Bald Eagle State Park: Day 1

Field and mountains at Bald Eagle State Park

Bald Eagle State Park is a park nestled in northcentral Pennsylvania. Named for a Native American chief, Woapalanne, the park features almost 15 miles of hiking trails, a 1700-plus acre lake, loads of picnic areas, and a campground with dog-friendly sites. Between the awe-inspiring beauty of the park and the variety of opportunities to enjoy nature with dogs, this park has easily become a favorite of mine!

In September of 2021, I had the opportunity to camp at Bald Eagle with Peter Pan, my parents, and their pup. After a couple hours drive and a few stops for quick walks, we arrived at the park office. I walked into the lobby with my dad and we grabbed a few maps and other materials. Then, I reached for the door handle to go into the main office and pulled. THUD! The glass door jolted against the lock. I checked the time. It was only 3:30 PM in the afternoon. A bit confused, I reached for the door again as if expecting a different result. THUD!

The ranger inside must have heard the noise and came to the door to unlocked it. He informed us that the office closed at 3 PM but graciously took the time to answer a few questions and direct us to our campsite. My dad parked the boat we had in tow and we all went to set up the camper. Once everything was in order, we took the dogs for a long walk to explore the campground.

Dog laying on a raised bed
Peter at the campsite

Bald Eagle has a rustic campground and a modern campground. The modern Russell P. Letterman campground offers sites with full service, electric hook-up, and access to a nice restroom and bathhouse. There are two different loops to the campground. The Oak Loop is not pet-friendly. However, the Sycamore Loop has over 40 campsites, a yurt, and a cottage that all allow dogs.

As we walked, I noticed that each campsite had things about it that I liked. Some campsites provided a bit more privacy with brush in-between the campers. It created a “hidey-hole” feel. Some campsites had more open areas to allow for watching new visitors roll passed with their RVs.

How well did it suit canine campers? The campground offered lots of prime grassy spots and walking areas for pups. The “hidey-hole” campsites looked great for dogs who need visual barriers from people and other dogs. The open campsites seemed to work well for dogs who are more comfortable seeing walkers and bicyclists coming from a distance. There are some trails and shortcut paths throughout the campground. A site with a nearby trail may not be beneficial for a dog who needs some extra space from people or other dogs. Overall, the campground offered lots of great spaces for dogs, including pups with special needs.

It was fun exploring the campground that first evening. After our walk, we had dinner and got ready for bed. As Peter snuggled next to me that night, I made plans for an early morning run to the lake. I couldn’t wait to see what adventures were in store.

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