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White Deer Creek at McCalls Dam State Park

White Deer Creek at McCalls Dam State Park. Photo: Nicholas A. Tonelli, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

McCalls Dam State Park is one of the smallest public recreational spaces in the Pennsylvania state park system.

Comprising just 8 acres, it is located within the easternmost tip of Centre County, south of Clinton County and north of Union County. It resides in an isolated location on a dirt track road between Eastville, situated along Pennsylvania Route 880 and R. B. Winter State Park on Pennsylvania’s Route 192. Indeed, it is so isolated that during the winter, it can only be reached by cross-country skiing or snowmobiling.

The park is named for the splash dam that a man named Johnny McCall built on White Deer Creek in 1850. He used the waters that flowed from the dam to power a sawmill. While the dam and mill are sadly no longer there, the park is now a popular spot for fishing, hiking, picnicking and hunting.

While the park has little in the way of facilities and amenities, it is the perfect place to get away from the pressures of city life. There is also a small, rustic camping area available for those who want to spend a night roughing it in a tent under the stars as well.

Activities

What makes this park so good is that it enables visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquility and serenity of this nature escape.

While there, you can also engage in the following recreational activities.

Fishing at McCalls Dam State Park

If you love to fish in quiet surroundings, then you should enjoy casting a line at White Deer Creek. Flowing through the park, it is full of native brook which you can try and catch from its banks.

To fish at the park you will need a valid state fishing license, which you can buy online. Anglers will also need to abide by the park’s rules and regulations as well.

Picnicking at McCalls Dam State Park

For those who want to enjoy a picnic within the park’s scenic landscape there is a small picnic area adjacent to White Deer Creek.

The area has a handful of tables and charcoal grills for visitors to use. There is also a vault restroom available should you require it.

For those who do partake in a picnic, it is important to know that the consumption of alcohol is not permitted.

Hunting at McCalls Dam State Park

Those who enjoy hunting can take part in this activity at Bald Eagle State Forest, which surrounds McCalls Dam State Park.

To hunt at Bald Eagle State Forest, hunters must have a valid Pennsylvania hunting license and appropriate tags for the game they are hunting. The forest has designated hunting areas, and some areas require permits or reservations, so it’s essential to check the forest’s regulations and requirements before planning a hunt.

Hunters must also follow the forest’s safety guidelines and be mindful of other forest visitors, such as hikers and campers. It’s recommended that hunters wear blaze orange clothing to increase visibility and be aware of any nearby hiking or camping areas.

Winter Activities at McCalls Dam State Park

As mentioned at the top, the park can only be accessed by snowmobiling or cross-country skiing in the winter months.

When covered with snow, the landscape is pretty magical and offers lots of photographic opportunities as you traverse your way through it.

Given that not many people visit the park at this time of year, often the snow is largely untouched, which only adds to the park’s overall appeal.

Birding at McCalls Dam State Park

McCalls Dam State Park is home to a wide variety of bird species, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. The park’s woodland habitat, attracts a range of species throughout the year.

Some of the species live in the park all year round, while others stop by during the migration. Depending on what time of the year you visit, you might be able to see woodpeckers, warblers, and hawks.

To enhance the birdwatching experience, visitors can pick up a bird identification guide at the park office or use the eBird app to record their sightings and contribute to citizen science efforts.

Pets

If you are fixing to bring your pooch with you to McCalls Dam State Park you are more than welcome to. However, you should be mindful that the park’s pet policy states that all dogs must be kept on a hand held leash whilst at the park.

You should also be aware that your furry friends are not allowed in various parts of the park and that they must not be left unattended for more than 30 minutes.

To gain a full understanding of the park’s pet policy, it would be a good idea to contact the team at the main office.

Camping

For those who want to stay overnight at the park there is a small camping area available for rustic tent campers.

There are no modern restroom facilities or any other amenities at the park and visitors are advised to bring everything they need. They are also requested to carry out all trash as there are no receptacles at the park.

For those who would prefer to stay somewhere that offers a bit more in the way of comfort there are several campgrounds available within the surrounding area. They include the likes of the Russell P. Letterman Campground, Lupfer’s Grove & Campground, Little Mexico Campground and Indian Rock Campground.

All of these are situated within easy driving distance of the park and offer several different types of camping accommodation options from RV and tent sites with full hookups to rustic cabins.

There are also other hotel and lodging options in the nearby town of Mifflinburg, should you prefer them.

Park Location

McCalls Dam State Park
17215 Buffalo Rd
Mifflinburg, PA 17844
Phone: 570.966.1455

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at McCalls Dam State Park: