What to do in McConnells Mill State Park

McConnell's Mill State Park encompasses 2,529 acres of the spectacular Slippery Rock Creek Gorge in Lawrence, County approximately 40 miles north of Pittsburgh.

The Slippery Rock Gorge was designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1974 and became a State Park Natural Area in 1998. The steep-sided gorge contains numerous rocky outcrops, boulders, old growth forest, waterfalls and rare plants. Cleland Rock Overlook is a great place to view the gorge.

Also part of the natural area, Hell's Hollow has a wide array of wildflowers and habitats in addition to what is seen in the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge. A hiking trail leads to a cascading waterfall and an old lime kiln.

Visitors entering McConnell's Mill State Park should be aware of the natural hazards and steep terrain of the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge. This area contains smooth rocks that are often damp and slippery, and varying degrees of white water conditions, including deep pools, rapids and swift currents. Adults should be aware of these features and exercise caution to protect themselves and children from accidents. Numerous accidents here have resulted in injury and death.

The park offers several trails along the Slippery Rock Creek which permits fishing and whitewater boating opportunities. Two picnic areas stay busy during the warmer months. This historic area even offers climbing and rappelling for those properly equipped. Many acres of McConnell's Mill State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Guided tours of the lovely restored gristmill are available from Memorial Day through Labor Day. A trail guide to the self-guiding portion of the Kildoo Nature Trail is available at the park office.

McConnell's Mill State Park encompasses 2,529 acres of the spectacular Slippery Rock Creek Gorge in Lawrence, County approximately 40 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Daniel Kennedy's first gristmill on Slippery Rock Creek was destroyed by fire so he rebuilt in 1868. Thomas McConnell bought that mill in 1875 and improved it by replacing the waterwheel with water turbines and the grinding stones with rolling mills. One of the first rolling mills in the country, it processed corn, oats, wheat and buckwheat for local customers. Sagging profits and antiquated equipment closed the mill in 1928. The mill and surrounding property was conveyed from Thomas H. Hartman to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and later to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with the wish that it be preserved for future generations. The beautiful McConnell's Mill State Park was formally dedicated as a state park in October of 1957.

The Slippery Rock Gorge was designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1974 and became a State Park Natural Area in 1998. The steep-sided gorge contains numerous rocky outcrops, boulders, old growth forest, waterfalls and rare plants. Cleland Rock Overlook is a great place to view the gorge.

Also part of the natural area, Hell's Hollow has a wide array of wildflowers and habitats in addition to what is seen in the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge. A hiking trail leads to a cascading waterfall and an old lime kiln.

One of two covered bridges in Lawrence County, it was built in 1874 and uses a Howe Truss. The bridge is on park land but is the property of Lawrence County.

Visitors entering McConnell's Mill State Park should be aware of the natural hazards and steep terrain of the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge. This area contains smooth rocks that are often damp and slippery, and varying degrees of white water conditions, including deep pools, rapids and swift currents. Adults should be aware of these features and exercise caution to protect themselves and children from accidents. Numerous accidents here have resulted in injury and death. PLEASE EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION. Swimming is prohibited.

Recreation
McConnell's Mill State Park is a beautiful park offering wonderful sightseeing opportunities. The park offers several trails along the Slippery Rock Creek which permits fishing and whitewater boating opportunities. Two picnic areas stay busy during the warmer months. This historic area even offers climbing and rappelling for those properly equipped.

Many acres of McConnell's Mill State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply.

Guided tours of the lovely restored gristmill are available from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The daily schedule of the Old Mill is from 10:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Off-season tours are by appointment only. Guided nature walks are conducted every Saturday and Sunday during the summer season. A variety of topics, settings and subjects are discussed and explored.

A trail guide to the self-guiding portion of the Kildoo Nature Trail is available at the park office.

Location
The park is located approximately 40 miles north of Pittsburgh, via Interstate 79, near the intersection of PA Route 19 and US Route 422.

Climate
Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The McConnells Mill State Park area has cold winter months with temperatures averaging around 24 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 to -2 degrees Celsius). The area's average summer temperatures range around 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 Celsius).

Address
R. R. 2, Box 16
Portersville, PA 16051-9401

Phone: 724-368-8091 or 368-8811

Email: moraine@dcnr.state.pa.us
  • McConnells Mill State Park Travel Q&A

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