A bounty of outdoor activities awaits you in Reading, PA, and the Berks County area. Whatever the season or your preference, there's something to spark your curiosity here.
Explore on Land
There are so many ways to enjoy the region’s diverse landscape.
Hikers have numerous opportunities to lace up their boots and get out in nature. The famed Appalachian Trail is the world’s longest hiking trail and traverses this region along the northern border of Berks County. Blue Marsh Lake and French Creek State Park trails (36 and 24 miles respectively) offer scenic hikes, as does Hopewell Big Woods, featuring 73,000 acres of unbroken forest, and there are more hiking opportunities in our region.
Take your hiking excursion up a notch by adding birdwatching to the mix. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, designated as a 2,600-acre raptor conservation area, is a prime location to study the fascinating world of raptors. Blue Marsh Lake and the Appalachian Trail are popular spots for birding as they lie along migratory routes.
There’s also the option of exploring the region on two wheels. The Greater Reading Trails System (GRTS) connects over 20 local trails for the enjoyment of biking enthusiasts. In 2015, GRTS earned the Bronze Level Mountain Biking Ride Center designation, one of only 40 entities worldwide to receive this honor. There are biking trails appropriate for people of all ages and skill levels, whether you're a road racer, mountain biker, or leisure rider.
More Outdoor Fun
Several horseback riding facilities in the area offer safe excursions allowing you to ride through the lush forests and experience the scenic beauty as explorers did in our country’s past.
Options for rock climbing, both indoor and outdoor, are available in Pennsylvania’s Americana Region. Reading Rocks is a highly-rated indoor climbing facility, while the nearby Birdsboro Climbing Quarry has over 150 routes ranging in difficulty from 5.0 to 5.14.
Reading and the surrounding area have several excellent disc golf courses, such as West Reading Disc Golf and Angelica Parks locations. If you’re looking for a real challenge, head to French Creek State Park, less than 20 miles east of Reading, and test your skills at this 18-hole course.
The Pennsylvania Americana Region is also a prime location for winter activities. Downhill skiers will want to check out the powder at Bear Creek Mountain and the resort destination of the same name. Snow tubing is also available there.
Cross-country skiing is excellent along the Schuylkill River Trail at several locations. Berks County Parks hosts events such as Snowshoeing 101 and Snowshoe With Your Sweetheart.
Head Out on the Water
With so many lakes and rivers, Berks County offers plenty of options for aquatic fun.
Fly fish for brown and rainbow trout in the Tulpehocken Creek, a Schuylkill River tributary. French Creek is well-known for trout as well as muskellunge and northern pike. Gring’s Mill Recreation Area and Lake Ontelaunee are popular angling locations stocked with several game fish species.
French Creek State Park has an ADA-accessible pool and is a mere 16-mile drive from Reading. Blue Marsh Lake offers swimming, bathhouses, food concessions, and picnic areas along the shoreline of the 1,150-acre reservoir. Willow Springs Dive Park is a quarry lake, a favorite among swimmers and scuba divers.
Blue Marsh Lake allows boating and water skiing in its beautiful waters. Aqua Om provides seasonal paddle boarding lessons and activities at the lake. If you'd like to power yourself with a boat, nearby vendors supply rentals. Dry Brooks Boat Launch is a haven for jet skiers.