Blue Marsh Lake Trail


15 Reviews

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Blue Marsh Lake Trail Facts

States: Pennsylvania
Counties: Berks
Length: 29.4 miles
Trail end points: Blue Marsh Lake Visitor Center (on Palisades Drive) and N Heidelberg Rd
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Dirt, Grass, Gravel
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 7137944

Blue Marsh Lake Trail Description


The Blue Marsh Lake Multi-Use Trail loops for 29.4 miles around a manmade reservoir just outside of Reading in southeastern Pennsylvania. The trail has a mixture of surfaces (hard-packed dirt, grass, gravel, and abandoned roads) with some single-tracking and climbs that make it best suited for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

About the Route

The trail travels through open fields and woodlands and enjoys spectacular views of the lake. Bird watching is popular on the trail, especially during the fall's hawk migration. As a recreational hotspot, trail users will also find many amenities, including picnic areas, food concession stands, a small beach (swimming allowed), and boat launches; restrooms can be found at the lake's visitor center.


At the eastern end of the trail, the Blue Marsh Lake Trail connects to the Union Canal Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

The Blue Marsh Lake Trail runs in a loop around Blue Marsh Lake.

Parking is available at:

  • 5950-5998 Bernville Rd. (Bernville)
  • 1280 Palisades Dr. (Leesport)

See TrailLink Map for all parking options and detailed directions.

Blue Marsh Lake Trail Reviews

mountain biking level trails

Little too extreme for electric bikers who prefer the rails-to-trials. We went in both directions from the visitor center, but turned around when the trail turned rough or a little too steep. We did see mountain bikers out having a good time.

absolutely stunning

Trail had no debris or tree branches. Pathway was clear and it was a beautiful view! It was my first time with my fiancé and it was amazing! Highly recommend.

Extremely overgrown

I parked at the mid point of the trail, near the lake. Started off and found the trail was extremely overgrown with weeds. I found it difficult to navigate as the trail was very narrow for the bike tire.

Solid Cross Country Trail

The trail is mostly maintained by nature. Awesome for a non-technical off road excursion. Pack a lunch.


22 Miles

We hiked this trail this past Sunday and it was an excellent blend of developed and undeveloped trails. The trail has many points where you can stop and hop in the water to cool off and plenty of challenging hills to climb.

Blue Marsh Trail

This is an amazing trail for mountain biking, hiking, and walking. There are many different places to park. The state hill boat ramp has a bathroom with a paved parking lot. This is a hidden gem in Berks County, PA. Wear orange during hunting season when using the trail.

Needs attention

Much of trail has no maintenance. Was great trail not now!,,,,,

Good Hike for Families

We hiked a portion of the trail from Old Church Rd east to just past the corn field, approx 3 miles, with our three kids. Two issues: a huge number of ticks. We spent most of the walk removing ticks. No one persons fault, just an FYI to fellow hikers, tick season in PA is brutal this year. Also fisherman set up along the water leaving trash, rusty fish hooks and lots of old fishing line. Please people! Leave no trace and whatever you carry in, carry out!

Needs Better Trial Markers, Need MTN Bike or Just Hike It

Just rode most of the trail, clockwise. There are so many side trails that look like they could be the main trail that it's easy to get off track. The main trail needs better signage, maybe it's own unique blaze, to distinguish it from side roads and side trails. Even white arrows painted on roads were hidden by gravel at times.

You really need a mountain bike to do the whole trail. I used a cyclocross bike and had to walk in many places due to big roots, loose rocks and loose soil on steep uphills or downhills. However, it is still fun - it can feel like skiing on a bike as you carve through single-track curves and bomb down the safer hills.

Circumnavigate entire lake in winter

My daughter and I have hiked the entire lake, using the shore line thos winter. This is only possible because the Army Corps of Eng. lowers the lake every winter for flood control. We did it in 3 different sections (Thank goodness for Google maps) using some sections of trail, bridges to traverse areas interrupting the shoreline. Its a seasonal treat to hike the shoreline.

Easy mountain/extreme road biking

Rode three miles from visitors center clockwise past State Hill boat launch. Trail well-maintained with mud holes filled with gravel despite recent rains. Not ideal for road bikes, but not impossible either. Note that the little red "do not enter" signs over the dam itself mean YOU.

Hiked squirrel run and up the western side from the boat launch.

Hiked in 4-5 inches of old snow. Squirrel run was nice and well traveled! A short loop. I went up the western side of the lake mostly in the woods. It was a deer path with no human tracks after the first half mile. There were a large variety of critter tracks all along the way. I enjoyed my trek it was tiring for me since I was breaking through a crust of icy surface into the virgin 4-5 inch soft snow under it. All in all a good workout. Ganly's is close by and has good craft specials on tap, a great benefit!

blue marsh


Blue Marsh Trials

Mostly on Army Corps of Engineers and PA Game Commission lands, the trails surrounding the lakes are varied. Some sections are along miles of fields, some along the lake and some through young forests. Some are relatively flat but most have a bit of contour. The main trail around the lake is about 30 miles. By using old roads and side trails you can make smaller loops. Many times I have had a tremendous amount of solitude only minutes away from the 5th largest metro area in the state. Great gem in our area.

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