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Slippery Rock Gorge - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Destination Report
Nearest City: Portersville, PA
Difficulty: Difficult
Submitted by: rkmdo

Description:

The Slippery Rock Gorge, as you may imagine contains Slippery Rock Creek. This section of the creek contains the best white water in North West Pennsylvania. A big favorite with local Creek runners and play boaters the creek contains Class 4, argueably seasonal Class 5 white water.

The creek is best run by putting in at Rose point bridge on US 422,and floating the creek down through the McConnells mills state park. This will include a portage around the dam at the mill itself (A grist mill built in 1874 and maintained as a tourist attraction).

Most people take out at Eckerts Bridge, still with in the park boundries. This is only a two and a half mile run so may be done several times in a day if you wish. The trip can be extended another 6 miles by floating to Harris bridge on Mountville road.

This is serious water and has claimed many lives over the years, including the life of a brave volunteer Fire fighter who was attempting to recover the body of a kayaker. Fortunately it is possible (and really necessary!) to walk the length of the run on park trails. AGAIN....please scout this run before attempting it! In my opinion the worst, or best depending on perspective are those above the mill.

The "Gorge" is a national natural landmark and is breathtaking in its beauty. There are many, many rock faces and boulders. Numerous streams cascade down the sides and lush green trees shade your passage.

I have done this run in a small rec. type kayak, and even my OT Loon 138, and a 17 foot aluminum canoe. Guess which "boat" didn't make it??? Yea, that's right the canoe. Couldn't keep the water out of the canoe and finally hit a spot where we had too much water, and no time between rapids to dump it out. It was a beautiful day for a swim, and we got ALMOST all our stuff back....eventually.

As always lay on your back, keep feet pointed down stream and enjoy the ride until you reach a calmer spot. The gorge is a great place to play but please respect it, or it will kill you.

Accommodations:

There are numerous stores and restraints in the area. Hotels can be found in Butler or New Castle, either way you go on 422.

Fees:

To use the park launch, you need a PA state launch permit available at near by Morraine state park for $10 a year or 18 dollars for two years. If launching outside the park boundaries, nothing is needed.

Directions:

Take the US 422 exit (Butler, New Castle) off of I-79.You see signs for McConnells Mill State Park almost immediately. Follow them on in.

Launches:

There is an actual launch behind the park office, and plenty of room to launch near any of the bridges over the creek.

Contact:

You can call McConnells Mills State park directly at 724-368-8811, or use the 1-888-PA-PARKS number for maps and info.

Resources:

The park office has trail maps which can not help show the creek, and crossing roads.


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