My 1965 photograph published in the Valley News
To prevent SPAMMERS from harvesting my new address,
please click on the E-mail link and add LEE to the address
My Home Page
First visit to falls: Spring, 1965 - Web page online since May, 1996 - Updated: Nov. 2009
I'll be glad to mail you at no charge a CD with all my high resolution pictures.
Books about Jackson
2011 A Penn State Ecologist Hikes Rock Furnace Trail - pdf file
Photos - Karen Wetmore
Greg Walker Studios
Beyond the Blacktop - 3 Photos
Caution: Details Several species of ticks live in this part of Pennsylvania.
They are most active in the late spring to early fall. The tiny deer tick can transmit Lyme Disease and other illnesses, so you should try to avoid brushy areas or leaf litter where these ticks may be abundant. Wear long pants and sleeves and check your skin and clothes frequently for ticks. Use an appropriate insect repellent containing DEET. Shower soon after being outdoors, which helps wash off unattached ticks and is a good opportunity to check for attached ticks.
If bitten, immediately remove the tick carefully with "fine-tipped tweezers" or "tick removal tool".
The CDC is not telling the correct story about Lyme Disease
Beauty of Jackson Falls Destroyed by Loggers!
On March 24, 2004 we took a friend to see the beauty of the falls. Instead what we found was total devastation! Logging roads have been bulldozed on both sides of the valley and every decent sized tree freshly cut. Only a small portion of each tree was taken and the remains litter the ground and block the trails.
||With the temperatures in the 80s, it
was a perfect day for our annual pilgrimage. The logged out
area around the upper falls is now covered with weeds. This three
year old growth hides the damage to the woods but there are few place to
spread a blanket for a picnic. It is so over grown that it is easy to miss
the trail to the second falls. We were encourage to see at least
four other couples enjoying the area.
Someone has made improvements to the dam for the swimming hole
below the Upper Falls. We were told that a local church now uses it
Winter Photo by R. C. From Leachburg
Great Waterfalls . COM - Very nice pictures!
Schaeffer Family Photos from the 1920-1930
Upper Falls in flood and the Middle Falls in Winter taken by My Aunt Ruth Fresch.
Lower Falls taken by my Aunt Ruth
Roaring Run at Rock Furnace
Two Views of the Middle Falls
Schaeffer Family Outing
Fresch Family Photo - I think the second from the left is my father.
Notice that the area appears to be totally over cut.
Were these two pictures taken on the same day?
Upper Falls in Winter
Lower Falls Middle Falls
Pictures I had published in the Valley News in 1965 - Very dry summer.
Second Falls -- Photo by Warren Hilemann - July 2000
Second Falls - about 30' high
Third Falls (lower) That are seldom Seen
Picture was taken by a "Geocacher"
Geocaching is a new hobby using your GPS receiver to find hidden treasures.
See more below.
This picture of the Third Falls was taken by another "Geocacher"
Photos by Randy Steele - Slide
More Pictures and Information About the Falls
Mountain Bikeing YouVideo on Roaring Run Trail - Still Pictures
Another YouTube Biker
Located a few miles outside the small town of Apollo
was once one of the most beautiful glades in western Pennsylvania.
Through it flows two stream of the Kiski-Conemaugh
The main stream is "Roaring Run" and has been developed by the "Roaring Run Water Shed Association" into a hiking and recreational area. The falls are located on the north branch of the stream and is shown on many maps as "Rattling Run". However, many old timers including my father said its name should be "Jackson's Run"
See my other "labor of love" about another wonderful spot, Camp Michaux.
The first of the three falls is the smallest.
On hot July days, my father, his brothers and friends hiked the few miles from town to skinny dip in the cool, deep pool they made by damming the stream at the First (upper) falls.
The stream flows down a series of rapids...
The Second Falls (middle) are best viewed from
The Third Falls is found by hiking about a half mile down a wooded trail and listening for the sounds below. These falls are vary difficult to reach due to the steep valley walls but worth the climb.
A mile or so down the trail along Jackson's Run
("Rattling Run") meets "Roaring Run" at a picnic
site. There used to be a small town here with a
boarding house for the iron workers. Following the trail down the
stream and just before the river you will find the historic Old Rock
Furnace also known as Biddle
See if you can find the old town well behind a tree on the east side of the road about halfway between the intersection of the Rattling Run and Roaring Run trails and the bridge over Roaring Run.
