Ringing Rocks County Park located in Bridgeton Township, Upper Black Eddy, Bucks County, is a 128-acre park with rocks that ring when struck with a hammer. Its 7-acre, 10’ deep boulder field is in the middle of thick woodlands providing the perfect spot for an afternoon of family fun. There’s no vegetation growing on the rocks, except for some lichen. When you tap the rocks with a hammer, they ring like a bell. Only a third of them ring though and no one knows why the other rocks are non-ringing. The boulders are made of a substance called diabase which is basically volcanic basalt. This is one of the largest diabase boulder fields in the Eastern United States. The boulders are said to sit on top of bedrock.
Most boulder fields are the result of an avalanche from a mountainside collapsing. This boulder field, however, is towards the top of the hill, not the bottom. That means it didn’t result from a rock slide or a glacier, as glaciers did not come this far south.
The boulders have a high content of iron and aluminum and were thought to have broken apart about 12,000 years ago. The boulders were created through many years of freeze-thaw cycles that broke up the diabase into individual pieces, a process known as “frost wedging”. The rocks may then have accumulated in this one area.
Some people have ascribed paranormal claims for the rocks, noting that animals (even insects) avoid them, nothing grows there, and compasses malfunction in the field, although scientists have explained these phenomena away.
An interesting event took place there in June, 1890, when Dr. J. J. Ott collected enough rocks with different pitches to play some tunes accompanied by a brass band. This event was perhaps the first ever rock concert.
Ringing Rocks Park is open sunrise to sunset. Admission to the park is free. Most boulder fields do not allow you to hammer on the rocks. At Ringing Rocks it is encouraged! There are several wooded hiking trails, one which leads to a beautiful waterfall, which is also Bucks County’s largest waterfall situated on High Rocks Creek. If water conditions are agreeable, the real adventuresome can follow the stream bed and hike down to Route 32 as it flows towards the Delaware Canal.
For more information; call the Bucks County Parks & Recreation department at 215-757-0571. Directions to Ringing Rocks County Park: I-78 exit 75. South on Morgan Hill Road, then a quick left onto Cedarville Road. Drive 1.5 miles until you dead-end at Route 611. Turn right onto Route 611 South for approximately 10.5 miles; turn left onto Route 32 South (River Road) for 2 miles. Turn slight right onto Narrows Hill Road for 0.4 miles, then first left onto Ringing Rocks Road for 0.6 miles to Ringing Rocks State Park on your left. Don’t forget to bring your own hammer!