Are you looking for a great bike trail to get out and get some exercise while enjoying some beautiful scenery? The Presque Isle bike trail in Erie, Pennsylvania, at Presque Isle State Park, is a fantastic paved multipurpose trail to explore.
The trail is relatively flat and has no shortage of beautiful scenery with the bay on one side and Lake Erie beaches on the other. We love biking here because the breeze from the lake is often refreshing on a hot summer day, and we can stop and get a great ice cream treat when we’re finished!
We’ll get to the ice cream later.
If you’re looking for a great bike trail while exploring near Erie, PA, then the Presque Isle bike trail, also known as the Karl Boyes Multi-Purpose National Recreation Trail is definitely where you should explore next.
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Exploring the Presque Isle Bike Trail: The Karl Boyes Multi-Purpose National Recreation Trail
The Karl Boyes Multi-Purpose National Recreation Trail is a popular multipurpose bike trail for outdoor enthusiasts in Northwest Pennsylvania. This 13.5-mile circuit is known for its accessibility and attracts bicyclists, in-line skaters, and joggers looking to explore Presque Isle State Park and get some exercise.
Named after State Representative Karl Boyes, this trail holds great significance in the area. Boyes was instrumental in securing the funding and put forth tireless efforts required to create this ADA-accessible trail that winds its way through scenic park.
This trail is also popular with joggers and in-line skaters, providing a wonderful opportunity for outdoor exercise. Its popularity is partly due to its connection to other nearby trails, such as the 8.9-mile Bayfront Connector Trail via the 6th Street bikeway.
Things to See Along the Presque Isle Bike Trail
If you begin your adventure on the Presque Isle bike trail as you enter the park, these are a few of the spots you can expect to discover. We’d recommend traveling counterclockwise from the park entrance along the loop. This best flows with traffic, as you will be sharing the edge of the road with vehicle traffic at the far end of the peninsula.
Presque Isle Bay
The first views you’ll have as you pedal along the bike trail through Presque Isle State Park are of Presque Isle Bay. There are multiple viewpoints, each with its own parking area. Often, these are filled with people watching from their cars, enjoying a walk on the trail, or even fishing.
You’ll have views of the water much more often than not. It really makes for a beautiful bike ride.
As you reach the waterworks, this is where views of the bay are less often for a short stretch. You’ll pass the waterworks tower, which looks like a small lighthouse structure. You’ll also pass the Waterworks Pump House, where bike rentals are available in the park.
As you near the far end of the peninsula, about 5.5 miles into the loop, you’ll come to the Perry Monument. This monument is dedicated to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. He is known for his victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
The monument now overlooks Misery Bay and is dedicated to those who fought in the War of 1812. A few interpretive signs are scattered around the monument so you can learn the history for yourself. This is a great spot to stop and wander, taking a short break from your bicycle seat.
After you leave the Perry Monument, you’ll be sharing the road with vehicle traffic for quite a while. While the roadway’s shoulders are quite wide and there is a 25 mph speed limit the entire way, this is an important note.
Take safety precautions and wear a helmet.
Not far from Perry’s Monument, you’ll travel by the lagoons. On a hot summer day, you’ll often see turtles from the observation platform just before the boat rental shop.
While this is on the opposite side of the road from the bike route, take a quick detour over to the wooden platform and see if you can spot any wildlife.
Kayaks, canoes, and other watercraft can be rented from the building just past the observation deck.
Horseshoe Pond Houseboats
As you continue around the peninsula, in about 1 mile, you’ll come upon views of Horseshoe Pond, to the right.
Horseshoe Pond is unique because it is home to a community of 24 houseboats. Because the area is now a part of the state park, no more houseboats can be added.
Through the greenery, there are views of this unique community, which can only be accessed by a small boat.
Just past Beach 10, you’ll pass Sunset Point. This location is named very appropriately!
While most of the beaches along Presque Isle State Park are great spots to watch the sunset, this spot, in particular, gets all of the accolades.
While you probably won’t be able to catch the sunset here and then finish your bike ride, it’s something to consider for another time.
Presque Isle State Park is home to some of the best sunsets in the Great Lakes region, so take advantage of the views while you visit.
