Exploring Lake Arthur: The Ultimate Guide to Moraine State Park’s Main Attraction

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Completely encompassed inside the fourth largest State Park in Pennsylvania, Lake Arthur is a popular destination with both locals and out of town visitors.

Popular especially with those who enjoy fishing and boating, Moraine State Park also offers plenty of other recreational opportunities and things to do.

With options for every season, you’ll likely always be able to find a small secluded corner to enjoy your preferred activity.

Not sure what Moraine State Park has to offer? Read on for all of the best things to do and where to stay to extend your trip!

Getting to Lake Arthur

Lake Arthur is located completely inside Moraine State Park in Butler County, Pennsylvania.

Situated just east of I-79 about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh, the park is easy to access from Erie or Pittsburgh.

It would also make a great stop when heading east or west on I-80 or Route 422 through the state.

If visiting from out of the area, you will likely need a car to get to and around much of this park.

According to the PA DCNR, over 1 million visitors take advantage of this ease of access each year. Moraine is a quite popular state park in PA.

Things to do Around Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park

Over 16,000 acres of land in the middle of western Pennsylvania are available for countless outdoor activities.

Much of the recreational opportunity here involves taking advantage of Lake Arthur in some way.

Here are 9 ways to spend a day at Moraine State Park.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Lake Arthur steals the show with 3,225 acres for recreation.

People flock to the lake and the surrounding tributaries to explore, mostly on kayaks or canoes.

The calmer inlets, coves, and runs are perfect for exploring in these smaller, non-motorized boats.

There are 9 different public boat launches spaced around the lake and available for use.

A boating registration from any state or a PA launch permit is required for your vessel if you’re planning on bringing one of your own.

If you need to consider rentals, head to the Crescent Bay Marina on the south shore, where both kayaks and canoes are available to rent.

Additionally, motorized boats and pontoons are also available to rent here. For operating hours and current rental rates, check out their rental website here.

Sailing on Lake Arthur

Sailing is extremely popular in Moraine State Park. Two separate sailing clubs can be found within.

The Lake Arthur Sailing Club is located at the Davis Hollow Marina, and the Moraine Sailing Club makes it’s home at Watts Bay Marina.

These clubs organize races and learn to sail classes.

The conditions on the lake here can be quite ideal for sailing, and even passersby catching glimpses out over the water from Route 422 in the summer can often be treated to countless sailboats floating every which way.

A very popular event towards the end of the summer, the Lake Arthur Regatta, is a weekend full of boating activities attracting visitors from near and far.

Fishing

With over 3,000 acres of lake area included in the park, with many additional tributaries in the surrounding areas, fishing is a naturally popular activity on Lake Arthur.

Bluegill, catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, and northern pike are known to inhabit the lake and find their way onto the hooks of fishermen and women.

The lake is also stocked with walleye, striped bass, catfish, and muskies by the PA Fish & Boat Commission.

Fishing can be done from boats on the water as well as from the shores in certain areas.

For ADA accessible fishing opportunities from the shore, head to the fishing pier at the McDanels Boat Launch.

Be sure to check with the PA Fish & Boat Commission regarding license requirements and boating permits when boating or fishing in any public waters in Pennsylvania.

Ice fishing is also permitted during the winter months, but the ice thickness is not routinely monitored. Proceed at your own risk.

Swimming

Swimming from one of the Lake Arthur beaches is popular summertime activity in Moraine State Park.

Included in Lake Arthur’s 42 miles of shore area are 2 beaches that open to swimming during the summer months. One beach is located on either side, the north shore and the south shore.

Lakeview Beach, the larger of the two at over 650 feet long, and is all sand with surrounding grassy hillsides. You can find picnic tables and grill areas in the nearby grass. The all-purpose bike trail runs through the parking lot just behind the beach, as well.

On the south shore, you will find Pleasant Valley Beach. This 400 feet stretch of shoreline does include more grassy areas but makes up for its smaller size with playground equipment and sand volleyball courts.

Both beaches have bathrooms, showers, and changing facility access.

All swimming in the park is to be done at your own risk.

Bicycling

View from the multipurpose bike trail with Lake Arthur in the background

If you enjoy getting out for a leisurely ride on a bicycle, the beautiful multi-purpose trail along the north shore is a great place for all ages to enjoy bicycling.

The trail covers 7 miles of shoreline. If you plan to bike the entire length of the trail, plan on retracing your path back to where you began. The trail is point to point, not a loop, so covering the entire thing on your own will require 14 miles of biking in total.

Even though the trail is paved, there are several hilly areas and sharp turns, so plan to get a workout in.

Please use caution on this trail, as you may see many families out using it, as well as walkers and runners.

Bike rentals can be found off of North Shore Drive at the beginning of the trail if you do not have access or means to bring your own. The bike rental building can be seen above.

Rentals are seasonal, but typically available on the weekends from April through October and daily from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

Mountain Biking

Terrain on the mountain biking trail is quite rocky.

