Bald Eagle State Forest

This state forest resides within the counties of Union, Snyder, Mifflin, and Centre. Named for the American Indian chief Woapalanne that means bald eagle, the Bald Eagle State Forest holds a lot of history, beauty, as well as many trails. The best known trail is the Mid State Trail that runs the entire length of Bald Eagle State Forest from route US322 to the town of McElhattan, just south-east of Lock Haven.

The majority of trails within Bald Eagle State Forest are multi-use trails; used by hikers and mountain bikers alike. While you are exploring Bald Eagle State Forest, don't forget to check out it's many natural areas such as Tall Timbers, Hook, Joyce Kilmer, and White Mountain to name a view, as well as the R.B Winter, Poe Valley, Reeds Gap and Snyder-Middleswarth State Parks.

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Hikes on Bald Eagle State Forest Trails

Spring Stroll On The John Snyder Trail

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With temperature reaching the lower 70s in the middle of March it seemed that spring was arriving early in Central PA. What better way to spend an early spring day than hiking in the great outdoors. My son had never seen the old railroad tunnels located near Poe Paddy State Park and I figured today would be a great time to show them to him. So we packed a small lunch, hopped in the car, and drove over to Poe Paddy State Park to enjoy the great weather and explore the Paddy Mountain tunnel.


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Rails-to-Trails Along Penns Creek

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Beginning in the town of Coburn, Penns Creek flows through multiple gaps in the nearby mountains, flowing past Poe Paddy State Park, and emerging in Buffalo Valley. Taking advantage of the natural geography created by Penns Creek, the early railroads placed a rail line on its banks. In most areas these old rail lines were absorbed back into the agricultural lands, being destroyed and turned into fertile fields. However, the section of rail line that followed Penns Creek through the mountains still exists, or at least the rail bed still remains in tact. This remaining section of rail bed, from Coburn to Poe Paddy State Park, was the destination for this hike.


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Trails of the Hook Natural Area

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The Hook Natural Area, located within Bald Eagle Forest in Union County, is over 5000 acres in size, making it the largest Natural Area in Pennsylvania. The Hook Natural Area is named for "The Hook" that is found at it's middle. "The Hook" is where the North Branch of Buffalo Run snakes it's way between Jones and Buffalo Mountain. On this blustery January day I decided to do a hike of the Natural Area that would take me from the top of Jones Mountain, along the southern banks of the North Branch of Buffalo Run, and then gradually back to the ridgeline of Jones Mountain.


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Thick Mountain/Swift Run Trails: Hiking in the Tall Timbers Natural Area

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Located in Snyder County, between Thick and Buck Mountains is the Tall Timbers Natural Area. This Natural Area is over 500 acres in area and located within it is a 250-acre Natural Area known as Snyder-Middleswarth Natural Area. This natural area contains an old growth forest of hemlock and white pines, some of which are over 150 feet tall. This hike starts at the Snyder-Middleswarth picnic area, following Swift Run through these ancient hemlocks. Hike to the top of Thick Mountain and visit the site of a fire tower and a plane crash of some 20 years ago. The hike wraps up with a quick descent into Kettle Gap and follows Swift Run Road back to the picnic area.


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