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3.06.2016

Freedom Falls, Rockland Furnace, and Rockland Tunnel, Rockland, PA, Venango County

Today we visit Freedom Falls, Rockland Furnace, and the Rockland Tunnel, in Rockland, PA, Venango County. On this visit a few weeks ago, the falls were almost completely frozen. 
Freedom Falls
Coordinates: 41.236666 N 79.7465 W

Follow Rockland Station Road to this giant boulder. You will see a pretty worn path to get to the falls. The falls can't be more than 500 feet from this location. You must be careful though, the hill heading down to the falls is pretty steep. Be sure to practice safe hiking if you visit these falls.
Except for just a small section, the falls appeared to be frozen through.
These falls are roughly 25 feet tall, and stunningly similar to Springfield Falls, about 40 miles west.
Now heading to the perfectly preserved Rockland Furnace. 
Trees growing in the old stone work.
This is one of hundreds of furnaces that litters the landscape around Pennsylvania. This twenty-five foot tall furnace is in perfect condition



The furnace is actually open for entrance in this one section. I would definitely recommend using caution around this furnace. It did not seem particularly stable, but all I have to say is wow, this furnace is awesome.
Definitely does not seem particularly stable

But wow! What a view!
Now down to the Allegheny River Trail to visit one of the three abandoned Allegheny Valley Railroad Tunnels, the Rockland Tunnel, just a half mile down the road from the waterfall and furnace.
This is one of the three former Allegheny Valley Railroad Tunnels. This one, Brady Bend, and Kennerdell Tunnels were built from 1915-1916 when the Pennsylvania Railroad worked to straighten out the line that ran from Pittsburgh to Buffalo.
The Rockland Tunnel measures in at 2868 feet and it bypassed four miles of rail through this twisted section of the Allegheny River. It is currently open and utilized for the Allegheny River Trail
It seemed to be mostly watertight on this end of the tunnel, so I opted to enter.
This was the single icicle on this end of the tunnel.
They must be so proud!

There was some logging happening around the tunnel area.
Back to the tunnel again. Here are the drippings from that icicle.
 
Deeper into the darkness
Looking dry so far. Notice the little hole in the side of the tunnel. These cutouts were for workers to crouch into.
There's light at the end of the tunnel, though I am seeing some obstruction. Gotta keep an eye out!
The other end of the tunnel is not so watertight, so I kept a distance.
Light through giant icicles makes for a pretty awesome sight
Now heading back to the clear end of the tunnel.
Getting closer!

Almost there!
I love these old tunnels
And seeing the way the ends of the tunnels emanate light into total darkness is always something to see.
There are a number of cool things to explore within the immediate area of the Rockland area that I recommend checking out.


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