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Old 01-30-2010, 09:40 AM   #1
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Pennsylvania State Parks and PA I80

Fellow Travling Sunline Campers

We are planning our mid September camping vacation and this year we are investigating returning to Ohio thru PA. We are State Park camping folks and we are looking at this route from semi upstate NY into eastern Ohio thru PA.

We really do not want long haul days, meaning long towing in the 8 hours towing range. Looking more at 4 to 5 hour tow. It’s vacation… . But for a spectacular park, we would entertain a 5 to 6 hour tow. We are breaking up the tow across PA into 2 stops. Get to see some more of the area as we get to camp earlier.

This is the basic route. South east NY, thru PA into east Ohio That link will fire up Bing.com maps and load the route.

The route is basically I84 into PA from NY then to I80 across PA. I have not been on I80 in over 20 years. Last time was with a 89 GMC S15 Jimmy on that concrete road and the memories of ca thunk, ca thunk, ca thunk and the front end of the short wheelbase truck doing sea saws all the way across the state has still never left the memory banks….

Did I80 get fixed and is it camper towing worthy?

Next are the 2 stop overs, Anyone ever been to any of these PA State Parks camping?

Stop 1: A toss up between:

Lackawanna State Park

And

Frances Slocum State Park


Stop 2: This fits the mileage break up well and are open in 2010. Again a toss up between:

Parker Dam State Park.

And

Bald Eagle State Park

Any one ever been to any of these parks, traveled the roads, and any neat places to see in the areas?

Thanks

John and Cindy
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Old 01-30-2010, 11:39 AM   #2
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John,
As far as your first two choices for state parks, they aren't very high up on our list. Most of the sites are small for our trailer, and yours being longer would only make things worse. I would recommend Promised Land State Park. It's only 3-4 miles off of I-84
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Old 01-30-2010, 12:18 PM   #3
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Thanks Mike & Roz,
That's good to know for us as well.

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Old 01-30-2010, 01:28 PM   #4
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Mike

THANKS!!! I relooked up Promised Land State Park

At first I wrote it off to this message:

Quote:
10/19/2009 1:34:00 PM

Campground Availability: Pickerel Point and Deerfield Campgrounds will be closed for the entire 2009-2010 camping season, due to major renovations taking place and to ensure the safety of our visitors. All other areas will be open.

But then I read down further and there are 4 campgrounds at this park….WOW.

There is Lower Lake campground. Says sites are 25 to 35’ and many have electric.

And there is Pines Campground Says sites are 26 to 87’ and no electric.

The no electric does not bother me. Have 2 batteries and a Honda Eu2000I as long as they allow the genny to run during certain hours.

Any site number recommendations?

Reading from the internet can be a free for all some times. And then each state and park has different interupations on what a 30 foot site is. 30 foot of pad or 30 foot of site before you fall off the cliff...

Promised Land would be an option as far as the distance.

Right now looking for options and any one with any info greatly appreciated.

John and Cindy
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:07 PM   #5
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John,

Actually there are 6 campgrounds in the park. 2 of them are still closed for renovations. The pines camping area is nice because it is walking distance to the beach, but no electric and only a few sites big enough for a trailer. Mostly tent campers. We usually go to Northwoods camping area at the lower lake. All sites are electric, and the dump station is also located at the lower lake. The best sites are the pull- thrus. Beechwood has 4 that are grouped 2 at one end and 2 at the other end. They are set up that 2 trailers can can face each other. Northwoods has 5 pull-thrus that have a lot of space between campsites. All the pull-thrus average 120ft or more.

Also there is a bald eagle nesting area located at the lower lake. So if you're lucky you will get to see some eagles and maybe some bears.

Some of the things that make this our favorite state park.
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:13 PM   #6
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Hi John


you are coming down near Allentown I see so you wont be to far from Pottsville there is a state park near there called locust lake sp I have not stayed there my self but I have heard great things about it , and I think the tweetys have camped there and they may shed some light on it , the other sp that is further so. and closer to the Tweetys and my self is French creek sp it is a very nice park it is about and 1 to 11/2 so of Allentown and it is west of the lancaster area and Amish country just a thought and the pa turn pike morgan town exit is only about 15 min away from the park . hope this helps Dan


P.s, check the campground section on the form I thinks there are so pics of French Creek and a review
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Old 01-30-2010, 04:18 PM   #7
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You may want to visit Benezette in Elk county, north of the Clearfield/DuBois area. Best time to view the elk herd is dawn or dusk. As I recall there is a CG near the viewing area. It looked like a field next to the road. Not sure about any SP campgrounds in the area.
Cooks Forest north of Clarion (exit 62?) offers hiking, canoeing, and rafting. Not sure about camp sites but there are several commercial CGs near by. We stayed at Kalumet years ago. It was nice as I recall. There was also horseback riding nearby.
Gaslight CG at Emlenton exit 42 is close to the Allegeheny river. The folks running the place are nice, but they are struggling. Call ahead to be sure they are still there. There is canoeing and access to the southern end of the Allegheny Valley Rail Trail just over the hill into Emlenton. You could ride a bike on the trail north to Franklin/Oil City -- about 30 miles. Take a flashlight as there are 2 tunnels. Both have reflective stripes on the paved trail but both are long and curved so they are very dark in the middle section! Watch for eagles on the stretch between the tunnels. The trail also goes south about 5 miles to Foxburg. The golf course there is the oldest in the US (there may be some qualifer in there like "continuously in service"). The restaurant there is nice. They have their own winery across the parking lot.
McConnell's Mill SP is a great place to hike, but I don't believe they have sites for your RV. There is a KOA near Mercer (exit 19?). It would be 20-30 minute drive from there to the SP. It is on 422 just west of I-79
As for I-80, it is better than you describe, but it is still a PA highway. Count on 2-3 construction areas between I-84 and Ohio. The joke is there are only 2 seasons in PA- winter and construction
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 264SRinPA
John,

