One hundred tweets posted on Twitter, 1,560 photos uploaded on Instagram and scores of likes and comments being added each day. In just three months, one scenic waterfall has taken over the internet and become a social media sensation.
Located in Rocks State Park, Kilgore Falls is the second highest free-falling waterfall in the state of Maryland. While it’s been open to the public since 1993, Kilgore Falls has achieved more recent popularity this summer thanks to the help of York County teenagers and social networking.
Ben Pessognelli from Springettsbury Township said he first found out about Kilgore Falls on Instagram. “A lot of teens were posting about it and I wanted to see what it was all about,” he said.
Pessognelli decided that he would take the fifty minute drive to Pylesville, Md., to experience the falls for himself. “You pull into a parking lot and take a 15 minute walk through the woods,” he said. “It was really crowded, but the scenery was pretty and I loved seeing how much fun everyone was having.”
Pessognelli said he visited with his mother on a Saturday and the two only stayed about an hour. He added that one of the cool things about Kilgore Falls is that people can swim in the water there, even though he only decided to go waist deep. “I’ll sum up the falls in two words, ‘dangerous fun’,” Pessognelli said. He said there are no restricted areas, meaning that people can jump from the top of the waterfall, or off the rocks.
“I liked that I was able to swim. It was a really fun time and I’ll probably be going back,” Pessognelli said.
Kate Risser, of Manchester Township, first found out about Kilgore Falls from a friend. “I wanted to go really badly,” she said. “Then I saw all the falls pictures on social media and I was like, ‘that’s it, I have to go before the summer’s over’.”
Risser said, while she loves being outdoors, she had never had the opportunity to visit a swimming hole, or waterfall before. To her, Kilgore Falls made for the perfect summer day trip.
Risser and two of her friends took the trip in the morning during a weekday. “At the waterfall area, there’s enough water to wade and swim in. There’s also a huge boulder right
above the deepest part of the water that’s fun to jump off of,” she said. While it wasn’t crowded when she arrived, by the time she left at noon, the parking lot was overflowing and there were a lot of families there.
One explanation to the falls’ popularity, Risser said, is that it’s easily accessible. “The drive is quick and painless,” she said. “We drove on backroads and through small towns. Also, the hike to get to the falls spot is super easy and manageable for anyone.”
She added that social media has been influential in spreading the word about Kilgore Falls as well. “If I had a dollar for every time I saw a falls picture on Instagram or Twitter,” Risser joked.
Risser said that she would definitely recommend going to the falls with a group of friends, or family members. “The waterfall area is so serene and even if you’re not into waterfalls, there are other trails to hike at the park,” she said. “There’s something for everyone and it doesn’t cost anything.”
One thing’s for certain, social media doesn’t just help promote businesses anymore. It helps promote parks, too.