Throughout December I've been sharing tours around Western Pennsylvania from our recent visit. You can read about our visit to local Amish country here. From Volant we headed over to McConnell's Mill State Park to see Slippery Rock Gorge and the second covered bridge still in use in Lawrence County.
The drive through the park starts off with tree-lined roads and picnic areas. The evergreens are Hemlock which are a fixture here.
From there the road turns through narrow cuts in large rock formations. These rock formations exist due to the effects of the Great Laurentide Glacier which stopped its southerly flow in this area of western Pennsylvania, pushing rock ahead of it. The glacier then melted with a fury releasing huge volumes of rushing water, which formed the Slippery Rock Gorge we are now descending into.
Views along the road side are stunning. Note the serpentine tree growth.
These rocks are as close as they appear.
Then you catch a glimpse of the red covered bridge from the road above.
There's still a few switchbacks and more of those stunning rock formations to navigate.
Not there yet though. Taking a look back up the hill.
Getting closer, more views of the bridge and now the mill comes into view as we wind our way down
View of the bridge from the parking area.
Slippery Rock Creek is rated Class II/III for whitewater boating.
The bridge was built in 1874. There's a newer regular bridge upstream so this is part of the state park road system now, but still open to local traffic.
The bridge is a Howe Truss design, unlike the covered bridge we saw a few miles farther north in Amish country which has an Arch Truss design.
The mill was built in 1852 and was one of the first mills in the country to use rollers for oats and buckwheat.
Calm water above the dam by the mill.
There is a portage way around the dam and it is illegal to ride over the dam.
No one was in the water today though.
The park has several great trails for hiking. The last time we were here we hiked down below the bridge, but that was in September when it was warmer.
The trail along the creek was icy but we did walk on it just a bit.
Now to the other side of the mill which ceased operating in 1928.
Above the dam.
We can exit the park through the bridge or along the upstream road. We'll take the road today.
There's so much natural beauty here that the park was designated a National Natural Landmark site in 1974. It is a much deserved distinction. Next we'll visit the historic town of Harmony, PA.