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.