Photographing Hawk Falls, Hickory Run State Park (Pennsylvania)

Hawk Falls

Hawk Falls is a beautiful 25-foot waterfall that is easy to access and somewhat under-appreciated. Other parks and trails in Pennsylvania are well known for their waterfalls, including the Delaware Water Gap, Ricketts Glen State Park, Bushkill Falls, Ohiopyle State Park, and Glen Onoko, but Hawk Falls in Hickory Run State Park doesn’t get nearly as much attention.

Hickory Run State Park in the Pocono Mountains is best-known for its boulder field (see details in our guide to the boulder field), which is certainly a unique and noteworthy feature. Hawk Falls is located south of the boulder field and is easily accessible via a short trail.

See More of the Best Places to Photograph in Pennsylvania

Getting to Hawk Falls

Along Highway 534, there is a parking lot for the Hawk Falls trailhead at approximately these coordinates: 41.010714, -75.634064.

→ Related reading: 10 Tips for Fabulous Waterfall Photography

Photographing Hawk Falls

Hawk Run flows south, and you can take the trail heading south to reach Hawk Falls. The falls are a short distance down the trail (I believe it is less than half a mile). You’ll reach the falls in just a few minutes of hiking.

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Off to the right of the trail you will be able to get a view from the top of the falls. This is a nice, easy view… but it’s not the best view. You’re looking down on the falls, and there are some branches that may be blurry in your photos if there is wind.

Photographing Hawk Falls, Hickory Run State Park (Pennsylvania)

Hawk Falls from the top

If you go back to the trail and keep going it will lead down near the bottom of the falls. You’ll be able to get a bit of a view here, but it kind of depends on the water level. When I was there the water level was high and some trees were in my view, so I had to scramble over some rocks to get the view I wanted at the bottom. Of course, be careful on the rocks and near the water.

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Photographing Hawk Falls, Hickory Run State Park (Pennsylvania)

Hawk Falls from below

Hawk Falls flows into a small pool of water. That pool then falls a few feet over a lower falls, which you can include in your shot with a wide angle lens. I used a Canon 16-35mm f/4 to get the shot below.

Photographing Hawk Falls, Hickory Run State Park (Pennsylvania)

Hawk Falls and small lower falls

I found Hawk Falls to be a pleasant surprise. I thought the falls were more powerful and more picturesque than I was expecting.

One of the nice things about Hawk Falls is there are plenty of other great places in the area, so you can easily combine a trip to Hawk Falls with something else. The boulder field, Lehigh Gorge State Park, and Glen Onoko Falls are all pretty close. Many other destinations in the Poconos, like Bushkill Falls and the Delaware Water Gap are also not that far away. Ricketts Glen State Park is also within driving distance. If you are in the area I would definitely recommend a quick stop at Hawk Falls.

If you’re interested in other locations in the area please see our guides:

Recommended Gear

If you’re photographing Hawk Falls I recommend taking the following:

Wide Angle Lens – You’ll be fairly close to Hawk Falls when photographing it, so a wide angle lens is helpful to get everything in the frame. I used my go-to lens, the Canon 16-35mm f/4. See our Reviews of the Best Wide Angle Lenses for Canon DSLRs and Reviews of the Best Wide Angle Lenses for Nikon DSLRs.

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Tripod – Any time you are photographing a waterfall a tripod is essential to get the best results. With a tripod you can slow down the shutter speed enough to get a blurred look to the water.

Polarizer – A polarizer is helpful for reducing the glare from the water and rocks. This is an issue with most waterfalls, and Hawk Falls is no exception. The pool of water below the falls and the wet rocks behind and around the falls where producing the most glare when I was there.

Lens Wipes – If you are photographing from the bottom of Hawk Falls you may get some spray coming off the falls onto your lens. Lens wipes are helpful for keeping your lens clean and free of those water drops that can ruin your photos. I use and recommend these lens wipes from Zeiss.