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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 30 mi (48.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +1,452/ -1,445 ft
Total: 134 riders
 

Mountain Biking Blue Marsh

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#10 of 295 mountain bike trails in Pennsylvania
#444 in the world

This trail circles the entirety of the lake and is approximately 30 miles (not including side trails) in length. The trail is comprised of several different types of track: singletrack, doubletrack, dirt roads, and the occasional section of abandoned blacktop roads.The trail is not very technical, most sections can be ridden by beginner mountain bikers. Miles 18-22 in particular are well suited for novices as it hugs the shoreline which makes it virtually flat. This is not to say the trail is without its challenges. The length alone can be taxing to most cyclists and there are many climbs which are short in duration but steep in slope. Scenically the trail winds along the lake hugging the shore at times and veering into the woodlands at others. The trails also skirts several fields which are farmed during the warm months. The trail is multi-user and is frequented by hikers, birdwatchers and equestrians as well as bicyclists. Please keep your bike under control as there are lots of other users and many blind turns.Be sure to bring enough water, there is only one place to refill and that is inside the visitors center at a water fountain. It takes between 2-5 hours to complete the trail depending on ability and desire.

First added by TrailAPI on May 1, 2013. Last updated Aug 17, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: yes
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: yes
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Blue Marsh trail circles the lake of the same name in northern Berks county near Reading. Blue Marsh is located north of Reading, the trail is accessible from several trailheads. On the north side PA route 183 passes several trailheads: Penn Bern Rd., Mt. Pleasant, Church Road (this is a popular starting point), and the Sheidy Boat Launch.On the south side the lake is parrallelled by Brownsville Rd. which can be accessed off of Highway 422 by taking the State Hill exit and following State Hill Rd. out to its end and turning left onto Brownsville Rd. Trailheads on this side include: State Hill Boat Launch (FEE for parking), Old Dry Road Farm, Justa Rd., Spring Creek, Lamms Rd., and Peacock Rd.To the east Palisades Drive connects 183 and Brownsville Rd. and gives access to several official trailheads: Dry Brooks Day Use Area where a beach and picnic facilities are located (FEE for parking), Dry Brooks Boat Launch (FEE for parking), Blue Marsh Visitors Center, and Stilling Basin. The Basin is the official start of the trail and the location of the Dam.
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Blue Marsh Trail map

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Rider questions

Q: Complete Newbie question: I'm new to bike riding (i know, I must have lived under a rock - I'm a city girl used to public transportation) and want to try something other then the small flat/paved trail in my neighborhood. I look at the map and don't even know where to begin or where the easy trail is. Can someone tell me where to park and what portion of the trail would be good for my first unpaved bike trail? Something that's easy for a beginner, but not strictly a paved road like I've already been on? Thanks!
A: Hey Elli. The best place to start the trail is at the boat landings on the eastern side of the lake. Check it out on google maps, but you can take State Hill Rd to Brownsville Rd and go down the steep road to the landings. If you are a newbie I'd advise riding from the landing NE to the dam and back. That.'' be a little hilly and rutty in areas but its a nice ride. When you get a feel for it go west by the bathroom area and start the trail from there. Its a lot more fun going west but also may take some endurance because you will be going a much longer distance. Its a great ride. 25 years ago I started mountain biking on Blue Marsh and it was a huge inspiration for me. I now work in the bicycle industry and live in Minneapolis. Enjoy and let us know how it goes!!!