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Presque Isle State Park

301 Peninsula Drive, Suite 1
Erie, PA 16505

814-833-7424

Presque Isle State Park is a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula that arches into Lake Erie. As Pennsylvania’s only “seashore,” Presque Isle offers its visitors a beautiful coastline and many recreational activities, including swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, bicycling, and in-line skating.

Presque Isle is a day-use park that provides year-round recreational opportunities. Overnight accommodations are available nearby.

The neck of the peninsula is attached to the mainland four miles west of downtown Erie. The park creates Presque Isle Bay, a wide and deep harbor for the city of Erie. The bay attracts many pleasure boats and worldwide freighters -- making Erie an important Great Lakes shipping port.

A National Natural Landmark, Presque Isle is a favorite spot for migrating birds. Because of the many unique habitats, Presque Isle contains a greater number of the state's endangered, threatened, and rare species than any other area of comparable size in Pennsylvania.

Whether you come to enjoy the sandy beaches, study ecological diversity, or learn about the historical significance of the peninsula, there is something for everyone at Presque Isle State Park.

Hiking at Presque Isle State Park

11 miles of trails

Bicycling and in-line skating are not permitted on hiking trails.

Due to fluctuating lake levels, portions of trails may be seasonally flooded and impassable without appropriate footwear.

A-Trail
0.2 mile

This short trail connects Pine Tree Picnic Area to Dead Pond Trail and passes through a vernal pond. When the vernal pond fills with water in the spring, the trail is wet.

B-Trail
0.25 mile

This short trail connects Pine Tree Road to Dead Pond Trail and passes through a stand of pines.

Canoe Portage Trail
0.25 mile

This short walk between sand dunes and forest connects Pettinato Beach (Beach 8) to Marina Lake.

Dead Pond Trail
2 miles

This trail leads over several former dunes and through several distinct ecological zones. Hikers will pass through oak-maple forest, pines, and sand plains.

Duck Pond Trail
0.5 mile

This trail begins at Duck Pond and intersects the Canoe Portage Trail and connects with the Old Gas Well Trail.

Fox Trail
0.5 mile

This trail winds through wooded swamps and oak-maple forests. It is maintained as a cross-country ski trail in the winter.

Grave Yard Pond Trail
0.75 mile

This trail follows the shoreline along Graveyard Pond, which legend says was the final resting place for many of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s men during the winter of 1812-1814. Two boat landings along the trail offer scenic views of the lagoons and Big Pond.

Gull Point Trail
1.5 miles

This trail begins at the kiosk at the east end of the Budny Beach (Beach 10) parking lot and winds its way through the Gull Point Natural Area. In this constantly evolving area, hikers usually see all phases of natural succession in the park and experience ever-changing trail conditions.

Much of the trail is sandy, but at times the trail can be muddy or wet due to changing lake elevations. Before hiking Gull Point Trail, visitors are encouraged to stop at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center to find out about trail conditions.

Visitors are reminded that during the closed period of the Gull Point Natural Area -- April 1 through November 30 -- visitor access is only permitted on the trail surface, to and from the observation platform.

Long Pond Trail
1 mile

This trail follows the shoreline of Long Pond, one of the ponds within the lagoon. About halfway along this trail is a boat landing, which is a popular fishing spot and offers a scenic view of the lagoon.

Marsh Trail
0.25 mile

This trail bisects Cranberry Pond, one of the many ponds on Presque Isle. The pond formed as water was trapped between two ridges.

North Pier Trail
0.7 mile

This trail follows the shoreline between North Pier and Beach 11, along one of the sand ridges. An old firing range used for training during World War II may be seen along this trail.

Old Gas Well Trail
0.5 mile

This trail follows a ridge between Beach 7 and the Marina. The trail passes a gas well that produces gas used at Presque Isle State Park.

Pine Tree Trail
0.7 mile

This trail follows the edge of a sand plain community and a stand of pines. Along this trail are the remains of the biology field lab that was used by Dr. O.E. Jennings to study plant succession on Presque Isle.

Ridge Trail
0.5 mile

This trail follows the edge of Cranberry Pond along a portion of ridge that was a beach dune 300 years ago.

Sidewalk Trail
1.25 miles

This historic trail was constructed by the U.S. Lighthouse Service as a path from the Presque Isle Lighthouse to the U.S. Lighthouse Service boathouse in Misery Bay. The trail was once a wooden boardwalk and was resurfaced with concrete in 1925.

Karl Boyes Multi-purpose National Recreation Trail
13.5 miles

This activity or structure is ADA accessible.
The Multi-Purpose Trail and extension makes a 13.5-mile circuit in the park. This paved trail is designated as a National Recreation Trail. This ADA accessible trail is popular with bicyclists, in-line skaters, and joggers.

