Blue Marsh Lake

One of Berks County's most popular recreational areas is Blue Marsh Lake. Only a few miles northwest of Downtown Reading, this lake offers year-round activities for everyone, especially those inspired by the great outdoors. 

Blue Marsh Lake Recreation Area

Since opening to the public in 1979, Blue Marsh Lake has been a fun-filled getaway for Berks County residents and visitors. The public-use areas around Blue Marsh Lake feature roughly 6,200 acres of land and over 30 miles of hiking trails. The lake itself is 1,148 acres large. 

From Downtown Reading, getting to Blue Marsh Lake is a breeze by car, bike, or foot. Many locals enjoy taking the Union Canal Towpath Trail, a 4.5-mile-long pedestrian and cycling path that links to the

. The Dry Brooks Day Use Area is one of the most popular destinations along the lake and features a sandy beach, picnic tables, and grills for anyone to use. Pack a picnic and enjoy a day under the sun.

Water Activities

If you're a water lover, there's plenty around Blue Marsh Lake to accommodate your favorite aquatic activities.

If you have furry friends, the dog beach at Spilling Basin is the best place to cool off your pup. Due to algae blooms, water conditions at Blue Marsh Lake aren't always safe for swimming, so check with local authorities before taking the plunge. There are also no lifeguards on duty so swim at your own risk.

Should fishing be on your mind, Blue Marsh Lake offers a wide variety of species to catch, including bass, walleye, rainbow trout, perch, and catfish. Cast out anywhere along the muddy banks or use the area's three boat launches to navigate the lake's calm waters in your canoe, kayak, or fishing boat.

Boating at Blue Marsh Lake

Hiking, Biking & Birdwatching  

While there, you must make time to explore the Blue Marsh Trail. This 23-mile-long loop features some of the area's premier spots for birding, horseback riding, and hiking. Blue Marsh Lake is day-use only, so plan longer hikes accordingly. Guided hikes are offered occasionally. 

If you're a cyclist, 15 miles of flow trails were recently built for singletrack riding, making this a top mountain biking destination in Berks County.

Blue Marsh Lake is one of Eastern Pennsylvania’s most important bird habitats, and you can enjoy excellent bird watching year-round. You'll find wildlife viewing areas, nesting boxes, and bird feeders scattered throughout the lake. Don't forget to pack a pair of binoculars if you want to observe the hundreds of species of native orioles, bluebirds, eagles, warblers, barn owls, and even migratory songbirds and waterfowl.

Whether it's your first time at Blue Marsh Lake or you're a regular, stop at the Visitor's Center to learn about the many resources available.

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