Posted in Hiking, Northeastern Ohio, Ohio Industrial History, Park review

Mill Creek Park: Lanterman’s Mill and Mill Creek Gorge

Mill Creek Park occupies 2,882 acres in Mahoning County. It is a green oasis bordering Mill Creek in the midst of the Youngstown metro-area. Lanterman’s Mill is located within Mill Creek Park. The mill is a fully-operational historic grist mill. Nearby the mill is a waterfall, a covered bridged, and trails that will take you along both sides of the gorge created by the creek. It was a sunny September day when we visited the park, perfect for hiking and seeing the sights.

Lanterman’s Mill.

Lanterman’s Mill

The parking area is located off of East Park Drive (see address and map link at the end of the article). From the parking lot, we followed the trail under the Canfield Road bridge and caught sight of the 23-foot high waterfall that is next to Lanterman’s Mill. To 19th century Americans, waterfalls were a source of cheap, mechanical power. By re-directing some of the water above the falls over a water wheel, they were able to use a system of gears to capture that power for a variety of applications, such as grinding grains into flour, or sawing logs into lumber.

A succession of mills were built on the site of the Mill Creek waterfall starting in 1799. Lanterman’s Mill; the third mill on the site, was built in 1845-1846. The mill remained in operation grinding flour until 1888. After it ceased operation, the condition of the mill deteriorated. The Mill Creek MetroPark System eventually acquired the property, and in 1982, the Ward and Florence Beecher Foundation provided funding to restore the mill. The restoration was completed in 1984, and the mill is now fully operational.

For a small fee, a local guide will explain the mill’s operation and history, after which you can explore the interior of the mill. In addition you can purchase corn, wheat, and buckwheat flour that was ground at the mill in the mill’s gift shop. If you want to tour the mill, please check the Lanterman’s Mill link near the bottom of this article, since the mill is only open on certain days and times.

From the observation deck, this is a view of the Canfield Rd. bridge with a bit of the mill showing to the right.
Lanterman’s Mill was built by German Lanterman and Samuel Kimberly in 1845-1846. It was restored from 1982 through 1984 the the Ward and Florence Beecher Foundations.
To reach the trail head for the East Gorge Boardwalk, walk past the front of the mill, toward the Canfield Rd. bridge.
Inside the mill a volunteer guide discusses both the history of the mill and technical aspects of the mill’s operation.
Inside the mill, looking down at the water wheel.
Inside the mill, looking at the water wheel from the side.
A wooden carving of a raccoon with a bag of flour.
Inside the mill, there were bins to store a variety of flours.
Interior of the mill
Man-made falls just above the natural falls.
The Covered Bridge

Upstream of the mill is a wooden covered bridge spanning Mill Creek. The bridge built in 1989 is a recreation of a bridge used to carry wagon loads of grain to the mill in the 19th century.

Covered bridge near Lanterman’s Mill
Inside the covered bridge near Lanterman’s Mill
Hiking the Gorge

After viewing the covered bridge we headed back past the mill and under the Canfield Road bridge to hike the Mill Creek Gorge Trail. The trail is a scenic 2 mile loop that takes you along both sides of Mill Creek. The trail offers views of cliff face and glimpses of the creek below. We began at the mill and walked northward along the East Gorge Boardwalk till we reached the Suspension Bridge. The Mill Creek Suspension Bridge is a steel bridge with elaborate arches and spires originally built in 1895. It was in re-built in 2007 by the Dot Construction Corp. After crossing the Suspension Bridge we headed southward along the West Gorge Trail, crossing the creek once again at the Covered Bridge.

Below I have included an excerpt of the park’s map, highlighting our hike in yellow.

I traced our hike in yellow on this map. The trailhead is under the Canfield Rd. bridge near the mill. Follow the East Gorge Boardwalk, cross the creek at the Suspension Bridge, and return on the West Gorge trail, crossing the creek at the covered bridge.
This is the Canfield Rd. bridge. The East Gorge Boardwalk begin underneath it on the right-hand side.
The trail head for the East Gorge Boardwalk is under the Canfield Rd. bridge.
The East Gorge Boardwalk has stairs at various places.
The East Gorge Boardwalk
The East Gorge Boardwalk passing near a rocky overhang
The East Gorge Boardwalk
The East Gorge Boardwalk

The boardwalk ends some ways before you reach the Suspension Bridge. For a while you have to walk along this road next to a manicured park lawn that’s also has picnic tables.

We followed along this road till we reached the Suspension Bridge and crossed to the West Gorge Trail.
To get to the West Gorge Trail, cross the Suspension Bridge.
West Gorge Trail – passing by a cliff
Someone strategically placed a leaf to allow the spring water to run free from the cliff.
Looking up at one of the cliffs.
The West Gorge foot path also goes near areas of exposed bedrock, like this overhang.
View of the creek from the West Gorge Trail.
Another view of the creek from the West Gorge Trail
Duck enjoying the creek. The greenish bill makes me think it’s a black duck, but the light-colored breast makes it seem like a mallard.

We really enjoyed the hike, especially the boardwalk and the gorge cliffs.

Additional information

  • Address: 1001 Canfield Rd. (SR 62) Youngstown, Ohio 44511
  • Phone: (330) 740-7115
  • GPS Coordinates (for parking lot): 41.0675533, -80.6838199
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions for the parking lot

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© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

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