Date Built: ca. 1825
Beauty of Roaring Run by Ray Muth
Directions to Birding Areas & Birding Hotspots
See more pictures of the river at The Apollo National Bank
How the area is being preserved for all of us to enjoy is
the subject of
Ordinary folks, Extraordinary effort by By CYNTHIA VENTURINI
Jackson's Falls is located at FALLS on map
MapQuest or Yahoo! Maps
(Find the driving directions from your town to Apollo, PA )
Watershead Association Maps
TeraServer Arial View
40° 33' 55"N, - 79° 31' 39"W - VANDERGRIFT quad topo map.
Use your GPS to find the falls
(These are a fantastic resource for anyone who likes maps!)
Be sure to take a trash bag
with you and pick up whatever trash you find along the way.
On SR# 2051 just south of the intersection with SR#2050, you will see sign for the "KISKI TOWNSHIP Maintenance and Police". Drive past the maintenance center and jut before the top of the hill is a place to park on the right side of the road. (Ignore the "No Trespassing" sign. The Twp Police told me it is OK to park there.) Hike down the road and you will see a trail leading down to the falls the upper falls. When you enter the woods, there is a path running on the bluff above the stream. The follow it to the right to the first falls and left for the second and third falls.
The Roaring Run trail can also be accessed by continuing past the maintenance building for about 1/2 mile until you see a dirt road leading off to the right. This road is gated but you can park there and hike down Roaring Run to the picnic area at the confluence of the two streams. You can "rock hop" up to the lower falls on Jacksons Run and hike up the trail on your right to the other two upper falls. Once you are at the Upper Falls, it is quicker to cross the field to the road and walk back down hill to your car.
You can also reach the lower end of Roaring Run where it enters the river. From Pittsburgh, follow Rt. 22 to Rt. 66. Take Rt. 66 north to Apollo. Turn right onto Kiski Avenue immediately after crossing the Kiskiminetas River and entering town. Follow trail signs on Kiski Avenue for 0.8 mile to where it forks into Canal Street and Cherry Lane. Follow Canal Street, the right fork, for 0.4 mile to the trail parking area. The parking lot has a Porta-Potty for hikers and bikers.
GPS of the lot is N 40 33.862, W -79 33.568. The old railway bed was built on top of the old Pennsylvania Canal and passes through one of the stone canal locks. The canal, which ran from
Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, operated from 1827 through 1850. Along the way are outcroppings where iron ore was mined. Follow the walking path and make a left just before the bridge where a gas well access road leads up the Roaring Run ravine trail.
Biddle (aka Rock) - James W. Biddle built this furnace in 1825 along Roaring Run in Kiskiminetas Township. It went into blast on Christmas day. The venture was not successful, and the furnace changed hands several times before it went out of blast permanently in 1855. A little of each side is standing. Much slag abounds. A huge rock overhangs the road beside the furnace.
From the center of Apollo go E on PA56 to Pennsylvania Avenue and turn right. This becomes Old State Road (SR2046). At 1.4 miles 40º 34.711'N - 79º 32.547'W take Jackson Road (SR2050) to the right. This road leads to another road, Brownstown Road (SR2051), 40º 34.305'N - 79º 31.584'W. Go right on this road past the Kiski Twp. Maintenance and Police center on the right side of the road. Beyond this and just before the top of the hill you will find a place to park on the right side of the road. (Ignore the no trespassing sign. The Township police have said it is OK to park there) You may hike down the road and you will see a trail leading down to the Upper Falls on Rattling Run. When you enter the woods, there is a path running along the bluff above the stream. This will take you to the beautiful upper falls on Rattling Run.
However, to get to Biddle Furnace continue past the parking spot on Brownstown road to a gated entry on the right 40º 33.902'N - 79º 31.079'W. Park here. Walk the old gated road for about 1/2 to 5/8 mile paralleling Roaring Run to the bridge over the run. 40º 33.641'N - 79º 31.646'W. Continue up the road on the south side of Roaring Run to the big rock on the left.
GPS Coordinates 40º 33.541'N - 79º 31.731'W.
The road fords Roaring Run below Rock Furnace so be prepared with waterproof boots or spare shoes.
Details of the trail which is maintained by the Roaring Run Watershed Association.
Bike Trail Details TRAIL USE RULES
There is a Geocach located near the falls. Judy and I found it the last time we were there and left some picture CDs of the falls. The Geocaching Web site has directions, pictures and comments from people who have found the cache. If these links don't work, go to the Geocache home page and enter the Apollo Zip Code - 15613
- The Happy Cache at Jackson Falls - by Phototreker and Merowl
- Gallary of Pictures - Pictures featured on the page above
- Geocache seach page - Find the caches near your home
A lovely hike in the Roaring Run Watershed near Apollo, PA.
The best place to start hiking is at a small parking area at a green gated road. There is room for 2 to 3 cars. It can be muddy. The coordinates for this parking spot are N 40 33.890 - W 79 31.074. Please don't cut across the field near the police & road department buildings. It's posted.