Lake Erie Beaches
As you continue even further around the peninsula, you’ll begin to come to the views of the Lake Erie beaches in Presque Isle State Park! You’ll pass through a small picnic grove just past Beach 9 and then be treated to views of all of the named beaches.
The Presque Isle bike trail comes extremely close to the beach access at some points, so you won’t even have to get off your bicycle to get views of the sand and the water.
You can if you want, though!
Presque Isle Lighthouse
About 9 miles into your trip around the peninsula, you’ll come upon the beautiful Presque Isle Lighthouse.
This building was completed in 1873! Stop at the lighthouse and climb the 78 steps to the top during open hours, which are typically during the summer months. Entrance and self-guided exploration are $8 per person.
Guided tours of the house and the grounds are also available for $15 per person.
After you’ve explored the lighthouse, you’ll continue your ride along the paved trail for about 4 more miles, returning to the park entrance. You might have noticed it on your way into the park, but now is the time to stop at Sara’s.
This old-fashioned diner serves up burgers, fries, and sweet treats! This is the perfect place to refuel after your 13.5-mile bike ride on the Presque Isle bike trail.
The Smith’s hot dogs and kielbasi are Erie staples. If you’d rather skip right to the sweet treats, we think the peanut butter milkshakes and the orange-vanilla twist cones are to die for!
Bike Rentals on Presque Isle
For those who don’t have their own bicycle or those who are traveling and don’t have room in their vehicles, you’re still in luck!
Bike rentals are offered right in the middle of Presque Isle State Park, between Beach 7 and the Waterworks Tower, at the Waterworks Pumphouse.
At Yellow Bike Rentals, there are quite a wide variety of rental options to suit nearly every need when exploring the Presque Isle multipurpose bike trail.
Whether you prefer traditional bicycles, fat tire bicycles, four-wheeled surreys, tricycles, or even rollerblades, all are available as rentals from Yellow Bike Rental.
From around Memorial Day through Labor Day, they are typically open daily from 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M., allowing you to enjoy the trail throughout the day. Please check their website for the most recent updates on hours of operation, just to be sure.
With Yellow Bike Rentals, you can explore the beauty of Presque Isle State Park at your own pace. While surrey carts are limited to just a section of the multipurpose trail, bicycles can be taken around the entire peninsula.
All rentals are offered weather permitting.
Biking Rules and Regulations
To ensure the safety of all cyclists, it is important to abide by the biking rules and regulations while enjoying the Presque Isle Bike Trail. PA state law mandates that all riders under 12 years old must wear an approved helmet. This crucial safety measure helps protect young riders from head injuries and promotes a safe biking environment.
Both traditional bicycles and electric bicycles are permitted both on state park roads and bike trails. They are not permitted, however, on designated hiking-only trails.
Additionally, any marked roads or trails that indicate no biking are to be avoided.
By adhering to these rules, we can ensure the safety and enjoyment of all trail users. So gear up, wear your helmet, and embark on an exciting biking adventure on the Presque Isle Bike Trail, knowing you are abiding by the regulations set in place.
Best Bike Trails in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, and it boasts some excellent bike trails for riders of all skill levels.
About an hour south of Presque Isle, you’ll find the multipurpose bike path at Maurice K. Goddard State Park. This has a few more ups and downs than the one at Presque Isle, but it’s also a loop. It provides great views of Lake Wilhelm in Maurice K. Goddard State Park.
The Bayfront Connector Trail is another great Erie Bike Trail, which connects Penn State Behrend eventually with Dobbins Landing and Frontier Park. This trail is a little longer and has a gradual, subtle elevation change to the lake.
Longer distance bike trails include the GAP trail beginning in Pittsburgh traveling through Ohiopyle on the way to Maryland and the Pine Creek Rail Trail over in the PA Grand Canyon. There are so many great bike trails in Pennsylvania that you can’t really go wrong with any of them!
The Presque Isle bike trail is a gem for outdoor recreation in Erie. Whether you’re a novice cyclist or a seasoned pro, this trail offers a leisurely ride with great scenery along the Lake Erie shoreline. Definitely plan to explore this multi-purpose trail when you’re visiting Presque Isle State Park.