Kayaking Glendale Lake

p6120123I prefer creek and river paddling over flatwater paddling, but some of my most memorable solo trips occured while flatwater kayaking in the evening. One recent flatwater kayak trip in June of 2009 was on Glendale Lake at Prince Gallitzin State Park. Actually I grew up near Prince Gallitzin State Park but I never bothered putting a canoe or kayak on Glendale because it seemed a lake organized for boating and fishing and with high boating traffic. So after twenty years of ignoring Glendale as a paddling opportunity, while on a recent visit with family I decided to spend a quiet evening on the lake in my kayak.

Glendale Lake has 26 miles of shoreline with nine public boat launches providing convenient access to various sections of the large 1600 acre lake, but despite the multiple launches I think one of the most difficult things about paddling Glendale is paddling without playing chicken with the pontoon boats, as I’ve experienced so many times on Pennsylvania State Park lakes.

p6130164I arrived at Glendale Lake on a Wednesday evening, and after visiting several boat launches I decided to launch my kayak at the Turtle Cove Mooring Area with the intention of paddling to the Old Dam section located in a more remote part of the lake. It looked easy on the map and in a few minutes I reached the opposite side of the lake to a location called Deer Inlet. I took advantage of the low boating activity and calm water to practice a few paddling techniques. I then checked out some shoreline wildlife activity before advancing my way to the remote Old Dam section. Once rounding Troxell Point and entering the Harris Narrows I questioned that maybe the remote section of the lake wasn’t so remote as I encountered three pontoon boats anchored from shore to shore directly opposite each other, creating one narrow channel of passage. I really wasn’t too concerned over this and proceeded on a course between the boats, until two other boats appeared in my path bearing directly toward me. Now I realize that Glendale Lake has a 20 hp limit, but when you’re in a kayak on a windy day almost anything with an motor can appear to be bearing down on you. This is where the peaceful kayak trip ends and the familiar game of chicken with pontoon boats begins – and I was in no mood for this. Most motorboat operators respect paddlers, but some don’t and often watch as the paddler either rides their wake or sinks trying.

Allowing these boats to discourage me from my trip to the Old Dam section, I decided to paddle to the breast of the lake for sanctuary from the boating traffic. At this point I shared a small cove with a canoe where I found an old rusting machine that appeared to be a dredge on what I think might be where the Old Glendale Road Trail meets the lake. I paddled the shoreline where I shot some photos, only to be invaded by a boat settling in for a night of fishing. With no other plan I headed back to Deer Inlet to hopefully experience the nocturnal creatures come to life when I noticed raindrops hitting the surface of the lake; I decided to end my paddle.

p6130168On my way back to Turtle Cove I took a few minutes to paddle around the Beaver Valley Marina. It was an interesting view of the various pontoon and sailboats docked at the marina and turned out to be the best view of wildlife I’d seen on my entire two hour paddle. I eventually paddled over to the Turtle Cove Mooring Area and watched the sunset as plenty of boaters launched for some night fishing. After a few minutes of this I ended my paddle.

My first Glendale paddle was interesting but ended with the feeling that I missed some excellent evening paddling that I’m sure Glendale Lake has to offer. Next time I’ll launch at the Mud Lick and Killbuck Run area.

If you have paddling knowledge of Glendale Lake leave a comment with some suggestions on where to paddle.

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4 Responses to Kayaking Glendale Lake

  1. Lisa Myers says:

    Can you rent a canoe or kayak at Prince Galitzen?

  2. J.K. Bartlebaugh says:

    Yes Lisa. You can contact the marina 814-674-6169. The last time I checked it was $10 per hour or $40 for the day.

  3. ATR says:

    can you rent row boats at Prince Galitzen?

  4. Shannon says:

    You want to put in by the shooting range. There is a kayak launch to the quieter side of the lake at the very end. It’s really nice as it winds through llly pads and a narrow channel down through the old dam section. Lots and lots of birds, and fish! Very quiet!

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