About Lanternman’s Falls
Lanternmans Falls (I’ve also seen it referred to as Lanternman’s Falls) was an interesting waterfall mainly due to its appearance right next to the historic Lanternman’s Mill with an attractive covered bridge further upstream. Such a juxtaposition of nature and history conjured in our minds images of Halloween for some reason, and even the name “Lanternman” seemed to fit the theme. Indeed, I couldn’t help but envision this place during twilight or the evening hours with the mill lighting up this place just enough to see the silhouette of a headless horseman riding through the covered bridge terrorizing this place that very well could pass for Sleepy Hollow (though the original setting was said to have occurred in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town roughly 25 miles north of New York City).
Imagination aside, our visit came right at the start of October during a late morning on a Sunday though the fall colors didn’t quite peak here yet (apparently we were a week or two too early or the fall colors came late). From the signposted car park for Mill Creek Park or Lanternman’s Mill (see directions below), we followed a well-defined trail alongside Mill Creek (part of the East Gorge Walk) beneath the road bridge (Canfield Road) before we immediately started to get our views of the mill and waterfall once we emerged on the other side of the bridge. A few paces further, we reached a junction where the had the option of going up the stairs to the bridge spanning Mill Creek on Canfield Road or continuing the descend to Lanternman’s Mill.Going up to Canfield Road, we were able to peer down at the Lanternman’s Mill and Falls from various angles. Perhaps the most satisfying angle was towards the far end of the bridge where we also got to see the covered bridge immediately upstream from the mill and falls (see picture at the top of this page). It was a little bit nerve wracking up at the bridge due to the quantity of cars whizzing by at the same time there was a sheer drop right down into the gorge on the other side of us. Still, I figured that this was the best spot for photographs.
Going down the steps all the way to the bottom brought us face-to-face with the entrance to Lanternman’s Mill. There were a few display items showing some grinding stones or wheels outside, but we had to pay $2 to tour the inside of the mill itself which was said to still be in operation like it had been back when it was first built in 1845-1846 by German Lanternman and Samuel Kimberly. The mill used the power of Mill Creek to grind corn, wheat, and buckwheat. There was a trail going further downstream towards the Canfield Rd bridge where it dead-ended at yet another lookout peering back towards Lanternmans Falls and Mill at an angle near the creek level. There were also some gorge walls here hinting at the geological forces allowing for this 15-20ft waterfall to be possible.
Walking further upstream to the left of the mill, there was a restroom facility as well as a viewing area adjacent to the mill allowing us to view Lantermans Falls from its brink. As we walked a little further upstream, that was where we saw the attractive covered bridge spanning Mill Creek. The trails continued both further downstream as well as across the creek, but the bridge was our turnaround point. Nevertheless, we saw many locals on their morning jogs so I’d imagine this was a popular park for Youngstown residents looking to chill or for a bit of exercise.
Overall, we spent about 50 minutes away from the car. Even though this waterfall lacked the size of some of the more impressive ones we had seen on our Great Lakes trip in 2015, Julie and I agreed that this waterfall definitely had that historical charm that was quite uncommon, especially when you consider that it was pretty much in the suburbs of the well-developed Youngstown, Ohio.
We based ourselves in Cleveland, which seemed to be a pretty central location to do a mix of city stuff as well as the waterfalling excursions in its surroundings. If we were to drive to Lanternmans Falls directly from Cleveland, we would go south on the I-77 for about 17 miles to the I-80 (Ohio Turnpike toll road) heading east. We would then drive
about 52 miles east on the I-80 eventually merging onto the I-680 south. Next, we would follow the I-680 south for a little over the next 5 miles before leaving the freeway on exit 5 to High Street.
We would then continue on High Street for about 0.3 miles to Glenwood Ave. Turning left onto Glenwood Ave, we would drive south for about 2 miles before turning right onto Canfield Rd (Route 625). After another 0.5 miles on Canfield Rd, we would then turn right onto Cohasset Dr (there’s a sign here indicating Lanternman’s Mill and Covered Bridge), where after some 400ft, we would see the car park for Lanternman’s Mill.
We actually drove to Mill Creek Park from Paine Falls. The route we took from the Paine Falls Metropark followed Paine Rd south for just under 4 miles (becoming Brakeman Rd along the way) before we turned left onto Route 86 (Painesville-Warren Rd). We then followed the Route 86 for a little over 15 miles before making another left onto the US Highway 322. We then followed the Hwy 322 east for about 11.5 miles to the Ohio State Hwy 11.
We then drove south on the Hwy 11 for about 26 miles before transitioning onto the Hwy 711. After about 3.3 miles on the Hwy 711, we then interchanged onto the I-680, where we then drove for about 2 miles to the exit 5 onto High Street. Once we got onto High Street, we then followed the directions as stated above to reach the Mill Creek Park. Overall, our drive between Paine Falls and Lanternmans Falls took about an hour and 15 minutes. I’m sure this drive would be comparable in duration for the route straight from Cleveland to Youngstown then to the waterfall.
For some additional geographical context, Cleveland, Ohio was 39 miles (under an hour drive) north of Akron, Ohio, 169 miles (over 2.5 hours drive) south and east of Detroit, Michigan, 133 miles (over 2 hours drive) northwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and 142 miles (over 2 hours drive) north of Columbus, Ohio.
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