Pinafore Falls

4.0 Miles
Time to Hike: 2 hours
PA Wilds
September 16, 2021
January 13, 2022

The Pinafore Falls hike at Tioga State Forest near Wellsboro, Pennsylvania is a moderate 4-mile out-and-back trail that follows the Pine Creek Trail through Pine Creek Gorge (PA Grand Canyon) leads to the 20-foot tall Pinafore Falls, but does include a bushwhack upstream to reach it.

This hike follows the Pine Creek Trail (aka Pine Creek Rail Trail) starting from the Darling Run parking area.

Hike Description
This hike begins at the Darling Run parking area along the Pine Creek Trail near Wellsboro, PA and heads south along the trail as it winds through the PA Grand Canyon. Along the way, hikers will pass Darling Run - which can be explored further as a bushwhack to find Darling Run Falls - around mile 0.4.

Along the trail there are several nice views of Pine Creek and the steep hillsides of the gorge. Two noteworthy spots - if you know where to look is Barbour Rock and Kennedy Point.

Pinafore Run - Mile 1.75
At mile 1.75, hikers will reach Pinafore Run which passes directly underneath the Pine Creek Trail. Here, during mostly the Spring and after heavy rainfalls, hikers will find Lower Pinafore Falls (what used to be a 6-foot waterfall), located about 10-feet off of the trail from the Pine Creek Trail. Between writing this and my 2nd trip report 5 months later (Sept 2021 - Jan 2022), a storm had washed this waterfall away for the most part. Hikers can now easily head up into the creek where the rock has tumbled down - making for easy steps.

Hikers will begin their creek hike upstream where Pinafore Run meets the Pine Creek Trail. During months when the water level is lower, hikers - like I did (Admin) - can easily just follow the creek all the way upstream to reach Upper Pinafore Falls. The hike upstream is not easy, but at the worst is a moderate trek. It's easy to fall or get hurt within the rocks and small cliffs that the creek bed has to offer, so go slow and watch your step. Before reaching Upper Pinafore Falls, hikers will first hit "Middle Pinafore Falls" which is a series of three waterfalls - each about 4-feet tall with one 8 to 9-footer - that cascade down the creek. These waterfalls pose the largest obstacle to reach Upper Pinafore Falls. Here, I made my way up one of the waterfalls before skirting around the northern banks of the creek to bypass the other two to reach Upper Pinafore Falls.

Upper Pinafore Falls - End of Hike
After passing the Middle Pinafore Falls section, hikers will reach Upper Pinafore Falls (aka Pinafore Falls) which cascades down Pinafore Run at about 20-feet tall. The upper portion of the waterfall is a slide waterfall that quickly cascades into a steeper rock slide waterfall. This beautiful waterfall is not necessarily easy to get to, hence to moderate difficulty.

Hiking Out
Obviously hiking back is not all that difficult - the main part is just to take it slow to make it out from Pinafore Run without hurting yourself. An alternative route up and out for this waterfall can be a bushwhack along the side of the creek - but watch your step as the banks of the creek are between 15 and 20 feet tall in some places.

This beautiful waterfall is not necessarily easy to get to, hence to moderate difficulty.

Hikers will find parking at the coordinates provided at the Darling Run parking area for the Pine Creek Trail.

Dogs are allowed if leashed and their waste must be carried out. Please note that the bushwhack to reach Mid-Pinafore Falls and Upper Pinafore Falls may not be suitable for dogs.

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Ticks - Lyme Disease More Info (CDC)
Falling rocks or scrambles

Surface Type



121 '

Total Change
276 '

276 '

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3 Trip Reports

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4.0 miles
Trail added
September 16, 2021
Updated on
January 13, 2022
4.0 miles
January 13, 2022
Revisited Pinafore Creek and Pinafore Falls in mid-January 2022 to test out some new ice gear - an ice axe, hiking crampons, and a trusty helmet to keep my dome safe. I first found that the waterfall adjacent to the Pine Creek Trail had been totally washed out - this is no longer a waterfall! The old 6-foot falls is gone, but it made for an easy ascent into the creek to start the icy hike up stream. Pinafore creek is not very difficult to navigate in icy conditions, but hikers must check every step to ensure they don't fall into a watery hole - using your ice axe makes this easy. The difficult section comes about half-way where the first 5-foot waterfall sits. Here, hikers don't have much of a choice but to climb the waterfall - using your ice axe you can easily find grip at the top of the falls, but finding something to hold (without 2 axes) can be difficult. On this adventure I found a 10" hole frozen in the waterfall, so I stuck my hand in to check the thickness - was about 3" thick. I then grabbed on, stepped my crampons into the waterfall, and pulled myself up with the natural handhold and ice axe. Next obstacle are the 5 to 10-foot waterfalls that look like frozen steps. Here, it's easiest to make your way to the north side of the creek - without plunging into freezing water - to make your way up some natural rocky steps. Assuming the waterfall is frozen enough, you can then crampon your way up and across the thickest section of the 10-foot waterfall. From here, making your way to Pinafore Falls (~20-foot cascade) is fairly simple - stay to the left-hand side of the creek (north side) to stay on thicker ice with rocks scattered throughout. Finally, at Pinafore Falls, sit and enjoy the trickle as the creek flows beneath the ice as it makes its way down the creek. This was probably the most fun I've had in the winter in a long time, but traversing this ice without proper gear should not be attempted!
3.5 miles
September 16, 2021
Easy hike out to Pinafore Run. Skipped the bushwhack upstream to the waterfall and chilled with Jax instead.
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