We usually go to Northwoods camping area at the lower lake. All sites are electric, and the dump station is also located at the lower lake. The best sites are the pull- thrus. Beechwood has 4 that are grouped 2 at one end and 2 at the other end. They are set up that 2 trailers can can face each other. Northwoods has 5 pull-thrus that have a lot of space between campsites. All the pull-thrus average 120ft or more.
Thanks Mike, Got it now. Just did a satellite view of the campground. That looks like my kind of CG!! Large enough to get the T310 in and trees. The aerial pic must have been just coming into fall. Beautiful.

Promised Land just went up about 5 notches to the serious consideration list.

Too many CG’s not enough time…..
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:20 PM   #9
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Dan and Chuck

Thanks for the info. Now have more to read up on and more options.

Now working more on the westeren end of the state to gain some options.

Thanks

John
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:25 PM   #10
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We haven't actually stayed at any of the parks you're looking at, but there is one we're anxious to try this summer. We have reservations in August at Black Moshannon State Park as a stopover on a longer trip. It's right off of I80 west of Bald Eagle. For some reason it's not showing up on your BING map. We have been to Locust Lake and French Creek, but both are a little farther off of your route. While we have enjoyed them both they can be crowded on weekends.
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Old 01-30-2010, 07:43 PM   #11
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John-Most of the info I gave you is for the western end of I-80. The exit numbers correspond to the mile markers. Mile marker 0 is the PA-OH border.
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck & lori
John-Most of the info I gave you is for the western end of I-80. The exit numbers correspond to the mile markers. Mile marker 0 is the PA-OH border.
Thanks Chuck, for some reason I had them mixed up on the east end. I'll dig deeper now.
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweety
We haven't actually stayed at any of the parks you're looking at, but there is one we're anxious to try this summer. We have reservations in August at Black Moshannon State Park as a stopover on a longer trip. It's right off of I80 west of Bald Eagle. For some reason it's not showing up on your BING map.
Pam, thanks. For some reason I missed Black Moshannon. http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/statepar...moshannon.aspx

Zoom in here. It is flag marker C. We will stop at D for the night at West Branch SP in Ohio. Been there, nice park.

Black Moshannon on Bing

It looks like you take 504 just past Bald Eagle on I80.

Thanks, options are building
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:03 PM   #14
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John,

Route 80 - I've run it a few times with the trailer. The furthest run was from 476 out to Lock Haven. It *is* 80, so a lot of it is 2 lanes and there's the guaranteed construction somewhere, but it wasn't a bad ride at all.

We had a 5 night or so stay this summer at Promised Land. Site #382 in the beechwood section of lower lake.

Beechwood was all paved, but the pads were double wide. For reference, I was able to park the GMC sideways in front of the coach which left quite a bit of room on the door side of the coach. You would be able to fit on those pads, but with your extra length you would almost certainly need to park next to the coach, which would stink.

The sites themselves were on the smaller side in Beechwood. The exception was the four pull-thru sites, which were considerably larger. Overall, beechwood had a "suburban" feel to it the way the sites were laid out.

Northwoods seemed a bit more spacious, and I do believe those sites were longer instead of wider and I believe those were stone pads. Don't hold me to it, but I also seem to remember northwoods being a little more open, with less trees between the sites.

Rhododendron was more my kind of loop, it had a lot of nicely wooded sites. Most of that loop is smaller and setup for tents though. The other downside there was limited hookups - we were there in August and wanted the ability to run A/C if needed.

Overall, the park itself was very nice. Unfortunately, it rained the entire time we were there except for one day. My brother came up for a few days with his little boat and did some fishing (in the rain).

I picked 382 that time judging by the satellite pictures in Google. It was nice not having someone on both sides of us, and the dense treeline between 382 and 384 gave a lot of privacy.

The park seems very popular. We were there during the week and it was easily over 50% capacity. Obviously booked 100% on the weekend. If you are going past it, I would give it serious consideration.


Another option in that area, right off of route 80 is Hickory Run (http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/statepar...ickoryrun.aspx). It's about 20 minutes from where most of my family lives, so we've been there a few times and certainly will be back.

In that park, we prefer the 165-219 & 229-273 loops. These all have electric and most of the sites are fairly heavily wooded. Along the lines of what we had at Nick's Lake, just somewhat smaller and a little closer together. The sites in the 278-381 loop are ones you would probably want to avoid, as that area is pretty much a wide open field.


If you were willing to cut across a little bit of route 6, we really loved Leonard Harrison State Park with the PA Grand Canyon. The view is just amazing, and the rail trail along the bottom of the gorge was a beautiful easy bike ride. We stayed there 2 nights in the middle of a longer trip, and that timeframe was about perfect. I do have some pictures of that park in an online album (http://gallery.shadetree.org/main.php?g2_itemId=3853).

Finally, depending on your timeframe, we might be able to meet up for a night or two in that area.

- Frank
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