After finishing a dog agility trial at the Wellness Center in Niles, Ohio, I decided to take the dogs for a walk. We went to Mill Creek MetroParks in Youngstown, about 10 miles away. The park consists of 4,400 acres, with 15 miles of foot trails and 20 miles of road trails. The landscape includes a variety of bridges, ponds, streams, well-tended gardens, boardwalks, rugged walking paths, a huge gorge, and waterfalls.
One of the most popular spots in the park is Lantermans Mill, located at 1001 Canfield Rd, Youngstown, OH 44511. This is a still-functioning water mill that grinds flour, corn and buckwheat the old fashioned way. Next to the mill are natural waterfalls, the reason the first mill was originally built there in 1799. The building as it stands was built in 1845-46 and restored in 1982-1984. Although I did not have time to take the tour, someday I would like to. I did take plenty of pictures!
The East Gorge Trail
Just behind Lantermans Mill is the trailhead for the East Gorge Trail. This spectacular trail traverses the gorge about half a mile to a suspension bridge, winding along the creek (more like a river) on one side, with towering sandstone cliffs on the other.
The first part of the bridge is a boardwalk, and many people opt to go only that far and turn back when it becomes dirt. We kept going since it was so beautiful. It had rained about an hour before we set out, so there was water still dripping down the cliffs. There was one part where we couldn’t cross without getting a shower.
We saw some wildlife – Mallard ducks with several small ducklings and also a heron. Part of the trail went down close to the creek too, so I let the dogs wade in and cool off – still on leash as the current was quite strong. There were numerous spots with rapids and large boulders to sit on, as well as greenery enveloping the trail and gracing the sandstone.
Caught in a thunderstorm
About halfway down the trail, I was hoping it wasn’t thunder I heard getting closer, but it was. We weathered the storm under a large tree branch and stayed relatively dry, but got very wet after we started out again as the trees were still dripping with rain.
The trail meets the road a ways before reaching a suspension bridge and we figured as long as we came that far, we were going to walk the extra way to find it. That was quite special too.
One can cross the bridge and follow another trail back, but the dogs and I decided to take the road back since we were drenched and trail was getting muddy with puddles too large to cross without getting soaked. I was also advised that the trail back on the other side was steeper with more climbing challenges such as rocks and tree roots. I assumed it was quite slippery after the rain too.
We saw two large deer crossing the road on the way back, not 50 yards away. They were oh so curious about us, and the dogs were oh so curious about them! It was a very beautiful walk and I’d recommend it to anyone visiting the area. There are many other trails too, and I hope to revisit this place to explore those too. Dogs are welcome anywhere in the park except in the buildings.