If you’re looking for a more adrenaline filled bicycle adventure, head to one of the two mountain bike trailheads in Moraine State Park.

You’ll find a large loop with various connectors through the middle, covering about 6 miles of very rocky, hilly terrain.

This trail is definitely a challenge and one that should be undertaken with caution if wet.

Also, come prepared with tick spray and proper clothing as these pests can be prevalent in the area.

Take your time maneuvering through these trails, and you will certainly improve and gain new mountain biking skills.

Hiking

Nearly 30 miles of hiking trails wind their way around Moraine State Park.

Here, you can find anything from easy paths just over a mile in length, to nearly 15 miles of the North Country Scenic Trail (NCST) traveling across the North Shore section of the park.

Trails of both easy and moderate difficulty can be found on each of the shores.

Views of the lake can be seen both up close and from the top of the ridgeline on parts of the Glacier Ridge trail section of the NCST.

Although hiking is not the number one reason many people visit Lake Arthur, the trails are worth even a short visit to stretch your legs.

Disc Golf

Practice tees at the beginning of the Moraine disc golf course

Located on the north shore side of Lake Arthur, an 18-hole championship disc golf course weaves it’s way through the hills and wooded areas.

Cement pads have been placed for 2 tee levels, and rubber mats are still in place for the beginner level tees.

The course was opened in 2005, and by 2015 it hosted the Professional Disc Golf Championships. Prepare for beautiful views of Lake Arthur and plenty of exercise wandering from hole to hole.

Begins at Lakeview Beach, where you can also find a few practice tees, pictured above, to warm up on.

For more information on the Lakeview Disc Golf Course at Moraine, as well as other disc golf courses in the Pittsburgh area, head over to Pittsburgh Flying Disc!

Horseback Riding

Mainly located on the eastern side of the park, trails for equestrian usage weave around Muddy Creek, Swamp Run, and Shannon Run.

Additionally, two shorter trails are located on the southwest shore, which can be ridden in small loops or point to point trails.

In total, there are 20 miles of equestrian trails available for use in Moraine State Park.

Staying the Night Near Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park

Although there are no modern campgrounds located within the park for RVs and trailers to park for overnight use, there are a couple of options for staying near Lake Arthur.

Just be sure to reserve all of these options in advance to ensure their availability.

Cabins with Modern Amenities

There are 11 cabins available for rental in Moraine State Park.

The cabins include a kitchen area, two bedrooms, and a bathroom with a shower.

The cabins are located in a cluster just north of Lakeview Beach, and each comes with its own dock and lake access during the warmer months. Each cabin can accommodate up to six people.

Two of the cabins, #7 and #11, are pet friendly, but this must also be arranged in advance.

Cabin #11 is also ADA-accessible.

Plan to bring your own pillows and blankets, towels, and any kitchen furnishings you may need.

Backcountry Camping

Though there are no official campground options in Moraine State Park, with the North Country Scenic Trail transecting, there is an option for overnight camping at one backcountry shelter area.

Plan to stay at the Link Road Shelter.

This shelter can be used for one overnight stay and must be reserved in advance.

Group Camping

Another option for tent camping can be found at one of two group tent sites.

One is situated near Five Points and mile marker 3 on the all-purpose bicycle trail on the North Shore.

The other is at Muskrat Cove on the South Shore.

Road access is available as well near each campsite.

Restrooms are available at both sites, but there are no showers. Grills and picnic tables also make for a more comfortable campsite.

Other Nearby Overnight Options

Consider Cooper’s Lake Campground, just a few minutes away, for an alternative camping option. Though only certain summer weekends are typically available for public camping, the price point makes this option worth considering.

Bear Run Campground is also nearby and has sites for everything from tents, to RV’s and even a few cabins available for rent.

A short distance in the opposite direction near Jennings Environmental Education Center, Lake Arthur Family Campground and Moraine Campland are tailored more towards RVs and campers.

What Else to Visit Near Moraine State Park

If you’re planning to spend a couple of days or a weekend in the area, plan to add McConnells Mill State Park to your itinerary, also. Just a few miles west on Highway 422, the park features beautiful hiking trails, a whitewater creek, and multiple waterfalls.

The often-forgotten about Jennings Environmental Education Center, home to Pennsylvania’s only publicly protected prairie, is a smaller member of the state parks system. This park, separated by less than 15 minutes of driving, features numerous educational opportunities and 5 miles of mostly very easy hiking trails.

Wrapping Up: Why visit Lake Arthur?

Moraine State Park offers miles of trails for hiking, biking, and exploring, as well as opportunities for every kind of water recreation on Lake Arthur.

From summer boating and swimming to winter ice fishing and cross country skiing, there are things to do in every season.

Visiting this and the other nearby State Parks would certainly make for an exciting and adventurous excursion.

What excites you most about visiting Moraine State Park? Have you been? Leave us a note in the comments below!