of snakes on this trail" b/c it was well off the "beaten path" and looked down. There he was. After that, I saw a few more...no rattlesnakes or anything, though I think I did hear one. Something also growled at me, but I didn't stick around long enough to find out what that was.
Look at the picture. People die on the Falls Trail. It's a difficult trail, no doubt. But after it rains, it's also very slippery and some people slip. ALSO, they try to get into the falls. The rocks in the water are about impossible to stand on...I watched some man today try to get in front of one of the falls and he fell right into the water.
It recommends you wear boots, but i wore sneakers today and was fine...when I was little, my sister made me do the hike in flip-flops. I can't believe I'm still here today to tell that story...I remember it involved crying and some bleeding.
If you are going to hike at Ricketts Glen I would definitely wear good supportive shoes! Some of the rocks are very slippery when wet. Also before you even go on the hike there is a big board with newspaper clippings of people who have did get hurt. Lots of broken bones including necks! Just be very careful!!
Most of the trails are closed in the winter to people who are not "certified ice climbers" or don't have ropes, an ice axe and other proper gear. Even if the snow has melted down in the Valley towns, chances are there's still a lot of snow up here. One of the highest points is about 2500 feet, I think (at least on the drive up you pass that sign) and as on last week, there was still A LOT of snow. There's just much more to do here in the spring, summer and fall...summer of course being the best time with the beach and concessions open.
I do recommend checking the website for trail closures and maintenance.