Ive’s Run Campground At Tioga- Hammond Lake
I finally got around to visiting Hammond Lake and camping at the Ive’s Run campground. Any road trip to Baltimore or other locations south of New York State would have a stop at the Pennsylvania Welcome Center. The view from the Welcome Center took in the forest and Hammond Lake. The Tioga- Hammond Lake Project of the Corps of Engineers is two dams, one on the Tioga River and another on Crooked Creek. The project was completed in 1979 with the purpose of controlling flooding and reducing sediment in the Chesapeake Bay.
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Before they started building the dams, they had to reroute route 15. I remember our first drive over a bridge on the new portion of the highway. Dad told us to look down at a small town, saying in a few years it would be underwater. That town and a few others are now history, and the Corps of Engineers maintains the dams and manage the surrounding area. There is also a dam on the Cowanesque River a few miles away, creating the Cowanesque Lake. Together they have a few recreational areas with campgrounds and other day-use areas. The Ive’s Run recreational area has pavilions, sports fields, picnic areas, a boat launch, and a 163-site campground.
Ive’s Run Campground’s Pine Loop
Like many campgrounds, Ive’s Run has a number of loops. Most of the loops have electric and water hookups. The Pine Loop and its 32 campsites do not. Depending on the source, the Pine Loop is listed as overflow, primitive or hike-in. I could accept the term primitive, as the only bathroom in the loop is a vault type. No running water in it. Also, there is only one water outlet, and it was out of order while I was there. The hike-in does not apply, as you can drive your car or RV to your campsite. It is, however, a mile down a dirt road from the other camping loops and day-use areas.
The “primitive” portions did not really phase me. I do not need an electrical connection. I do like some creature comforts and use an air mattress when I camp. It has a built-in electrical pump, which I power with a small inverter attached to my car’s 12v outlet. A small solar generator gives me any light I might need and can recharge my cell phone. The biggest use of the cell phone is for the GPS while hiking. Calling it a solar generator makes it sound grander than it really is. It is basically a large rechargeable battery in a case with connections for small DC lights and a USB connection. While it comes with 3 lights, one is more than enough to light my tent or around a table. It can be recharged by a USB connection, a wall outlet, or the supplied solar panel.
On the positive side, the sites seem larger and more wooded than the other loops. There is a boat launch just for the campers in the loop. Some sites are waterfront, and you can launch a kayak from your site. Even the sites not on the water are very close and there are many places you can fish. On a number of occasions, I just sat back and watch the fishing. One “fisherman” almost caught a fish just 10 feet from me, but he dropped it, and it got away. That “fisherman” was a young eagle. I saw eagles a few times each day I was there, mostly two together. There is a hillside and a meadow near the loop that is very peaceful.
Hiking Tioga- Hammond Lake
I did not take advantage of the hiking trails as much as I could have. There are a number of trails of different lengths and ability levels. Many of the trails are relatively flat and easy to hike, such as a trail on an old railroad bed. There is also a section of the mid-state trail that runs from the Maryland border north to the New York border.
I did a section of the C Lynn Keller Trail, crossing over into the State Game Lands and the railroad bed.IVESRUN_NEW8X11
Front and back of the hiking mapIVESRUN_NEW8X11back3
The Stephenhouse Trail and The Archery Trail at Ive’s Run
My most interesting hike was, combining the Stephenhouse trail and the Archery Trail. These trails have a common starting point and for a short distance overlap. The Stephenhouse trail is listed as moderate with a slight slope. For the most part, I agree with that review. The trail is often narrow, and it is undeveloped in many places. Parts of it just seem like a well-used game trail. Along the way, there are markers identifying the local tree types.
The first portion of the trail climbs to a ridge, and it often follows above a small stream. You will come to a point where the trail crosses the stream. When I hiked it, the stream level was low, and I could cross on the rocks and tree trunks. I think it could be a challenge after rain or in the spring. After crossing the stream, there is a slope that I would not consider “slight”. There was even a heavy rope there to help you get up it. Once you get to the top, the trail widens and is mostly flat.
I did not see any large wildlife along the trail, however, I did see and hear a number of turkeys. At one point, about a dozen young ones ran in front of me. Then a larger one, possibly the mother, flew nearby, making a great deal of noise to distract me. I saw four different groups of turkeys along my walk on the Stephenhouse trail.
As you near the end of the trail, you will reach the point where the Stephenhouse and the Archery Trails overlap. Continuing along the Archery trail brings you to the first target just a few feet further. There are 16 targets along the trail, set at different distances. For some unexplained reason, the scorecard shows 16 stations, however, a few numbers are skipped, and the last station is number 18.
Camping on Federal Property
There are a number of Federal Agencies that operate recreational facilities. Many of them have implemented user fees for different activities. I feel that the fees are reasonable and that these recreational areas provide a better experience than their commercial counterparts. In many cases, better than the state-run campgrounds as well.
Back a few years ago, I saw an article stating that the cost of a lifetime America the Beautiful pass was going up. At the time, I did not see a real reason for getting one, but I did anyway. That was a good move on my part. The pass allows me free entrance to any park that has a day-use fee. More importantly for me, it gives me a 50% discount on the camping fees. This trip to Ive’s Run Recreational area on Tioga- Hammond Lake cost me just $10 a night. I am looking forward to my next trip.
PS. I have added a few links to Amazon for items that I use.
Some additional photos that are also on Flickr
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