During the winter, the trail is plowed from the entrance to the Public Safety Building for hikers. For cross-country skiers, the trail is left snow covered from the Public Safety Building to Perry Monument.

The trail was renamed in 2003 for the late State Representative Karl Boyes. Without his vision and tireless efforts, the trail would not exist.

PA Seaway Trail
The Seaway Trail, which follows the Lake Erie Shoreline through Erie County from New York to Ohio and includes the Karl Boyes Multi-purpose Trail, is designated as a Pennsylvania Scenic Byway.

Picnicking at Presque Isle State Park

This activity or structure is ADA accessible.
Picnic facilities with tables, grills, and charcoal disposals are available throughout the park. Some are ADA accessible. Refer to the map for locations.

Picnic Pavilions
A number of picnic pavilions are available for rental, accommodating from 30 to 200 people.

Swimming at Presque Isle State Park

The sandy beaches, washed by the clear waters of Lake Erie, provide visitors with the only surf swimming within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Beaches are open daily from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day, unless otherwise posted. The regular hours are 12:00 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.

For more information, call the park office at 814-833-7424.

Wildlife Watching at Presque Isle State Park

The Nature of Presque Isle
There are six distinct ecological zones on Presque Isle, each with a specialized plant and animal community. The record of geological succession can be traced through each of these zones. The zones include:

Lake Erie, the Bay, and shoreline
Sand plain and new ponds
Dunes and ridges
Old ponds and marshes
Thicket and sub-climax forest
Climax forest

Boating at Presque Isle State Park

Non-powered craft and registered motorboats are permitted.

Internal combustion engines are prohibited in the interior lagoons, which are defined as the continuous body of water between Misery Bay and Marina Lake, excluding Graveyard Pond.

Beaching of boats along the Presque Isle shoreline is permitted 100 feet outside of designated guarded zone areas and at the Gull Point Natural Area between April 1 and November 30.

A slow minimum height swell speed must be observed within all park waters, which includes all waters within 500 feet of the shoreline.

Water Skiing
Water skiing is permitted in Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie.

Water skiing is prohibited within 500 feet of the shore except for the purpose of takeoff or approach.

Fishing at Presque Isle State Park​

Common species in Lake Erie are:

Perch
Bass
Walleye
Trout
Steelhead
Common species in Presque Isle Bay are:

Panfish
Perch
Bass
Muskellunge
Walleye
Northern pike
Crappies
Smelt
Steelhead
Bowfishing is permitted.

Popular shore fishing locations are:

Waterworks and the Ferry Dock
East and West piers
Perry Monument
North Pier
Lagoons
All boat landings

This activity or structure is ADA accessible.

Ice Fishing
Ice fishing is permitted on the natural ice. Popular locations for ice fishing are:

Presque Isle Bay
Misery Bay
Presque Isle Marina

Hunting at Presque Isle State Park

Hunting is prohibited in the park except for controlled duck and goose hunting in season. Hunting is restricted to designated and authorized blinds only.

Regulated wildlife management hunts may be conducted if needed. Please contact the park office for information about regulated wildlife management hunts.

Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas.

Biking at Presque Isle State Park

13.5 miles of trails

Karl Boyes Multi-purpose National Recreation Trail
This activity or structure is ADA accessible.
The Multi-purpose Trail and extension makes a 13.5-mile circuit in the park. This paved trail is designated as a National Recreation Trail. This ADA accessible trail is popular with bicyclists, in-line skaters, and joggers.

The trail was renamed in 2003 for the late State Representative Karl Boyes. Without his vision and tireless efforts, the trail would not exist.

Yellow Bike Rentals
In the Waterworks Pumphouse area, near the Cookhouse Pavilion, a bike rental offers:

Bicycles
Four-wheeled surreys
Tricycles
Roller blades
Paddle boats
The bike rental is open from 10:00 A.M. - 8:00 P.M. daily, from Memorial Day through Labor Day; and 10:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M. on weekends during May and September, weather permitting. Contact the bike rental at 814-835-8900.

PA Seaway Trail
The Seaway Trail, which follows the Lake Erie Shoreline through Erie County from New York to Ohio and includes the Karl Boyes Multi-purpose Trail, is designated as a Pennsylvania Scenic Byway.

Cross-country Skiing at Presque Isle State Park

The trails of the park can be skied, conditions permitting.

Ice Skating at Presque Isle State Park

Presque Isle Bay and Misery Bay are popular for skating on the natural ice surface.

Ice thickness is not monitored.

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