Mauch Chunk Lake Park

Quick Facts

Mauch Chunk Lake Park

Pennsylvania

(570) 325-3669

Map

Things To Do

Overview

Enjoy your spring, summer, fall and winter at Mauch Chunk Lake Park in Scenic Carbon County, Pennsylvania. Mauch Chunk Lake Park is a county park and operated by the county's Parks and Recreation Department.

The Mauch Chunk Lake Park is located in the Boroughs of Jim Thorpe and Summit Hill and earned recognition as the National Watershed of the Year in 1978. The park began as a flood control project because of the mountainous terrain and confinement of the Mauch Chunk Creek that flows beneath the town of Jim Thorpe. Major flooding occurred here frequently that resulted in the destruction of property. The flood control phase of the Mauch Chunk Creek Watershed Project was completed in 1972 about one month prior to record rainfall amounts attributed to Tropical Storm Agnes. It was estimated at the time that the completion of the dam prevented over $2 million in damages to the local residents and community. County government officials viewed the flood control project as an opportunity to also provide recreation and the Mauch Chunk Lake Park was later dedicated in August of 1974. Today the park exceeds 150,000 visitors annually and has become a popular vacation destination for many families.

The park has facilities for camping, swimming, picnicking, hiking, biking, fishing, and boating.

Map of Mauch Chunk Lake Park

Latitude, Longitude: 40.846059, -75.802100

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Activities

  • Boating

    The Mauch Chunk Lake is 345 acres and has two boat launch areas that are open year round for fishing and recreational boating. The Mauch Chunk Lake is designated for non-powered watercraft and electric motor use only. All watercraft must be registered in accordance with PA Fish & Boat Commission rules and regulations. PA Fish & Boat Commission launch permits are available at the park office for non-powered watercraft that does not have a registration. Launch permits can only be issued by providing either a check or money order made payable to the PFBC. Boat mooring is available at both Boat Launch A and Boat Launch B between April 1st and December 1st. Permits are issued annually in March. All watercraft must be removed from the property by December 1st. Boat rental is located at Boat Launch A. The boat rental offers canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and paddleboats. Reservations are recommended. The boat rental can be reached at (570) 325-0100 during the operating season. The Mauch Chunk Lake Park also offers winter boat storage.

  • Camping

    The Mauch Chunk Lake Park camping area has modern restroom and shower facilities with hot water. The camping area is comprised of 135 sites including lakefront tent, camping cottages, and organized group camping for scout troops and other non-profit organizations. Pavilions with kitchen areas are also available to rent. The Camp Store is conveniently located in the campgrounds and sells firewood, camping supplies, snacks, and novelty items. All vehicles must be registered with the park office. One vehicle is permitted at each camp site. Additional vehicles must park in the overflow parking lots. Admission to the beach and swimming area is included with camping reservations. Campers must display their vehicle pass. Quiet hours are from 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. and are strictly enforced. Campers that cannot arrive by 10:00 p.m. should plan to arrive early the next morning. The night entrance to the camping area is available between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. Alcohol and Pets are not permitted.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is permitted anywhere along the shoreline with the exception of a 100' buffer zone around all sides of the swimming area. Fishing is also not permitted from the dam. The fully-accessible fishing pier located at Boat Launch A is a popular spot during the summer months. Restroom facilities are available at both boat launches. The park does not monitor ice conditions during the winter months. The boat rental sells live bait such as minnows, leaches, and nightcrawlers. The Mauch Chunk Lake is 345 acres and provides year round fishing for large-mouth bass, small-mouth bass, walleye, crappie, bluegill, perch, chain pickerel, and catfish. The Mauch Chunk Lake is designated a big bass lake by the PA Fish & Boat Commission meaning that bass must be at least 15 inches in length in order to legally take. Additional size and creel limits can be found by visiting www.fish.state.pa.us. The lake ranges in depths from 8' to 40' with an abundance of both natural and artificial habitat. Topographical maps of the lake are available for sale at the park office. The Mauch Chunk Creek located along the Switchback Trail below the lake provides fishing opportunities for both rainbow and brook trout. The creek is stocked annually in the spring for the opening day of trout season. A trout stamp is required. Anyone 16 years of age and older is required to have a Pennsylvania Fishing License. All PA Fish & Boat Commission rules and regulations apply when fishing at the Mauch Chunk Lake Park. The Mauch Chunk Lake Park is an official site of the Fishing Tackle Loaner Program. Fishing tackle is available to campers free of charge.

  • Hiking

    The Switchback Trail is the most popular. The trail follows the route of the former Switchback Gravity Railroad and can be accessed near the main entrance to the park. The trail is designated for hiking and biking. Hikers of all ages will enjoy the uneven-aged forest tract below the dam where towering Hemlocks, White Pines, and American Beech dominate the over-story. The shaded trail runs parallel to the Mauch Chunk Creek and provides easy access for fishing. Mountain bikers will enjoy the trail as it leads to Mount Pisgah where there is a magnificent overlook of the Lehigh Gorge State Park.

    The Shoreline Trail is a hiking trail that can be accessed from the Camping Area, Boat Launch B, the Carbon County Environmental Center, or from the Switchback Trail. The trail is closed to mountain biking due to the sensitivity of the wetland areas. The trail can be difficult to navigate in some areas and is not recommended for young or inexperienced hikers. The easiest and most accessible section of the trail is near the dam and offers a picturesque view of the 345 acre lake.

    The Fireline Trail is a hiking and biking trail. To access the trail follow Route 902 South to the top of the mountain. Turn left onto East Mountain Top Road, the parking lot and trail access will be on the left-hand side. The trail is an unimproved access road that also serves as a fire break for the park. The trail is about 3.5 miles long and will eventually lead to the Switchback Trail below the dam.

    The Orchard Trail and Board Bottom Trail are secondary trails that can be accessed from the Switchback Trail below the dam. The trails provide hikers and bikers with some options for exploring one of the most scenic and serene areas of the park.

  • Picnicking

    The picnic area is open daily from 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Park closes at sunset at all other times, April through October. A park admission fee applies Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

    Admission fee is $3.00/adult, $2.00/child for Carbon County residents and $5.00/adult, $3.00/child for Non-County residents. Children 3 and under, those with disabilities, and individuals 65 and over are admitted free. A child is considered 12 and under.

    Picnic area is a lakeside wooded picnic grove and is conveniently located within a short walking distance to the beach area. There are plenty of picnic tables and hibachis to choose from. The picnic area offers an excellent view of the Mauch Chunk Lake.

    Covered picnic pavilions can be rented for daily use. Reservations are required in advance. Pavilions can be rented with and without the use of a small kitchen area. Admission to the park is included with pavilion rentals.

  • Water Sports

    Beach and swimming area is open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Beach and swimming hours are 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. daily. Swimming is permitted only while lifeguards are on duty. Beach area includes play equipment for children, a food and refreshment stand, and a beach pavilion.

    Admission fee is $3.00/adult, $2.00/child for Carbon County residents and $5.00/adult, $3.00/child for Non-County residents. Children 3 and under, those with disabilities, and individuals 65 and over are admitted free. A child is considered 12 and under.

    Summer beach tags can be purchased at the main park office. Alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited. Pets are also not permitted.

  • Wildlife Watching

    The Mauch Chunk Lake Park is 3400-acres of deciduous woodland forests, wetlands, open fields, and Eastern White Pine and Hemlock stands. The Mauch Chunk Lake Park is diverse in habitat that makes the park excellent for bird watching and wildlife viewing.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(570) 325-3669

Links