Fall in Western PA, what a beautiful time and place
Perfect for an outing at McConnells Mill State Park
Bring your darling and a few pepp rolls--you're all set!
For starters, here's a bit of history:
300 million years ago, western Pennsylvania was south of the equator and covered by a sea. Rivers carried lots of sediment into the area. Over time, layers of silt, clay, and thick vegetation built up, eventually becoming layers of solid rock, coal, limestone, sandstone, and shale. Time passed, tectonic plates shifted, and the continent moved north. The layers that had been covered were lifted up, and, with many more years of erosion, Slippery Rock Gorge was formed.
In more recent times (1974), the U.S. Department of the Interior named the gorge a Natural National Landmark. What's more, this historic and beautiful site is just 40 miles north of Pittsburgh. Pack your rolls and hit the road!
Within the state park, North Country Trail follows Slippery Rock Creek for over seven miles. We recommend hiking just a portion of NCT, called Slippery Rock Gorge Trail, from Eckert Bridge to the McConnells Mill Covered Bridge. The distance is about one mile. During the hike, if you're itching to get closer to the water (like we were), get off the trail, walk the boulders, and take in the fresh gorge air. Be careful, though! This is a whitewater creek, with slippery spots and swift currents.
In about a mile, you'll reach the iconic Covered Bridge and McConnells Mill, for which the 2,546 acre state park is named. This is a nice place to take a break, unwrap your perfectly portable pepperoni rolls, and Savor Your Energy. To get the full gorge experience, take Kildoo Trail back along the opposite bank of Slippery Rock Creek.
Remember to pause, take in the incredible landscape, and snap a photo for the memories.
Happy adventuring, from Rolling Pepperoni, to you!