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McConnells Mill State Park
McConnells Mill State Park is approximately five miles by car from Bear Run Campground. The adventure side of you may decide to hike it to McConnells Mill State Park via Moraine State Park by way of the North Country Trail--approximately four miles. You may want to arrange for a shuttle back to the campground. Either way you will enjoy this park for its famous Slippery Rock Gorge, Old Grist Mill and Slippery Rock Creek.
Hiking: McConnells Mill State Park encompasses 2,546 acres of the spectacular Slippery Rock Creek Gorge. Naturally created by glacial lakes, the Gorge is famous for its steep slopes and massive boulder field on the valley floor. The Gorge is considered moderate to difficult hiking so be prepared with proper footwear, clothing, water and snacks to maintain energy levels.
Hells Hollow, Alpha Pass and Kildoo are considered easy to moderate hiking and range from .5 to 2.0 miles.
The Old Grist Mill was the first gristmill on Slippery Rock Creek built in 1852 by Daniel Kennedy. One of the first rolling mills in the country, it processed corn, oats, wheat and buckwheat for local customers. Fire destroyed the mill so he rebuilt it in 1868. Thomas McConnell bought the mill in 1875, and improved it by replacing the waterwheel with water turbines and the grinding stones with rolling mills. Sagging profits and antiquated equipment finally closed the mill in 1928.
Slippery Rock Creek: is a Class II to IV river, depending on water levels. SWIMMING IS NEVER RECOMMENDED. Spring and fall are the best times for boating. Only those properly equipped, trained and experienced should consider whitewater boating on Slippery Rock Creek. Whitewater boating is permitted in rubber rafts, whitewater canoes and kayaks. All boaters must wear U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices at all times. Helmets are strongly recommended.
Boaters generally start from Rose Point (US 422 bridge), outside of the park boundary, and boat to Eckert Bridge, covering 2.5 miles with a portage around the dam at the Old Mill. It is illegal to "run" the dam. An additional 3.5 miles of whitewater from Eckert Bridge to Harris Bridge can extend the run for boaters to 6 miles. Rafts, canoes and kayaks are not available for rent in the park.
Picnicking: The Kildoo Picnic Area is adjacent to the parking area at the northern end of the gorge near the Old Mill. A steep trail leads down to the Old Mill.
Climbing & Rappelling: Two climbing and rappelling areas are available to properly equipped and experienced climbers. The Rim Road Climbing Area is across the creek from the Old Mill. The more advanced and rugged area is in the vicinity of Breakneck Bridge.
Fishing: Fishing is permitted anywhere along Slippery Rock Creek with the exception of the dam structures. The best fishing is for trout and bass. Trout are stocked several times throughout the season. There is a fly fishing only, catch and release area by Armstrong Bridge. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission rules and regulations apply.