Paint Creek – Part 1

Walking in the Footsteps of the Scalp Level School

Paint Creek Foliage
Foliage turns as Paint Creek bends below Scalp Level

I’ve spent much time over the past several years exploring Paint Creek between Scalp Level and the Stonycreek, and have come to a much deeper appreciation of the region’s profound beauty, and of the profound talents of the Scalp Level School of artists. (Images from the Scalp Level School can be found here). This loose-knit group of 19th century artists saw and successfully exploited the natural allure of our area, and have inspired many to follow in their footsteps even today. For myself, there are several good reasons for my visiting the Paint Creek watershed so often with my camera and without.


From its Scalp Level waterfalls to its confluence with the Stonycreek, Paint Creek offers an astounding view of nature’s glory. The light just seems slightly different here from the rest of the Stonycreek-Conemaugh watershed. The shadows seem gentler, and the shades of color are of a softer palette.

It’s Close

Fifteen minutes from my back door, and I can be at the top, bottom, or midpoint of the Paint Creek Canyon. Easy to get to, though, shouldn’t be confused with easy to get through. If you’re planning to explore the entire canyon, be prepared to struggle a bit, heavy brush spring through autumn, and steep, rocky loose slopes year-round; and you will never keep your feet dry. I’ll offer maps and directions to access points in a future post.


From thundering falls and broad shallows, to deep pools and steep canyon walls, the Paint Creek watershed provides a plethora (always wanted to use that word) of wonderful and exciting views. Even the scars of the Mine 37 Boney Pile can offer a surreal and unique beauty of its own.


Below are just a handful of images from this potpourri of God’s handiwork. Expect many more to come as I work through my backlog of photos. For now, I hope you enjoy these and are, maybe, inspired to explore further this fascinating Allegheny Mountain we call home.

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