Earlier this week I walked the Northwest River Trail between Columbia and Chickies Rock. The Northwest Lancaster County River Trail follows the route of the historic Pennsylvania Main Line Canal, tracing the Susquehanna River northwest from Columbia to Falmouth. While the majority of the trail is paved, the northern segment from Bainbridge to Falmouth is largely undeveloped and best suited for walking, hiking, or mountain biking. The route now contains a trove of historic iron furnaces and building ruins, a canal lock, sections of the original towpath and canal bed, and an abandoned railroad tunnel.
Located between the boroughs of Columbia and Marietta is Chickies Rock. At over 422 acres, it is the county’s second-largest regional park. Its most notable feature is the massive outcropping of quartzite rock towering 200 feet above the river. The vista offers impressive views of York County, the borough of Marietta, and farmlands of northwestern Lancaster County.
Bike paths and walking trails now lead visitors to the sites of interest in Chickies Rock County Park. But one thing seems to run through its long history, unbidden and dark: the supernatural. Locals will agree that the view from Chickies Rock is indeed spectacular and that the history and geology of the site are interesting. But along with the beauty, science, and history are tales that encompass the mysterious: legends of curses, ghosts and strange monsters.