Exploring Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park

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Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill in Lawrence County Pennsylvania

Alpha Falls is a 35 foot tall waterfall in the far northeast corner of McConnells Mill State Park, Lawrence County, PA.

Because Alpha Falls is located on a diminutive, unnamed tributary of Slippery Rock Creek, it doesn’t always flow well.

In fact, the stream on which Alpha Falls resides is so small, you may mistake it for a roadside drainage ditch!

Alpha Pass at McConnells Mill State Park
Alpha Pass at McConnells Mill State Park, and the small unnamed stream that feeds Alpha Falls.

But when rain or snowmelt is plentiful, Alpha Falls it’s certainly worth the 5 minute hike to see it.


Exploring Alpha Falls

Map to Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park
Map to Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park

Time needed: 5 minutes.

How to Find Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park

  1. Turn off of Route 422 onto McConnells Mill Road and proceed 0.5 miles to a parking lot on right side of the road.
    GPS coordinates for Alpha Falls parking area: 40.96028, -80.16883

    Alpha Falls parking area at McConnells Mill State Park

  2. From the left side of the parking lot follow the blue-blazed North Country Trail.

    The North Country Trail at McConnells Mill State Park

  3. In 20 yards descend staircase.

    Staircase on the North Country Trail near Alpha Falls.

  4. At the bottom of the second staircase, follow an obvious but unblazed spur trail to your right.

    The Alpha Falls Trail at McConnells Mill State Park

  5. Continue on the unblazed trail for approximately 90 yards, crossing a small footbridge along the way.

    Bridge on the Alpha Falls Trail at McConnells Mill State Park

  6. Arrive at base of Alpha Falls.
    GPS coordinates for Alpha Falls: 40.96056, -80.16915

    Rusty Glessner at Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park


Finding the Best Views of Alpha Falls

Despite the fact that the official park map indicates a scenic view from the top of Alpha Falls, there really isn’t anything to see from that vantage point.

Fence at the top of Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park.
Fence at the top of Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park.

The view from below is what you seek.

And if you’re lucky, your visit will coincide with a”wet period” and you’ll get to see something resembling the photo below.

Alpha Falls at McCOnnells Mill State Park in Lawrence County PA
Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park in Lawrence County, PA.

Winter is when Alpha Falls really shines, in my opinion.

Ice formations at Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park
Ice formations at Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park

I’ve seen some amazing ice formations both on the falls and along the Alpha Falls Trail itself.

Ice formations along the Alpha Falls Trail at McConnells Mill State Park.
Ice formations along the Alpha Falls Trail at McConnells Mill State Park.

There are even periods where the falls are literally encased in ice.

Alpha Falls frozen in ice at McConnells Mill State Park
A frozen-over Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park.

Of course you’ll want to make sure to wear some kind of microspikes on your shoes to safely explore Alpha Falls in these conditions.

Snow and ice at Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park.
Snow and ice at Alpha Falls at McConnells Mill State Park.

Alpha Falls can be hit or miss, but the small amount of time required to investigate makes it a worthwhile pitstop when in the area.


Nearby Attractions

Hell’s Hollow Falls is probably the most popular waterfall at McConnells Mill State Park.

The author at Hell's Hollow Falls.
The author at Hell’s Hollow Falls.

And just a few minutes drive from Hell’s Hollow you also have Grindstone Falls – a waterfall within the McConnells Mill State Park boundaries but not featured on the “official” park map.

The author visiting Grindstone Falls.
The author visiting Grindstone Falls.

Be sure to check out 6 Must-See Attractions at McConnells Mill State Park for more adventure ideas!

McConnells Mill and Covered Bridge at McConnells Mill State Park.
McConnells Mill and Covered Bridge at McConnells Mill State Park.


Looking for More Western Pennsylvania Waterfalls?

Freedom Falls is approximately 45 minutes to the north in Venango County.

Freedom Falls along Rockland Station Road in Venango County.
Freedom Falls along Rockland Station Road in Venango County.

Rapp Run Falls is also to the north in Clarion County.

Rapp Run Falls in Clarion County PA
Rapp Run Falls in Clarion County, Pennsylvania.

And Logan Falls lies to the north in Forest County.

Logan Falls near Marienville Pennsylvania
Logan Falls near Marienville in Forest County, Pennsylvania.

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