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Bilger's Rocks Revisited: Autumn Edition

Bilger's Rocks is an awesome place to explore. We got the chance this past fall to check it out again. It is just a tad out of the way to include en route for the trips we usually take, so we do not get to it often, but it is close enough to Pittsburgh that you can get there for a nice two hour ride each way to spend a fine and relaxing afternoon. This stunning rock city is a labyrinth of giant sandstone boulders, with crevasses, tunnels, and edges with abrupt 30 foot drops. 

This is a place that you need to exercise extreme caution, because you really could get hurt pretty easily here. 

One of the aspects that also makes this place really impressive is that it is a privately owned property as opposed to an open access publicly owned spot. This distinction is impressive and pretty rare. Profit motive tends to keep these types of places from being run as privately owned places. On the edges of the rock formations, there are areas with camping opportunities and group recreation spots, with a small amphitheater, concession stand, and picnic pavilions. To see the community take a stake in access to this spot for the public is something that is both unique and impressive. 

Autumn is especially impressive at Bilger's Rocks. While most of the trees are evergreen, the hardwoods that do exist here turn impressive colors, and when the leaves fall, the tops of the boulders and crevasses have leaf cover that looks so awesome. 

In addition to the color of the rocks and the moss and ferns that grow on them, the color contrasts are so stark and so beautiful. The little caves within the rock crevasses also hold the cold air in, allowing for a really cool experience with fluctuations in temps. 

I will say that there has never been a giant boulder formation that I've come across that I have not liked. The ones that immediately come to mind are Wolf and Beam Rocks, perched atop a a large mountain summit, and the formations around Hector Falls. Unlike those places, there is almost no direct clue that such a massive rock formation is in this spot. At the start of the area of the boulders, you see a few giant rocks. As soon as you walk into the rocks, you see why this place is so special. You essentially walk into a labyrinth maze within the boulders, with passageways, tunnels, crevices, quick drop offs, quick rushes of chilly air from between rocks, and more.
A map of the premises.
The view as you approach the rocks. Certainly looks pretty cool.
Lots of big rocks as you approach.
I always love seeing trees growing in rocky areas.
And into the labyrinth!
Getting deeper into the rocks
More tunnels. As you get into this area, you feel random rushes of cold air breeze through the crevices. 
The rocks start to steadily get higher up around you as you go into the formation.
I love seeing the way trees adapt to growing over boulders. The resiliency of trees is always so impressive. 
Moving further into the chasm.
And then you turn and you end up in what looks like you have just stepped into the Coliseum. Ok, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is absolutely huge. Relatively enormous compared to the rest of the formation. If venturing around in and around these rocks, make sure you do keep an eye on your feet, because this pit opens up even more suddenly on the top level of the rocks. I approached from the lower level of the rocks. I went to the top and from up there, you could not tell there was going to be a huge drop off until just a few feet beforehand. It makes for thrilling adventures, you just need to be vigilant. 
I did a little bit of bouldering up this crevice to get to the top level. 
The air coming out of this mini cave was ice cold.
Atop the boulders. 

The view of the labyrinth from above
Be sure to check out Bilger's Rocks if you enjoy rock outcroppings. It is a pretty cool place to check out. In addition to the rocks, picnic grounds, a campground, and more are located at the site. The private association that manages the location also holds events around the grounds.
Coordinates: 40.9937° N, 78.5931° W

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