Freedom Falls along Rockland Station Road in Kennerdell

Freedom Falls along Rockland Station Road in Kennerdell

After a not so long hike down the hill you will find your way to the falls, looking down over Shull Run. The views from here are pretty great, but if you have your mind set to see the base, then the path gets even steeper and is more like a mis-mashed staircase of rocks, loose dirt, and more tree roots. It's not difficult to descend, but it's no state park walkway for sure!

Falls Info:

Parking: There is parking available along Rockland Station Road, but I must admit, some of the parking spots are best described as sketchy. Rockland Station Road is barely a two lane dirt road with a pretty good slope, and the parking spaces seem to hang on to the edge of the road. People do manage to find a place to park, as I’ve seen more then ten cars perched in various angles and configurations.

Directions on PCs: Locate the Google map below the search box on the right-hand side of this webpage. Click “Get Directions” on the map pin details.

Directions on Tablets and Mobile Phones: Locate the Google map near the bottom of this page, just below the search box. Click “Get Directions” on the map pin details.

Parking along Rockland Station Road

The slope is pretty steep as the path leads from Rockland Station Road down to the falls. There is no official path, rather a series of interconnecting paths that seem to lead in the same direction. So long as you choose a well worn path that slopes downward you will find yourself pretty close to the falls.

Crude map of trails

Since this isn’t an official park and there are no signs or placards to glean information, I made a map approximating the different main paths and there rough locations. The yellow paths are fairly gentle slopes, with orange and red being more challenging. Shull run flows through the center, with the cut in the woods to the left being Rockland Station Road. The furnace remnants are roughly at the end of the yellow line where it meets Shull Run.

Path from one of the parking spaces down to the falls

The path isn’t for everyone, with large rocks and lots of tree roots all over the trails, but it’s not as forbidding as some trails I’ve seen elsewhere. Just use caution and take your time.

After a not so long hike down the hill you will find your way to the falls, looking down over Shull Run. The views from here are pretty great, but if you have your mind set to see the base, then the path gets even steeper and is more like a mis-mashed staircase of rocks, loose dirt, and more tree roots. It’s not difficult to descend, but it’s no state park walkway for sure!

Freedom Falls from above

There are no safety features what-so-ever, so please use caution if your bringing children with you, and watch out for slippery rocks, particularly near the edges.

Looking over the falls

On the right edge of the photo above you can get an idea of the “walkway” down to the base of the falls. Again, this is more of a crowdsourced well worn set of paths then a singular trail.

Just before the falls, Shull run is flat and fairly calm, with lots of rocks that have spread out wider then the current flow, hinting at waters that occasionally run much deeper, and much faster.

Freedom Falls from below during a dry period.
Typical water flow over Freedom Falls

From the base of the falls you can take a dip in the very cool waters, but the area is not typically big or deep enough to actually swim in.

A close up of the rock layers and a trickle of water.

The water at the base of the falls ranges in color from browns to greens, highlighted with the suns rays and shadows of trees above.

Shull Run with the Rockland Furnace in the background

Just down stream within a few minutes walk is the remnants of the Rockland Furnace, where Iron was produced until the 1850s.

Snake sunning on river debris

While your poking around, if you find your self near wooden river debris, keep an eye out for snakes like the one shown above. I believe this is a Eastern Milk snake, but it could also be a Northern Water snake. Neither is venomous. I spotted this one in 2019 about halfway between the falls and the furnace along the bank of Shull Run.

Rockland Furnace

The Rockland Furnace is in excellent shape, with few hints of collapsing any time soon. The rocks all appear to remain well placed to hold their shape for some time.

Unofficial Trail to the Rockland Furnace.

There is a series of walkways that run down from the parking area along Shull run. While there are many steep walkways down to the furnace, there are a few longer paths that follow a more gentle slope. The paths are clearly visible and well worn even though they are maintained only by foot traffic. I’ve included a crude map at the top of this post.

At the base of the furnace, there is a small opening into the center of the stone furnace.

Going into the furnace tower

If you get close to the opening, it’s apparent that there is enough room to climb inside, thought I can’t recommend that you do so.

Outer and Inner walls of the furnace

The rocks that form an “entrance” don’t inspire a lot of confidence, but the inner wall appears to be quite sturdy. Have a look if you must, but don’t blame me if anything bad happens, I took a picture so you wouldn’t have to wonder what it looks like inside:

Looking up from the inside of the Rockland Furnace Tower

There really isn’t a lot to see in the center, other then what it must feel like to be looking up from the base of a well as your waiting for Lassy to get help.

“Wheel Race” at Rockland Furnace

Next to the furnace there are clearly defined water ways made out of rock that once helped direct the flow of water used at the furnace works. You can see the falls in the background, not far up the creek.

Freedom Falls is great place to stop by and cool down on a hot day. The trees shade the valley and the water is nice and cool.

Just down the road you might want to stop and check out the Rockland (Woodhill) tunnel that forms part of the Allegheny River Trail as well as part of the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail.

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