Saturday, June 23, 2012

Delaware State Forest, PA - Bruce Lake Natural Area

Delaware State Forest - Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources
Bruce Lake Natural Area - Discover Pike

GPS Coordinates 41.341060, -75.207615

View Larger Map
Large sign at parking area about 1 1/2 miles from I-84.
Individual shaded parking "bays" - nice!

Delaware State Forest Public Use Map - Pennsylvania DCNR
This is a huge file that takes a long time to open.  Zoom in and follow I-84 west from the upper right corner until you find Bruce Lake just south of I-84.  Keep zooming in to see the individual trails.  This map does not show intersection numbers.
Promised Land State Park Trail Map - Pennsylvania DCNR
This map shows some of the trails for this hike in the upper right corner with intersection numbers.
Click here for my version of the state forest map with intersection numbers and trail names written in.
Most intersections have posts indicating the intersection number and in which direction to proceed for other intersection numbers.  All trails are blazed blue - sometimes.

Full Loop - 10 miles
Shortened Loop - 8.5 miles
Egypt Meadow Lake and Bruce Lake Lollipop - 7 miles

Promised Land State Park - Conservation Island - 1.4 miles
Promised Land State Park - Little Falls - 1.4 miles

The hike starts on Bruce Lake Road which is a smooth, mostly grassy woods road.  Be sure to sign the trail register - a lot of the footpaths are overgrown so it is important to show how many people make use of the trail in hopes of future trail maintenance.
Bruce Lake Road
Egypt Meadow Trail
Egypt Meadow Trail
While I was taking pictures of a black-capped chickadee, others started landing in the tree right by me but this is the only picture that turned out.
Egypt Meadow Lake looking south from the northern end.
Looking back after crossing the spillway.
Trail crosses dam to the left.
When the Egypt Meadow Trail ends at Bruce Lake Road, turn right for a short distance to the bridge for more views of Egypt Meadow Lake before heading the other way to continue the hike.
Bruce Lake from our shady break spot.
Damselfly at Bruce Lake.
Bruce Lake is a glacial lake at about 1800 feet elevation on the Pocono Plateau - you would never know you were up that high throughout this hike, especially since you do not have to do any climbing at all - trails are relatively flat although rocky at times.
Some parts of the trails are very overgrown.
Blueberries starting to ripen along the Bruce Lake Trail.
A huge beaver lodge in the swamp to the right of Bruce Lake Trail.
Along the Brown Trail, "PRIVATE PROPERTY" is emphasized by a wire strung from tree to tree.

[  0.00]  Walk beyond gate between the two pillars to the right of the kiosk
[  0.60]  Cross small wooden bridge; keep straight at intersection 57 when Panther Swamp Trail goes left
[  0.95]  Turn left on Egypt Meadow Trail at intersection 59
[  1.25]  Trail looks like it goes into the lake but it makes a sharp left turn
[  1.35]  Keep left at fork; grassy trail joins in from left (Panther Swamp Trail probably)
[  1.40]  Turn right on gravel road at intersection 56
[  1.50]  Trail comes in from right at intersection 60 (this might be the right side of the fork from earlier - not shown on map); subsequent trails to the right lead to views of Egypt Meadow Lake
[  1.75]  Cross stone spillway then at clearing turn left across dam
[  1.80]  Keep right at end of dam
[  2.35]  At fork keep left over fallen log even though overgrowth is obstructing trail - it does continue beyond overgrowth
[  2.40]  When trail ends at gravel Bruce Lake Road (no intersection post with number), turn right briefly to bridge for more views of lake, then retrace and continue on Bruce Lake Road which becomes grassy
[  3.45]  Keep straight on grassy woods road when trail goes right at intersection 62
[  3.55]  Keep straight on grassy woods road when unmarked trail goes right
[  3.60]  Short woods road to right goes to clearing with view of Bruce Lake
[  3.70]  Short woods road to right goes to clearing with view of Bruce Lake; Bruce Lake Trail becomes foot path instead of woods road
[  3.95]  Keep left at clearing (to the right is an old pump beyond which is a short overgrown trail that leads to views of the lake from a rock outcrop)
[  4.95]  Cross foot bridge then turn left on Bruce Lake Trail at intersection 63 when the West Branch Trail goes right (for 7 mile hike turn right on West Branch Trail then left on Bruce Lake Trail at intersection 62 back to parking)
[  5.35]  Go through dark pine grove, cross creek on rocks in clearing then through another dark pine grove
[  6.00]  At trail intersection with double blue blazes (only double blue blazes I saw, no intersection post) turn left.  (I could not tell at the time since there was no intersection number but it appears turning right here would shorten the hike to about 8.5 miles eliminating some overgrown and hard-to-follow rocky sections on the Telephone Trail)
[  6.75]  Turn right at intersection 76 on Telephone Trail when Bruce Lake Trail continues straight
[  7.45]  Turn right at intersection 75 on Telephone Trail when Whitaker Trail goes left
[  7.70]  Turn right at intersection 66 on Rock Oak Ridge Trail
[  8.15]  Keep left at intersection 65 on Brown Trail when Oak Ridge Trail goes right (this is where you would turn right on Brown Trail coming off the Oak Ridge Trail for the shorter version)
[  9.60]  Turn left on Bruce Lake Trail at intersection 58
[10.00]  Back at parking lot


  1. I do a lot of hiking in this area. So much to explore.I saw a bear and three cubs on the trail recently. Too close for comfort but they ran away when they noticed me.

    1. I fully expected to see bears there and was surprised that I didn't!


  2. I've done this hike twice this year and it's a nice walk.

  3. Approx how much time does it take to complete the full loop?

    1. Sorry, can't help you with that. I don't track time because I have no desire to be aware of the time while I am hiking (I start very early so I can take as long as I want) and everyone hikes at a different pace so my time would not be the same as your time. If you know how many miles per hour you hike, you can figure it out by the mileage.

  4. Do you know if it's okay to hike in primitive camp backcountry?

  5. Are the coordinates above to the parking area? Thinking of going here Black Friday to avoid all the other craziness!

    1. Yes, those are the coordinates for the parking area. I'm with you - will be in the woods, not the stores!