Balsam Swamp is a sprawling state forest that stretches almost 5.5 miles east-west across 4 towns. The area is very rural, and the landscape surrounding the State Forest is predominantly forested. Balsam Swamp State Forest is comprised of a mix of native hardwood forests, hemlock swamps, and conifer plantations. There are no designated recreational trails on the forest, but there is ample opportunity for self-guided day hikes to explore the diversity of habitats represented on this State Forest. Additionally, the western section of Balsam Swamp State Forest is adjacent to Five Streams State Forest to the south.
The main attraction of this forest is Balsam Pond. The impoundment is approximately 152 acres and is a popular destination for fishing and paddle boat sports. Balsam Pond is a warm water fishery that contains a mix of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, brown bullhead and sunfish. Tiger muskellunge have been stocked in the past with the last stocking occurring in 1995. However, there have been very few reports of anglers catching any of the adult tiger muskies. A shallow gravel boat launch is suitable for launching small fishing boats.
A small rustic camp ground is also located at Balsam Pond. Camping spaces are available at no cost on a first-come, first-serve basis and there is no running water or electricity. A fire ring, outhouse, and picnic table are provided for each camping space. A sign on Balsam-Tyler Road in Pharsalia designates the entrance to the boat launch and camping facility. This is a carry-in carry-out facility. Please do not litter.