The 5,900-acre Bald Eagle State Park is in the broad Bald Eagle Valley of northcentral Pennsylvania. The 1,730-acre lake laps the flanks of Bald Eagle Mountain, surrounded by forests, fields, and wetlands.
With two campgrounds, boating, fishing, swimming, the Nature Inn, and diverse habitats that are excellent for wildlife watching, Bald Eagle State Park is a great destination in the heart of Pennsylvania.
Recreational facilities are a result of a cooperative effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and DCNR's Bureau of State Parks.
Hiking at Bald Eagle State Park
14.5 miles of trails
A network of hiking trails guides hikers through a variety of habitats that offer scenic views and wildlife watching opportunities. Additional unnamed extension trails lead to recreational facilities like boat launches, the marina, the modern campground, and the beach.
Some trails wind through areas open to hunting. Hikers should wear fluorescent orange clothing during hunting seasons.
Trails are open year-round from sunrise to sunset.
1.5 miles -- easiest hiking
This mowed trail, created for the conservation of butterflies, has opportunities for close encounters with butterflies in their natural setting. The trailhead is west of the beach area near Pavilion #6.
The Butterfly Trail loops around Frog Pond and through a mix of grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, and young trees that are host and nectar plants for butterflies throughout their lifecycle. An interpretive area provides information and examples of butterfly habitat components.
During September, migrating monarchs are often seen drinking nectar on the abundant goldenrod. This trail is a popular family hike.
Hunter Run East Trail
2.3 miles -- more difficult hiking
Following the northwest border of the park toward Hunter Run West Boat Launch, Hunter Run East Trail winds up and down beneath a mixed forest and through open shrub areas providing favorite habitat for chickadees, towhees, and catbirds. Hikers will encounter an intermittent mountain stream home to various salamanders and aquatic insects.
This trail has a scenic view of Hunter Run Cove. Some wet areas do not have bridges or boardwalks. This trail begins at the PA 150 underpass of West Launch Road.
Hunter Run West Trail
2.2 miles -- more difficult hiking
Hunter Run West Trail weaves around the foothills of the Allegheny Plateau. This mowed pathway slopes through a mix of forested areas and field habitats and guides hikers through natural forest succession.
During the summer, songs of common yellowthroats and song sparrows may be heard as you pass through the open, shrub areas and northern pearly-eyes and wood nymphs may be spotted hiding in the shaded areas.
Signs of old fencerows along the way are evidence of the area’s farming heritage. This trail begins at the PA 150 underpass of West Launch Road.
2.9 miles or 4.4 miles -- more difficult hiking
This very rocky, flat trail runs along the base of Bald Eagle Mountain. The trail begins at Bald Eagle Boat Launch Access Area. After 1.5 miles to the Primitive Campground, the trail branches into a 2.9-mile loop.
With the lake below and mature hardwoods such as oaks, maples, and hickories towering above, this trail is a shaded summer hike, providing glimpses of the lake.
Look for signs of raccoons, squirrels, and pileated woodpeckers. Signs of the old charcoal hearths where timber was burned in large earth-covered mounds to create charcoal for iron furnaces in the 1800s can also be seen along this rugged trail.
Mountain streams are not bridged. The trail crosses beneath the railroad line through tunnels at both ends of its loop. Please use these tunnels while hiking.
Skyline Drive Trail
2 miles -- easiest hiking
This trail begins on Skyline Drive and meanders through a small forested ridge of mixed hardwoods to Warbler Way. Quiet hikers might catch a glimpse of white-tailed deer hiding in the undergrowth. Most of the trail is forested, but portions contain dense shrubbery reminiscent of earlier ecological succession.
This area is favorite habitat for eastern chipmunks, great horned owls, and black-throated green warblers and other woodland warblers. At each end of the trail, it is possible to hike on connector trails to Butterfly Trail, for a longer and more diverse hike.
Swamp Oak Trail
0.5 mile -- easiest hiking
This trail can be accessed from the amphitheater in the Modern Campground or from the top of skyline ridge, which has a sweeping view of Foster J. Sayers Lake. Near the amphitheater by the trail is the largest and possibly oldest tree in the park. This swamp oak is in photos from before the park.
The trail also passes a line of old, large oak trees. A portion of the trail follows the old farm road to what was the Day Farm.
2 miles -- easiest hiking
This relatively flat, partially shaded trail is so close to the lake that portions of it flood during high water events! It is a great trail to see waterfowl, eagles, and wildlife that likes riparian areas (near water).
The trail meanders between a kiosk near Pavilion 6 and the eastern terminus of F.J. Sayers Road. If you look closely you can see old stone wells, tree lines, and other historic remnants from the valley’s past.
Picnicking at Bald Eagle State Park
Picnic areas around the lake all have picnic tables, grills, and restrooms, and open at sunrise and close at sunset.
