Blue Marsh Lake
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:1268 Palisades Drive, Leesport, PA
Hours:Day-use areas, 8 a.m. to sunset unless otherwise posted; grounds open sunrise to sunset daily, except that hiking, fishing, and boating are permitted 24 hours
Fee: Free, except at day-use areas, where fees are $3 per vehicle or $1 per person for walk-ins; annual passes available for $30
Contact:, 610-376-6337Outside visitor center, and at Dry Brooks Day Use Area and Dry Brooks Boat Launch (in season); portable toilets at many parking areas

Bathrooms: Outside visitor center, and at Dry Brooks Day Use Area and Dry Brooks Boat Launch (in season); portable toilets at many parking areas
Water/Snacks: Water fountain at visitor center; concession stands at Dry Brooks Day Use Area (in season)
Map: (click on Missions, then Civil Works)

This huge lake surrounded by forests provides endless outdoor recreational opportunities.

Blue Marsh Lake
Photo by: Susan Charkes

Blue Marsh Lake is an amazing recreational resource, well worth many a family trip. The visitor center on Palisades Drive is a terrific place to get oriented. A wraparound deck boasts a panoramic view of the lake; inside are exhibits on the nature and history of the region.

Thirty-six miles of natural footpaths wind around the lake, threading through woods and fields. An unpaved, multipurpose trail—open to bikes and horses—loops all the way around the lake. You can gain access to the trails from many places, including the day-use areas. These trails feature great views of the lake; they are of varying terrain with some long climbs, suitable for older kids or for short walks with young kids. There’s a stroller-friendly, universally accessible sensory trail, an orienteering trail, and nature trails suitable for young children within the Dry Brooks Day Use Area.

The 8-mile lake offers families a variety of opportunities to enjoy being on the water. The middle of the lake can be quite crowded with powerboats, but canoes, kayaks, or fishing boats can launch into a no-wake zone from the Sheidy Boat Launch, off Bernville Road toward the northern end of the lake, or at the launch on Old Church Road. From here, explore broad expanses of the lake, as well as quiet, shaded arms. At the northern end of the lake, you can paddle up the Tulpehocken Creek for quite a distance.

Fish are abundant in the lake. Blue Marsh attracts hordes of anglers from boats, docks, and along the shores. An ADA-accessible fishing dock is at Stilling Basin.

Swimming is allowed in the lake. A popular beach is in the Dry Brooks Day Use Area, where there’s a bathhouse (note, no lifeguard). You can also slip into the water anywhere in the lake from your boat. The best places to do this are along the shores of the main lake, or in the narrower arms, where cold springs continuously replenish the water.

Remember: Dogs must be leashed and are prohibited in certain areas. Swimming is permitted sunrise to sunset.

Plan B:

In the nearby Oley Valley is the Daniel Boone Homestead; the Union Canal Towpath bike trail connects to Blue Marsh bike trails at Stilling Basin and the Swiftwater Road parking area.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Bring a picnic to enjoy at the picnic areas with standing grills.



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