Adventure PA: McConnells Mill State Park

PORTERSVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) – McConnells Mill State Park in Lawrence County has a good mix of history and geology.

“The park is a little over 3,000 acres. Much of that is the Slippery Rock Gorge,” park manager Dustin Drew said.

Slippery Rock Creek flows through the gorge and is stocked with trout, so it’s great for fishing.

You’ll also find the grist mill along the creek. The mill was used to process different grains into flour, cornmeal, and livestock feed. You can go inside and look around.

“The original mill on this site was built in 1852. It was struck by lightning in 1867 and burned to the ground. This building replaced it in 1868. It’s 149 years old,” said Kati Edmiston, an environmental interpretive technician.

After your history lesson, you can go for a hike. Adjacent to the grist mill is Kildoo Trail. The three-mile loop is a family friendly hike that runs along the creek and offers great scenery.

What makes this park so great is the geology. You will find huge boulders formed by glacial flooding thousands of years ago.

“When the ice dam broke and the water came flooding down through, it washed away over 400 feet of sediment,” Edmiston said. “That’s why we have this unique rock formation in this area.”

Moraine State Park is close by and has one of the biggest man-made lakes in Pennsylvania, Lake Arthur. It’s great for fishing and boating.

“It was made to mimic the glacial lakes that occurred there thousands of years ago,” Drew said.

Adventure PA Checklist:

Location: McConnells Mill is about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh near the intersection of Route 19 and U.S. 422. It’s about 3 hours and 45 minutes from Harrisburg. There is no cell service in the park, so write down the directions in case your GPS stops.

Accommodations: McConnells Mill is a day-use park only, so there’s no camping. The park has rustic bathrooms. There are campgrounds nearby. Moraine State Park offers modern cabin rentals. They sleep up to eight people and have a full kitchen and bathroom.

Cost: The cabin rentals at Moraine State Park run about $70 per night. All day-use areas and parking are free.

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