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Breakneck Falls, McConnells Mill State Park

Today we take a look at Breakneck Falls at McConnells Mill State Park. This is definitely an interesting set of falls. My favorite aspect of them is shown in the first photo, the top tier of the falls, with this whirlpool action as it heads down the rock trough. 
If you wondered why this was called Breakneck Falls, I stand to guess that this is probably it. This is one abrupt ravine that the cascade waterfall appears to even struggle navigating. The gorge appears to be roughly 40 feet tall, with a series of three falls that are up to 15 feet tall. 

The abruptness of the ravine, coupled with the natural boulder outcroppings, make this an especially treacherous set of falls to check out. I love hiking and finding ways to the bottom of gorges and I will have to look into this one more to find a safe way down. I witnessed someone take a spill as they were attempting the climb out of this gorge and I opted to observe it from the top instead. A number of people were down at the bottom though. In the autumn of 2014, a woman fell and died at this waterfall. Be extremely careful when exploring this set of falls. Rappelling is prohibited here as well. In the vicinity of Breakneck and Kildoo Falls, be sure to stick to the designated trails, because these gorges are especially treacherous. 
 The lowermost of the three falls that make up Breakneck Falls.
 There is nothing like the smell of the woods right after the leaves have fallen. This is an especially relaxing spot.
 I love the huge boulders throughout the area
Here is Breakneck Bridge. It was built in the 1954. Due to the dangers of washouts and erosion in regards to the roads leading up to the bridge, the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in 1979. Prior to the construction of this bridge, a covered bridge was located on this spot. The covered bridge was removed and replaced after a deadly truck accident in this seemingly cursed location. 
 The view from the top of the bridge into the gorge.
You can see the issues that they have dealt with in keeping the road together. I am glad they have been able to shore the bridge up enough to handle pedestrian traffic.
 The view down the right-of-way of the abandoned section of Breakneck Bridge Road
 The view from the start of the abandoned section of Breakneck Bridge Road
Our next stop will be at the Cleland Rock Scenic Vista!

1 comment :

  1. Here is the only safe way to get to Breakneck Falls: Park next to Breakneck Bridge and walk down the hill (Cheeseman Rd - closed to traffic) until you get to Eckert Bridge. Instead of crossing the bridge, hop over the guard rail on the left and follow Slippery Rock Creek downstream until you get to the mouth of Cheeseman Run. As with most of the park, there's plenty of rocks to climb over with the usual hazards - proper hiking boots are required. Once you get to Cheeseman Run, you can climb up either bank to get to the falls. The right side was a bit easier of a climb and with waterproof boots, I had no issues crossing to the other side once I got to the top. It is well worth the trip, as the waterfall is a lot more massive/impressive than it appears in photos (at least when it was at the water level when I was there).

    Hope that helps out!

    James Baron


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