Stay the Night at Bald Eagle State Park
Bald Eagle State Park offers both modern and rustic camping experiences.
Russell P. Letterman Campground
This modern camping area is less than one mile from the beach, marina, and other park facilities, and features:
Sanitary dump station
The campground opens the second Friday of April and closes in mid-December.
Each campsite has a paved parking spur, picnic table, and fire ring.
Electric hookups of 30 amps are available at most sites, and some campsites have 50-amp hookups. Some sites have full service hookup, which includes sewer, water, and electricity.
This activity or structure is ADA accessible. Two campsites accommodate people with disabilities.
Rustic Camping Area
This rustic area has 35 walk-in sites for tents and 35 sites reserved for camping vehicles. The tent camping sites are walk-ins and are about 150 feet from the road. Parking spaces for tent campers are along the road.
Drinking water is available along the campground road. Restrooms have vault toilets and a sink with running water. A sanitary dump station is available.
Swimming at Bald Eagle State Park
Bald Eagle State Park has a 1,200-foot-long sand and turf beach which includes:
The swimming area is open from 8:00 A.M. - sunset, Memorial Day to Labor Day, unless otherwise posted. Swim at your own risk.
This activity or structure is ADA accessible.
Wildlife Watching at Bald Eagle State Park
The diverse geology in the park provides the backdrop for the lake, forests, fields, wetlands, and streams.
Old field habitat throughout the park is undergoing natural succession. Grasses are giving way to goldenrod and asters, and gray dogwood and sumacs are being pushed out by pines and maples.
These fields provide homes for bluebird, monarch butterfly, woodchuck, and cottontail rabbit, while squirrel and downy woodpecker inhabit the woodlots.
A mature oak and hickory forest covers the Bald Eagle Mountain and provides homes for porcupine and turkey.
The edge habitat created when old fields meet woods and wetlands, allows white-tailed deer, woodcock, and red-winged blackbird to thrive.
The lake, created by the Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir, holds black crappie, largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and other warmwater species. The lake also attracts snapping turtles, osprey, great blue heron, and the occasional bald eagle.
Several intermittent streams flow into the lake providing habitat for aquatic insects, crayfish, and minnows.
Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir draws most of its water from Bald Eagle Creek. The creek flows through limestone making itself and the lake alkaline. These conditions create a good warm-water fishery.
Bald Eagle State Park contains diverse habitat that attracts many bird species. Beginner and life-long birders find exploring the park with a pair of binoculars a treat no matter what the season.
The mountain ridges create excellent flyways for migrating birds. Some birds stop at the park to rest and feed during their migration. Beginner and life-long birders find exploring the park with a pair of binoculars a treat no matter what the season.
Every spring songbirds like warblers, flycatchers, and swallows display courtship rituals and sing enchanting melodies while searching for nesting spots in the park.
Boaters and beach goers commonly see herons, gulls, geese, and osprey around the lake.
In the fall, you can find migrating mergansers, cormorants, and buffleheads on the lake.
Year-round residents like sparrows, finches, and cardinals can often be seen during the winter in shrubby areas.
Federal, state, and volunteer organizations actively manage the resources of the park to provide a variety of habitats for all wildlife. Dedicated volunteers have established a bluebird trail. About 100 bluebirds fledge annually from the nesting boxes built and maintained by volunteers.
Boating at Bald Eagle State Park
The 1,730-acre FJ Sayers Lake is a key feature of Bald Eagle State Park, and offers lots of boating opportunities. The nearly eight-mile long lake has 23 miles of shoreline.
Unlimited horsepower motors are permitted. The speed limit on the lake is 45 mph. Boaters must follow a counterclockwise traffic pattern on the lake. Boats with inboard engines with over-the-transom or straight-stack type exhausts are not allowed.
Fishing at Bald Eagle State Park
The 1,730-acre Sayers Reservoir and its 23 miles of shoreline offer excellent warmwater fishing. Common species are:
Largemouth and smallmouth bass
The lake is a panfish enhancement waterway and special regulations apply.
This activity or structure is ADA accessible. An ADA-accessible fishing pier is at the Winter Launch in the Main Park Area.
About 630 acres of the lake are available during the winter.
Hunting at Bald Eagle State Park
During established seasons, about 4,910 acres are open to:
Training of dogs
Common game species are:
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas.
Sledding at Bald Eagle State Park
About five acres of cleared hillside allows for a 1,320-foot run. The slope faces the modern campground and is accessed from Skyline Drive near Pavilion #5.
Cross-Country Skiing at Bald Eagle State Park
Some park trails and open areas are suitable for cross-country skiing. About seven miles of ungroomed trails are available with proper snow conditions.
Ice Skating at Bald Eagle State Park
Ice skating is permitted on the natural ice of the lake.