(These directions are for going down the Roaring Run road and then back up Rattling Run)
The hike in is very scenic, paralleling Roaring Run. The trail branches where Rattling Run joins Roaring Run. Rattling Run has 3 impressive waterfalls along its course.
For the lower falls, stay on the low trail & rock hop to the falls at N 40 33.773 - W 79 31.651.
The second falls are located up the higher trail. N 40 33.918 - W 79 31.607
The Upper falls are located up the higher trail. N 40 34.017 - W 79 31.627
This area is also home to the historic Biddle (Rock) Iron Furnace. It was in operation from 1825 to 1852. It's ruins are located right across the trail from the gigantic Camel rock (well worth the short hike) It's coordinates are N 40 33.584 - W 79 31.709.
The Kiski Bike Trail can be an alternate starting point for a longer hike.
It's parking area is N 40 33.862 - W 79 33.568.
| Hey Lee!, how ya doing this fine day?...I
was just visiting your page at Jackson falls !...I grew up in Apollo and
Vandergrift. We had many, many, keg parties at Jackson falls and Roaring
Run! One night the cops raided us and I had to run, and ended up walking
the whole way down the creek to the Kiskiminatis river, and on to
Vandergrift, barefoot because the cops threw my shoes and shirt in the
campfire, when everyone ran! I was only about 17 years old then.
I noticed my friend Todd Davidson contacted you too! He did grow up in Brownstown, just up over the hill. He has 7 brothers and 6 sisters. They were kinda poor and lived everywhere! But all his family are my best friends to this day and his brothers informally adopted me!
We are all musicians and we used to pick guitar around many campfires. At the end of the creek, down river about a 1/2 mile there are three caves where they used to grow mushrooms there. Many years ago, them acoustic guitars sounded great in there!
Just above Camel Rock way up the hill is another rock, even larger, its over hang forms a sorta cave...great place to camp.
Well you have a good one!, And blow the froth of a few for me!
Great web page. Many happy hours I spent there in the 1930s. Our seventh/eighth grade teacher, Mr. Knepshield (Colonel) used to take the classes on a hike to Jackson's on the last day of school. I always called Rattling Run, Jackson's Run since it was on the property settled by my family in the 1700s. There are still Jackson's living just up the road from the falls.
I have been wanting to take a hike up there before I get too old to do it. I am hoping to get my son and grandson to go along, since it is a part of their history also. We have lived in Mercer County for over fifty years, but Jackson's Hollow and all the swimming holes are forever memories.
When your father was my
parent's pastor, there were a lot of Jackson's in that church also. I
grew up in that church and it is a pain in the heart every time I see it
sitting mostly unused. Anyone who grew up in Apollo in the 30s or 40s
remember Mr. Knepshield. His name was Blaine, but his students called
him "Colonel." Not to his face, of course. I remember your
father's family when they were living on Grove Street. I have told a lot
of my friends who no longer live in Apollo about your web page, so I
imagine you will be getting more hits. Your family will remember Jake
Jackson as my father.
You might also ask other people about the huge rock near where the two streams join, we used to call it Camel Back and had many good times climbing on it and keeping warm with fires we built under it in what we called the cave.I am surprised that there was no mention of the blue holy that was just below the joining of the two streams.
I was born on the old star route where Saxions store once stood, after that it was known as Lyons store. My grandfather worked in the Apollo Steel mill for many years and I attended the Kiski school on the old Star Route. I now live in Sea Girt N.J. and have for many years , But I still enjoy thinking about the good times I had at Jacksons falls.
Hope to hear from you.
Hi, I just wanted to say that I've been going to Jackson Falls since high school and it's one of most relaxing places I've seen in the country. You did a great job on the website and I have to agree with you that the best view of the large falls is from the bottom (preferably with the water falling directly on your head.)
Wow. What a site. (laughter) I'm stunned! Seriously.
I was browsing the web and lo and behold there was Jackson Falls. I have nothing but fond memories of them, the trail and the woods that surround them. I have a special place in my heart for the second falls. It was there (down below on the island) that I received Jesus into my heart. I am living in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I suspect that if I make it back to the Kiski Valley this Thanksgiving I am going to have to take a hike down the trail. Thanks for the memories!!!
The small pictures on this page were captured using a SNAPPY DIGITIZER from an 8mm video tape befor the days of digital cameras.
The larger pictures were taken in the spring of 2003-4 with a Canon A40 Digital camera.
The October 2007 pictures were taken with a Canon A630
Old black and white photographs we captured with a Canon Scanner.