Exploring Our Outdoors: Bald Eagle State Park
Of the six state parks located in Centre County, Bald Eagle State Park is perhaps the crown jewel.
Situated on the banks of a 1,730-acre manmade lake in Bald Eagle Valley, this park offers a variety of activities to keep any outdoor lover entertained.
The park offers two campgrounds, boating, fishing, swimming, one of the nation’s top eco-friendly hotels, and so much more.
Located 30 minutes from State College and Penn State, and 15 minutes from Bellefonte, this park is an easy trip for most county residents. Those coming from farther away can enjoy easy access from interstates 99 and 80.
If you’re looking to enjoy the park’s amenities with overnight accommodations, there’s a variety of options to suit any taste.
Check out the rustic campground, which offer 35 walk-in sites for tent camping. In the modern campground, full-service sites can be found with RV hookups, electricity, flush toilets and warm showers. Yurts and cabins are also available, offering a unique alternative to the tent or RV.
Modern camping is uniquely situated near the lake on old farmlands – much of it converted to wildlife habitat. We love the Swamp Oak and Skyline Drive trails, which offer easy hiking with nice lake views. Don’t miss a chance to relax under the impressive limbs of the record-breaking Swamp White Oak tree, measured at 18.1 feet in circumference in 2016.
For the outdoor lover who wants the comforts of home, be sure visit The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle. Voted the number one eco-lodge in the nation, this beautiful hotel offers 16 guest rooms with multiple meeting places, a library and more.
You’ll love the amazing views from the lakeside rooms, which offer unparalleled vistas of Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir and Bald Eagle Ridge. Hotels visitors can take advantage of the outdoor fireplace and eagle-viewing station, or simply meander along one of the many nearby trails that offer easy access to the lake, the modern campground and picnic facilities.
WHAT TO DO
At the heart of Bald Eagle State Park is the Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir. Formed from the damming of Bald Eagle Creek, it was created in 1971 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The lake is named in honor of Foster Sayers, a local man who earned the Medal of Honor in World War II.
Fishing is hugely poplar here, both from boat or the 23 mile-long shoreline. Sunfish, catfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, crappie and tiger muskellunge are all common species.
Five boat launches are located within the park, making access a breeze from any direction. If you’re inclined to leave your boat in the lake, a 96-slip marina can be rented out on a seasonal or daily basis. The boating concession, located at the marina, can help with all your boating needs: renting a boat, buying gasoline or having repairs done are all possibilities here.
Other popular lake-centric activities include swimming, tubing, water skiing and jet skiing. Swimmers young and old are welcome to use the 1,200-foot-long sand and turf beach, which includes a children’s playground, snack bar, changing rooms, restrooms and parking.
Birding and wildlife watching are also popular pursuits. The mountain ridges create excellent flyways for birds on their migratory paths, allowing birdwatchers a chance to see foul from across the continent.
Hunting is also possible here; additionally, state game lands 92 and 252 are nearby.
Wintertime brings a variety of new activities to the park, including cross country skiing, ice skating, ice fishing and sledding.