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The 13-mile Karl Boyes Multi-purpose Trail loops through the picturesque Presque Isle State Park in the northwestern Pennsylvania community of Erie. The paved pathway begins at the park entrance and runs along the Presque Isle Bay shoreline on one side and the coast of Lake Erie on the other. As it winds through the park, you will find easy access to parking, restrooms, and picnic tables and pavilions.
The trail parallels roads throughout the park and is marked with mile markers painted in white on the pavement. At some points, it’s an on-road bike route, while other sections are separated from traffic by grassy medians or wooded areas. The speed limit for cars is low within the park, so even timid riders should find the experience comfortable.
On the eastern end of the peninsula, you can leave the trail to go down Coast Guard Road, which leads to the scenic North Pier and a lighthouse with wide black and white stripes at the end of the pier. Another lighthouse—the Presque Isle Lighthouse, a tall white rectangular column—sits on the northwestern shore of the peninsula and is open on weekends for tours. It was built in 1872 and is the second oldest lighthouse on Lake Erie's shore. Climb its 78 steps for an expansive view of the lake.
In addition to biking, opportunities for swimming, boating, and fishing are available on the park’s 11 miles of sandy beaches. These are also excellent spots to catch a spectacular sunrise or sunset over the water.
In the winter, the trail can be used for cross-county skiing and snowshoeing. Along the beaches, look for the “ice dunes” formed by freezing waves, and watch the ice fishing taking place on the ponds on the south side of the park.
Reach Presque Isle State Park via PA Route 832. The park entrance offers parking, but there are additional lots throughout the park if it's full. The trail parallels roads through the park, so the trail is easily accessed from these lots.
This paved trail is segregated from the road in places, while other sections are on the berm. It has a nice mix of shade and sun as it circles Presque Isle peninsula, presenting good views of Erie Harbor, bay, and the beaches. There are places where the asphalt is a bit bumpy due to tree roots heaving it upward, but this really isn't much of an issue. There are plenty of places to park and start a ride since it's a circle route.
A nice added touch is that Sara's Restaurant is just outside the park and accessible by bike. It's a wonderful place to catch a burger or hot dog along with a shake, float, or ice cream either mid- or post ride during the warm weather months.
Nice cool overcast day to ride. Thought we would give the trail a try. It's nice and if you do it twice you get a little over 25 miles. I did find that at times it was better to get off the trail and ride the rode, but still a very nice ride.
Enjoyed a weekday ride along the trail. Presque Isle Lighthouse was opened for tours and climbing, which we took advantage of the opportunity. Staffed by volunteers, the fee benefits the lighthouse preservation. There is no charge to enter the lighthouse grounds, only to go inside. Nice day for picnicking and biking. Rentals available for bikes, rollerblades and kayaks. The park is free to enter.
Easter Sunday afternoon brought out a lot of people to
Presque Isle State Park and on the Karl Boyes trail.
Walkers, joggers, cyclists and even roller bladers!
Some enjoyed picnics as well. Our state parks are free to use. THere were fisherman / boaters out on the lake.
Trees bare though starting to bud. Didn't see much if any wildlife.
Trail is clearly marked. Numerous parking lots along the trail.
We stopped at the Coast Guard station, just off the trail to see the Erie Harbor lighthouse on the pier. It's the black and white Lighthouse. You can ride your bike out on the pier. We also passed the Presque Isle Lighthouse (The red brick one with white trim). Perry Monument is also a great place to stop and visit.
Some of the rest rooms were still closed, though there are ones open.
Trail is paved and very level!
Had the opportunity to ride along the trail on a warm
Fall weekday in November. It was a little chilly in
some sections, for the most part, it was nice. We had
sunshine so that helped. Nice fall day we got to see things we didn't see over the summer when there were leaves on the trees. Most of the restrooms along the trail were open for our convenience. We got in 20 miles between the trail and park roads riding.
This is an awesome trail. Karl Boyles multi-purpose trail in Presque Isle State Park, Erie PA.
Our state parks are free. There is no parking charges or day passes needed.
The trail begins at the park entrance. Mile marker 0.0 and goes along the bay and loops around the peninsula of the park. There are many parking lots. It seems the lots near the beginning of the park are more crowded. Just keep going because you can hop on the trail anywhere.
Picnic tables and pavilions all through the park, which are free! Bike and inline skate rentals (seasonal) as well as Kayak rentals.
Several beaches, free admission!
Trail is fully paved and wide. Some sections of the trail are along the road, which isn't really a problem. The trail is 13 miles in length but if you go off the trail and take the road towards the Coast Guard, it will add a few miles. You can also re do some of the trail loop since it's a loop.
One lighthouse on the bay side sits on a pier. The other is on the lake side. That one is open sometimes. But you can always "see" them.
At the entrance of the park is Sara's diner. Ice cream treats and food. It's not sit down service so you can get in and out quickly. Open seasonal.
Campground at the entrance of the park. Waldermier Amusement Park and water world one mile away. I lot to see and do in this area. Hotels and restaurants nearby.
Just an all around awesome trail. We went biking on a Monday and it wasn't crowded. Did 15 miles. We have heard that on weekends it can get crowded.
It is a great trail, lots of birds wildlife etc. But also heavily used between June and September. The trail is virtually impossible for bicycles to use in the summer after about 9 or 10 AM. Come early for a nice ride, to see wildlife and to avoid the crowd. After 10 AM be prepared to ride on the road. This also isn't a problem as there are two lanes through almost all of the park and even some areas dedicated to bike traffic.
"I may be biased because I'm a lifelong Erie PA resident but this has to be one of the finest places to skate/bike/hike in the Graet lakes region. The paved trail is 14 miles long and skirts Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie in many locations. This provides many views of the water, Erie's skyline and many beautiful sunsets. I have encountered deer leaping across the trail on numerous occasions. There are water fountains and restrooms all around the park for your convenience. The only negative is that the trail is not bikeable when the snow flies. If you are a cross country skier that isn't a problem. This summer a new trail along the bayfront connector highway connects the park to Penn State's Behrend Campus which gives you another 16 miles of paved trail with only a couple grade crossings. Erie is finally on the rail trail map!"
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