Poe Paddy State Park Campground
Poe Paddy State Park Campground
Poe Paddy State Park is a small, out-of-theway park located in the bottom of a deep, steep-sided mountain valley in the middle of the Bald Eagle State Forest in central Pennsylvania. Located on the site of the short-lived lumbering town of Poe Mills (circa 1879–1900), the park and many of the roads in this area were constructed during the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The park’s several unusual features include, of course, its name, which derives from the two mountains between which the park lies: Poe Mountain to the east and Paddy Mountain to the west. At one point these formed a single long, high ridge that, over time, was carved in two by the action of what is now called Penns Creek. The park is also unusual in that it has no lake (one of the hallmark features of other Pennsylvania state parks), no ranger station (it is managed by Poe Valley State Park 3.5 miles away), and no amenities to speak of (no concessions, no picnic area, and no electricity). The park is, in effect, simply a rustic campground (pit toilets and drinking water) that sports 39 tent and trailer sites (a good portion of which sit right on top of one another), a couple of lean-tos, and a group tenting area. So why go camping here? I see a couple of very good reasons. First, you won’t find big motor homes here. In addition to the park’s lack of electricity, the road getting back into the park is rather small and rugged, and the campsites simply don’t have enough room for RVs. The campground, in fact, tends to be quiet, and midweek you likely won’t see anyone here. Second, the park provides access to a geographically interesting area of the Bald Eagle State Forest. The mountains here are steep and rise dramatically from the narrow valley floor. Penns Creek didn’t simply cut a straight path between Poe and Paddy mountains. Instead, the valley it carved forms an S-curve between the two mountains, creating two significant peninsulas. This geographical feature is visible from Penns View, one of several overlooks along Poe Paddy Drive, a forest road that loops from the campground back to Poe Valley State Park over the top of Poe Mountain. While the forest roads are suitable for cars and mountain bikes, they can be rather bumpy in places. I recommend contacting the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in Harrisburg for a map of Bald Eagle State Forest before exploring the roads and trails in this area. If you are a fisherman, the section of Penns Creek accessed from the park is one of the best areas in the state to visit. A trout stream big enough to float canoes and rafts, Penns Creek is known nationwide for its Green Drake hatch, which occurs each year around May and June. In all likelihood, this is probably not the best time of year to head to Poe Paddy if you want peace and quiet. But if you fish and don’t mind the social scene of loads of fishermen crowded together, this is definitely the time to go.
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|Season||Second Friday in April to mid- December|
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